Net Shape Processing of Alnico Magnets by Additive Manufacturing

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2017-06-07
Authors
White, Emma
Kassen, Aaron
Simsek, Emrah
Tang, Wei
Ott, Ryan
Anderson, Iver
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Materials Science & Engineering
Abstract

Alternatives to rare earth permanent magnets, such as alnico, will reduce supply instability, increase sustainability, and could decrease the cost of permanent magnets, especially for high temperature applications, such as traction drive motors. Alnico magnets with moderate coercivity, high remanence, and relatively high energy product are conventionally processed by directional solidification and (significant) final machining, contributing to increased costs and additional material waste. Additive manufacturing (AM) is developing as a cost effective method to build net-shape three-dimensional parts with minimal final machining and properties comparable to wrought parts. This work describes initial studies of net-shape fabrication of alnico magnets by AM using a laser engineered net shaping (LENS) system. High pressure gas atomized (HPGA) pre-alloyed powders of two different modified alnico “8” compositions, with high purity and sphericity, were built into cylinders using the LENS process, followed by heat treatment. The magnetic properties showed improvement over their cast and sintered counterparts. The resulting alnico permanent magnets were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and hysteresisgraph measurements. These results display the potential for net-shape processing of alnico permanent magnets for use in next generation traction drive motors and other applications requiring high temperatures and/or complex engineered part geometries.

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