From the Cosmos to the Lab: Development of the L10-FeNi Phase as a Disruptive Permanent Magnet Alternative (COSMAG)
COSMAG is an international scientific research project which brings people from research institutes and industrial companies together to work on developing a new permanent magnet. Permanent magnets are a vital part of modern technology like wind turbines and hybrid/electric vehicles. Because clean, renewable energy and electromobility are rapidly growing sectors, the demand for permanent magnets is rising sharply. The highest performance permanent magnets contain rare earth elements, but using the global resources of these elements at a fast rate to make permanent magnets is not sustainable. We therefore need a new permanent magnet, which will disrupt the current situation, giving a sustainable alternative to rare earth magnets.
In COSMAG, four research institutes (IMDEA Nanociencia, IFW, TUC, IPSAS) and an industrial company (IMA) will join forces to develop alloys of iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) which have a special arrangement of the atoms (the L10 structure). This special structure gives the material excellent magnetic properties, which are competitive with those of the rare earth magnets. As L10-FeNi has only been found in some meteorites until now, the challenge of this project will be to work out how to produce it on earth, in a short time-scale.