NOVAMAG - Novel, Critical Materials Free, Hich Anisotropy Phases for Permanent Magnets, by Design

Development of novel magnetic materials with fewer or none rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are omnipresent in everyday products. They range from a simple refrigerator magnet to a relatively complex component such as an electric motor for driving battery-powered electric mobility vehicles. Magnets with the best properties are based on rare earths such as neodymium, dysprosium and terbium, which can be regarded as critical raw materials. The search for hitherto unknown high-performance permanent magnets with low or even no rare earth content has therefore picked up speed again in the course of the rare earth crisis in 2011. To identify new alloys, the NOVAMAG project pursues an interdisciplinary approach that combines expertise from the fields of physics, chemistry and materials sciences. In the project, theoretical predictions of alloys from the simulation are verified with results of the experimental methodology in order to identify new potential hard magnetic phases. A powerful consortium consisting of 15 industrial partners, institutes and universities from 10 countries was build for this purpose.

The project uses screening methods for the identification of previously unknown magnetic alloys. The structural properties are characterized on an atomistic length scale and the magnetic properties on a microscopic scale. The most promising alloys will then be experimentally confirmed and later on produced at pilot scale. In order to demonstrate the sustainability of the NOVAMAG magnets, the project will evaluate the production of the magnets through a life cycle assessment and examine the raw materials used with regard to their criticality.

The NOVAMAG project (2016 - 2019) was funded by Horizon 2020.