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Power transformation. Electrification of vehicles. Creating motors that are efficient. Some of the biggest technologies of the future rest on finding ways to efficiently transform energy. And the backbone that enables the development of these technologies is the field of advanced materials.
At Carnegie Mellon University, Materials Science and Engineering Professor Mike McHenry and his research group are developing metal amorphous nanocomposite materials (MANC), or magnetic materials whose nanocrystals have been grown out of an amorphous matrix to create a two phase magnetic material that exploits both the attractive magnetic inductions of the nanocrystals and the large electrical resistance of a metallic glass. When operated at high frequencies, these MANC materials offer very high energy efficiency, due to their low losses of energy—an essential component for transforming energy.
Different - MANC - Compositions - Applications - Power
Different MANC compositions can be applied to various applications but have most recently been adopted in power transformers that will be used to bring renewable energy to the grid. These transformers need magnetic materials to harvest solar or wind energy, then transform it to a power that can be stored and fed to the grid.
Typically, silicon steels used to transform energy are lossy at high frequencies, meaning they lose energy when excited with high frequency alternating current fields. But McHenry's material doesn't suffer from this problem. It is highly efficient and loses little energy, even at frequencies reaching tens of kHz. The lossless nature of the material allows for high power density applications such as power grid inductors and transformers, electric vehicle motors, and even potentially for motors that propel aircraft and rockets in space.
Materials - McHenry - Team - Components - Iron
To synthesize these materials, McHenry's team weighs alloy components combining iron, cobalt, and nickel, mixed with glass formers in ratios optimized to achieve desirable magnetic, electrical and mechanical properties. Next, they use a crucible to melt...
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