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Monthly Archives: October 2018

  • How Magnets Can Potentially Change the Auto Industry and the World

    Magnets in Self-driving Cars

    Self-driving cars have been on the horizon for a long time, but just how realistic is a world that travels primarily by autonomous vehicle? In 1997, the US Department of Transportation funded a series of projects to develop and demonstrate a highway prototype. The resulting automated system with embedded magnets performed “flawlessly.” This meant the possibility of switching from automatic to partial or full automation was actually attainable. Ultimately though, the automated highway system was rejected due to high cost.

    In 2014, the idea resurfaced. Volvo fought for the use of automated magnetic highway systems, citing how magnets would be unfazed by poor weather conditions and/or obstacles in the road. The company began additional research into building highways lined with neodymium and ferrite magnets and vehicles outfitted with specialized sensors. While the results were promising, expenses led to another halt in progress.

    Magnets Lose Strength Due to High Temperature

    Another “roadblock” in the journey to automation is the fact that magnets become weaker when exposed to high temperatures. For example, neodymium magnets used in electric cars today may become less effective once heated over approximately 212°F.

    To combat this reaction, researchers in DOE/Ames Laboratory have developed a new magnetic alloy comprised of a combination of neodymium, yttrium, and dysprosium. The alloy is said to operate at full capacity in temperatures up to nearly 400°F.

    How Do Electric Cars Use Magnets?

    Electric motors use a wire coil encircled by strong magnets. Basically, once an electric current is induced in the coil, it emits a magnetic field, opposing the field emitted by the magnets. The repulsion causes the coil to spin, and ultimately, the wheels to move.

    As electric cars have become more common, research has shifted toward on-the-go charging. Such research has shown how magnetic plates beneath the road could interact with electronic plates on the bottom of cars, causing the battery to fill up as the car passes.

    The global pioneer of this method is the Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), a bus developed by South Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). More recently, Swedish truck and bus maker Scania trialed a similar system of recharging electric bus stations.

    Theoretically, we’re on the edge of living in a society that views self-driving electric cars, automated highway systems, and charging highways as the new normal. But until such things can be replicated at a larger scale and lower cost, this potential world remains a dream for the future.
    Are you shopping for the products we mentioned above? Jump straight to neodymium and ferrite magnets. If you’d like to make a customized order, visit our request form, or call us at (1-304) 257-1193.

  • What Can Demagnetize a Magnet?

    What Can Demagnetize a Magnet

    Have you ever picked up a magnet only to find it just won’t do its job? Something must have demagnetized that magnet, rendering it unusable. But what factors can cause a magnet to lose its magnetism? This is important knowledge for folks regularly working with magnets in their work or just in their hobbies.

    There are a few different ways to demagnetize a magnet and we’re covering 5 of the most effective methods here:

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  • DIY: Autumn-Inspired Pumpkin Magnets

    Magnetic Pumpkin Craft

    ‘Tis the season for spooky crafts and haunting Halloween home decor! But sometimes, all we want is a little autumn flair to get our homes ready for the holidays. Our solution? A pumpkin magnet craft! These adorable homemade magnets won’t take you too long to make, but they’ll leave a lasting impression on your guests.

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  • Magnetic Levitation is the Force Behind the Lexus SLIDE Hoverboard

    As technology continues to improve by the year, it seems that it won’t be long until hoverboards emerge as a popular gadget in society for those of all ages to use. Let’s face it, who’d rather ride a bike or a skateboard when you can get from Point A to Point B on a floating magnetic device? Exactly.

    In fact, Lexus has been working on the creation of a hoverboard called SLIDE, which would rely on magnetic levitation to lift itself off the ground. It visually resembles a skateboard, made with a mix of bamboo and carbon fiber material that emits smoke as it levitates six inches off the ground. You can check out a teaser video here.

    But how does the hoverboard actually function? That’s where the use of magnets and magnetic levitation comes into play.

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  • Recovered Rare Earth Magnets Are Repurposed for Motors

    Rare Earth Magnets Are Repurposed

    In a recent blog post, we discussed the importance of recycling rare earth magnets. These rare earth metals play a significant role in everyday technologies, including rechargeable batteries, touchscreen cell phones, and computer hard drives.

    Through a project funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Critical Materials Institute, a research team in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recovered magnets from used computer hard drives and repurposed them for use in an axial gap (or axial flux) electric motor, one of two basic direct drive motor configurations. The motor transforms electrical energy into mechanical energy through the electromagnetic interactions of magnetic fields generated by the magnets and coils within.

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