Magnets in the News

  1. Halbach Array for Electric Motors

    Halbach Array for Electric Motors
    Let’s talk about the Halbach Array. A phenomenon that was initially discovered in 1973, this arrangement of permanent magnets functions to make the magnetic field one side stronger while negating the opposite field to nearly zero. For comparison, with a single magnet, you will have equal strength on either end. It wasn’t until the 1980s that a physicist applied the Halbach array as a means to focus particle beams, electrons, and lasers.  Continue reading →
  2. Robo-arms, Harpoons, and Revolving Magnets: The Race to Clean up Space Junk

    Robo-arms, Harpoons, and Revolving Magnets: The Race to Clean up Space Junk
    It’s sad but true—these days, we even have litter in space. That’s right, there’s been a rise in space junk that directly coincides with the number of private companies that are now capable of putting satellites in orbit. The US space agency says there are more than 100 million pieces of space junk and debris currently in orbit. Aside from being a somewhat shameful introduction to the final frontier, space junk also presents a series of perils to astronauts and even us back on Earth.  Continue reading →
  3. Solving Earth’s Space Debris Crisis With Magnets

    Solving Earth’s Space Debris Crisis With Magnets
    Similar to waste management concerns here on earth is the space debris crisis currently happening above our atmosphere. Traveling at speeds in excess of 17,500 mph, NASA reports over 27,000 pieces of space debris currently orbiting earth with a radius greater than 8”. These and other smaller pieces of space debris are direct threats to satellite and spacecraft operations, given the intense speed they are traveling.  Continue reading →
  4. The Impacts of Solar Explosions On Earth’s Magnetic Field

    The Impacts of Solar Explosions On Earth’s Magnetic Field
    Otherwise known as CMEs, coronal mass ejections are a solar phenomenon where the sun’s outer layer (the corona), expels a large amount of devastatingly hot radiation and plasma into outer space. CMEs occur when the sun’s constant stream of plasma churns and twists around itself, leading to the formation of magnetic knots. As these magnetic knots develop, they build up massive amounts of energy, forcing them to break off and hurl into space, potentially toward earth. So, why don’t we typically notice such an event? If you remember back to our blog discussing the magnetic fields of our solar system, earth’s magnetic field protects our planet from harmful particles, similar to the concept of how an umbrella protects its user from rain. Earth’s magnetic field absorbs the blast of CMEs and other solar events and deflects the particles to the North and South poles, leading to brilliant aurora light displays.  Continue reading →
  5. Increasing Prosthetic Limb Control Through Magnets

    Increasing Prosthetic Limb Control Through Magnets
    Created to bridge the gap in the advancement of prosthetic technology for amputee patients, MIT’s Media Lab has been working tirelessly to perfect a new alternative approach to increased precision called magnetomicrometry (MM). This revolutionary method theorizes the insertion of magnetic beads into muscle tissue found within the amputated residuum will provide exact muscle length measurements, which can later be relayed to a bionic prosthesis almost instantly.  Continue reading →
  6. First Domestic Rare Earth Metal/Magnet Facility Scheduled to Open in Stillwater, Oklahoma

    First Domestic Rare Earth Metal/Magnet Facility Scheduled to Open in Stillwater, Oklahoma
    As the demand for rare earth metals continues to rise, China remains the top producer of any country worldwide, responsible for approximately 80% of total production. With nearly every developed country today reliant on China’s production of critical rare earth elements, USA Rare Earth LLC, the leading US supplier of critical materials, intends to change this statistic through a “vertically integrated supply chain for rare earth elements," the first of its kind in the Americas. A recent announcement from Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce confirms plans to solidify the United States' place in this monopolized market via a $100 million, state-of-the-art facility to begin construction in 2023. Continue reading →
  7. New Cancer Treatment Using Magnets Is Giving Patients Renewed Hope

    New Cancer Treatment Using Magnets Is Giving Patients Renewed Hope
    Scientists from Sheffield University in the UK are currently developing an advanced treatment for breast, prostate, and other cancerous tumors using magnetically guided microscopic projectiles. The goal of this ambitious undertaking, to guide specialized anti-tumor viruses through the body to their intended target. Built on key scientific breakthroughs from the Massachusetts-based Biotech company, BioVex, this approach utilizes a highly advanced treatment called T-VEC to find and destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Similar to computer antivirus software, T-VEC is programmed to search and destroy cancerous cells, reducing the “scorched-earth” effect of most modern-day cancer treatments.  In addition to its ingenious ability to exclusively target cancer cells, the treatment also triggers the body’s natural immunity to fight the source of the virus. Through the combined power of T-VEC and magnet manufacturing soil bacteria, this treatment could change the way our healthcare system treats cancer entirely.  Continue reading →
  8. The Effects of Magnets on Plant Growth

    The Effects of Magnets on Plant Growth
    In a way, the Earth itself is a magnet. Its core generates a magnetic field and the Earth’s crust has some permanent magnetization. Strong, permanent magnets like rare-earth magnets are made from alloys of rare-earth elements, which are set in heavy metals, and exist in two types —  neodymium and samarium-cobalt. Continue reading →
  9. New Aurora From Magnetic Fields Discovered on Saturn

    New Aurora From Magnetic Fields Discovered on Saturn
    Scientists are always asking questions. In the pursuit of answering them, they often encounter riddles that only serve up a side of more questions. Other times, they discover something new… but even those answers come with questions. Such was the case when scientists asked themselves, “Why can’t we figure out how long a day lasts on Saturn?” Continue reading →
  10. How the UK is Leading Rare-Earth Magnet Recycling

    How the UK is Leading Rare-Earth Magnet Recycling
    In our "rare" Earth Day roundup, we discussed how important it is to recycle rare-earth magnets in order to keep them affordable and accessible. Some universities in the U.S. have made progress on how to safely and effectively recycle rare earth elements (REE) from electronics and reuse the materials in new equipment. Recently, competition from across the pond is putting the United Kingdom at the forefront of rare-earth magnet recycling efforts. Continue reading →

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