THE PROJECT IN NUMBERS
Magnets are some of the most important components in modern technological devices. They are used in hard drives, medical technology, and energy storage and delivery, among others. Most magnets for these uses are made of rare earths, because they are the strongest. However, besides their high cost and the pollution associated with their extraction, rare-earths are considered critical raw materials as they present geostrategic supply risks; and they lose their strength when subjected to high temperatures, common in industrial processes.
The AMPHIBIAN project has received funding from the European Commission to develop new ferrite magnets based on promising new findings about their optimal compositions. In addition to reducing our dependency on rare earth materials, these new magnets will serve to store and deliver renewable energy, as one of our tangible aims is designing and creating a device for this purpose. AMPHIBIAN also has a particular focus on developing sustainable manufacturing processes for the magnets by reducing and recycling waste, making production more cost-effective as well as more eco-friendly.
We numerically simulate the properties of ferrite magnets on both atomic and macroscopic scales, in order to optimise their properties and manufacturing process. Micromagnetic simulations and model systems are particularly important for predicting optimal compositions, particle shapes and sizes, and intrinsic properties of materials to be used.
Thanks to promising new findings in magnetic powders, a vast field of basic and applied research has opened. AMPHIBIAN is pursuing research lines at every level: from isotropic powder composition to particle shapes and sizes, as well as turning said powder into dense magnets and studying their structural properties.
In order to advance towards market readiness, part of the project is devoted to up-scaling and devising sustainable and cost-effective manufacturing processes for the magnets, with a particular emphasis in recyclability of waste product. In addition, one of our tangible aims is developing a rare-earth-free flywheel specifically for the purpose of storing and delivering energy, including renewable sources such as wave and wind power.