Researchers develop a new method to 3D print magnets
The teams of the Jean Lamour Institute (IJL), the Materials Science research laboratory of the University of Lorraine, has developed a method of manufacturing magnets with a desktop FDM 3D printer. The researchers claim to have successfully incorporated magnetic properties into various 3D printed parts, all without post-magnetization: presumably using ferromagnetic materials. This is a first in the 3D printing sector and could open a field of possibilities when it comes to creating magneto-active objects through which it would be possible to control more or less complex parts. with a magnetic field.
Research into 3D printing materials is continuing and accelerating, whether in the polymers, metals or composites markets. It is these developments that now allow users to design parts for industrial applications that meet more or less stringent requirements. For example, aluminum oxide designed by Austrian researchers, which is very resistant to corrosion and temperature, and extremely stiff liquid crystal filaments. The goal is simple: to be able to 3D print parts with the same characteristics and properties as machined or molded components. In the case of our French researchers at the University of Lorraine, they focused on magnetism. Namely, how to 3D print magnetized elements, without going through a post-magnetization phase.
Led by Samuel Kenzari, CNRS research engineer, and Thomas Hauet, professor at the University of Lorraine, the team explains that they have designed a 3D printer capable of extruding a composite magnetic filament. So the machine is similar to a classic desktop FDM solution that they modified to make these magnets. Few details have been published on the modifications made, but a first version of the printer should be commercially available from the fall of 2021. What is interesting is the material developed: the researchers started from ferromagnetic materials which they then transformed to make printable. They thus obtain a magnetic filament although what exactly it is the researchers remain discreet. However, the press release adds, “The parts produced by this printer have one or more permanent magnetic orientation (s) without requiring the application of a magnetic field a posteriori to magnetize them.
The objective of the IJL is to market this solution (machine + filament) by the end of the year, giving everyone the possibility of designing their own magnets directly at home. Research could also help accelerate the development of 4D printing. In 4D printing, the fourth dimension, time, is included along with the traditional three dimensions we are used to. The parts created by 4D printing would be able to undergo transformation under the effect of an external factor like temperature, vibrations, etc. We could therefore use this filament to design parts that a user would control via a magnetic field, thus modifying its shape for example.
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