The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, Germany, has launched a new research area working group on soft magnetic materials. This research is particularly important for the highly topical areas of renewable energy and electromobility.
With energy demand increasing globally and the electrical market growing, the share of electrical energy converters is also increasing, explains the institute. On average, 9% of all energy generated is lost during transformation and transmission and the energy losses in electromagnetic components, i.e. magnetic cores, play a decisive role here.
By using improved soft magnetic materials, the institute says these energy losses can be significantly reduced and a decisive contribution made to the preservation of resources. Fraunhofer IFAM is pursuing the goals of the Climate Protection Plan 2050, of which increasing the efficiency of electrical machines and converters to reduce emissions is a key component.
The aim of the institute’s research is to produce soft magnetic components with high performance and the lowest losses possible at comparatively low cost. Under the leadership of materials scientist Dr Inge Lindemann, the goal is to improve material properties in a targeted manner through the use of innovative Powder Metallurgy technologies.
The use of PM technologies will enable a wider variety of possible materials to be used, including material combinations, to lower material losses, since parts can be produced close to net shape. At the same time, more complex geometries will be made possible and additional integrated functions will be enabled.
The PM processing of soft magnetic materials is a new research topic not only for Fraunhofer IFAM but for the entire Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The fields of application for these materials range from electric motors for electromobility to inverters in solar power systems and magnetic shielding.