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Recent Advances in Materials for use in Permanent Magnet Machines - A Review

Uday S. Deshpande
Black & Decker (US.), Inc.
701 East Joppa Road
Towson, MD 21286

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Abshuct A review of the statwf-theart in materials used
io permanent magnet machines is presented. On-going research
lor new materials is also discussed. Io the end, the impact of
these and the upcoming materials on motor design ls disenssed.

I. INTRODUCTION
With the increasing use of motors in the automotive sectors
and the wide variety of applications that are involved, the
demands on the materials have changed. In the automotive
industry today, there is an increasing trend towardsa more
electric car. Increasing numbers of features in the modem
automobile are being motorized. It is said that there are an
average of 30 electric motors per car today with the number 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
likely to increase to over 100 by the end of this decade. The Hci W)
applications run the gamut from window-lift actuators, power
seats, power doors, antilock brakes, electric power steering, -
Fig. I Range ofpmpcrticsofthe diffeml -el grades

integral starter-altemator to the main traction motor in


ne0 magnets have typical properties of 12kG (BJ, 20kOe
electric vehicles. In meeting the various performance and
cost requirements, the materials used in the motors need to -
(HJ and 30MGOe ((BH)-) and like the bonded neo types
evolve as well. have poorer properties at higher temperatures. They typically
This paper reviews the recent developmentsin materials
can handle temperahues higher than the bonded ne0 magnets
for use in permanent magnet machines. In patticular, but are limited by the relatively lower Curie temperature of
permanent magnet materials and soft magnetic materials are -320OC. Neo magnets are more expensive than the ferrite
discussed magnets.
The permanent magnets are broadly classified as Note: It may be a little misleading to list the typical
ferrites, AlNiCo, or rare earths (including Samarium Cobalt properties as above because of the range that these magnets
(SmCo) and Neodymium-Iron-Boron(NdFeB)). This paper cover as is evident from Fig. 1.
ignores AlNiCo and only briefly looks at SmCo because of Soft magnetic materials have been fairly unchanged over the
their very limited use in automotive applications. The typical years. Cold rolled magnetic lamination ( C W ) is still
range of properties for ferrite and %eo grades is shown in widely used, as is silicon-based iron with the various
additives. These are characterized primarily by core loss
Fig. 1.
Femta are typically Barium Femte or Strontium
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(Wkg)and permeability. Typical properties are SWkg for
core loss and a permeability of 2000 at 15kG and 50/60 Hz.
Femte and can be made by injection or compression molding
or sintering with the properties typically increasing to
remnant flux density B, of 4kG, intrinsic coercivity H, of II. NEW DEVELOP-
4kOe and maximum energy product BH- of - 5MGOe. In the opinion of the author, most of the major
These magnets have poor low temperature properties and a developments in recent times have been in permanent
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reasonably high Curie temperature of 450C. The magnets magnets. Soft magnetic materials have seen improvementsin
are low cost and the technology is well established. processing for ease of manufacturing and corrosion resistance
Rare-earth magnets (NdFeB) can similarly be made by but tittle has changed at the fundamental property levels.
injection or compression molding or sintering. This broadly (Materials like Co-Fe and Vanadium Permandur are not
classifies them as %bonded neo or sintered neo magnets. considered due to their lack of use in automotive
The bonded neo magnets have typical properties of 6.8kG applications). One change is in Soft Magnetic Composites
(B3, 15kOe (HJ and -10 MGOe ((BH)-). They have (SMC) and this will be discussed shortly.
poorer properties at higher temperatures but perform well at
lower temperatures compared to the ferrite magnets. Sintered

0-7803-7817-2/03/1,17.W
02003 IEEE 509
A. Permanent Magnets using the Magnequench rapid quenching process along with a
From Fig. 1 we see that there is a gap between ferrite and special plastic deformation process that resulted in magnets
bonded ne0 magnets and again between bonded ne0 and with BH,, of 22MGOe with maximum operating
sintered neo magnets. Femte magnets are the lowest cost but temperature of 100C and BH, of 17MGOe with maximum
also have the lowest properties of the magnets under operating temperature of 1 2 5 T [l], [9].
consideration here. Bonded ne0 magnets address some of the Another candidate for making bonded neo magnets is
concems of femtes but are more expensive and are limited at the so-called HDDR process initially developed by
higher temperahues. Sintered neo have highest properties as Mitsubishi Materials Co. NdFeB powder is subjected to
well as cost and are also limited by temperature. Ne0 hydrogen under pressure (hydrogenation), which causes the
magnets are also affected by corrosion, which necessitates powder to become very brittle (disproportionation) and thus
special corrosion resistant coating prior to use. Most of the allows milling to fmer particles. The hydrogen is then
development has been to bridge these gaps. desorbed and the NdFeB recombined to produce anisotropic
bonded ne0 magnets with energy product of around
I. Ferrite Magnets ISMGOe. Recently Aichi Steel Corp. reported a modified
The low cost ferrite magnets have been the ones HDDR process called the d-HDDR where they controlled the
primarily used in automotive applications but bonded ne0 pressure at which the hydrogenation takes place. This
magnets are making in-roads into this domain by focusing on allowed them to achieve greater anisotropy and make bonded
enhancing their higb temperature pmpenies and lowering ne0 magnets with a BH, of 25MGOe [l]. -
cost The main issue with ferrite magnets has been the Group h o l d uses a different approach in their bonded
relatively lower properties (B, a,, and BH& and the magnets offering where a femte-neo blend is used. In these
tendency to face demagnetization at lower temperatures. ferrite-neo hybrids, NdFeB powder is blended with the
This last feature is a concern in automotive applications strontium (or barium) ferrite. This results in isotropic
where operation at -40C is routinely required. In response, magnets in which the ferrite and NdFeB compensate each
the femte magnet developers have focused on increasing others temperature characteristics and provide a more
magnet strength and low temperature capabilities. One temperature stable magnet. The cbaracteristicsare affected by
approach has been the use of additives such as Cobalt (CO) the relative percentages of the blends. This is shown in Fig.
and Lanthanum-Cobalt (LatCo) to the base powder. 2b. These magnets address both the increased flux
Addition of COessentially increases B, while maintaining H, requirement and increased temperature resistance
while the addition of La + COincreases both B, and H,.This requirement but are weaker than the bonded ne0 magnets
is typically done for sintered femtes. Fig. 2a shows range of described above [4].
ferrite magnets fiom Groupe Carbonne LorraineilJgimag.
The figure shows the grade where only CO is added and the III. Sintered Ne0 Magnets
grades where both La- is added. The sintered femtes with Developments in sintered ne0 mapets have focused on
COor LaKo additives reach a B, of 4300 - 4500 Gauss and improving strength and high temperature capability. With the
H,Of 4000 - 5000 Oe. increasing use of high powerhigh performance automotive
applications like eleceic power steering, integrated starter
U. Bonded Nea Magnets alternator, mction motors for EV/HEV, the demand for high
The primary issue with bonded ne0 is achieving full temperahue performance has increased. With a Curie
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densification and good higb temperature performance. The temperature of 320C, this has been a challenge. Recently
use of a plastic binder material causes a reduction in the Sumitomo reported magnets capable of operation up to 2ZOT
achievabledensity and a limitation of the maximum operating with 250C capable magnets also being developed [I], [8].
temperature. A d d i t i ~ ~ l lbonded
y, ne0 magnets fall between From a strength point of view, the theoretical m
sintered femtes and sintered neo. The effort then has been to energy product for a single NdlFel.BI crystal is 64MGOe.
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address both ends of the spectrum reduce cost to compete This gives a B, of about 1.6T. Recently Kaueko (Sumitomo)
with ferrite magnets and increase the operating temperature and Rodewald (Vacumschmelze) reported magnet properties
rating as well as magnetic properties to compete with the in the neighborhood of 15.19kG (B3, 9.8kOe&) and
sintered neo magnets. 56MGOe (BH-) [l], [2], [3], [SI. They achieved this by
Magneqnench, the cbief producer of the bonded ne0 optimizing the alloy composition, improved domain
powder has been working in both these regards. alignment by the use of alternating pulsed orienting field and
Improvements in processing the powder as well as other optimizing the sintering conditions to optimize the
strategic decisions have helped address cost issues and microstructure of the magnets. These values are close to the
improvements in processing and advancements in coating practical limit for sintered NdFeB magnets.
technologies have helped address performance issues. A major thrust in research has been in processing to
Magnequench in conjunction with Daido Steel Co. recently improve domain alignment and powder purity to achieve the
announced the development of new anisotropic powders high performance magnets. Another area of focus has been

510
, - _.
_..-
Fig. 2b - "Farite-NCO"
mapel material from Group h o l d 141.

511
to improve the temperature capability. The use of Samarium Cobalt magnets are briefly mentioned for
dysprosium is cmmon to increase H, but this is an their inherent ability to operate at high temperatures.
expensive element. Materials processing to use other Currently the strongest SmCo magnet is -28MGOe and can
elements in place of Dy are being studied to address this issue operate up to -3OOOC. SmCo magnets capable of operating up
as well. Fig. 3 shows the range of properties for sintered neo to 500C have been reported by Electron Energy Magnets
magnets from ShinEtsu Magnetics [7]. The line is the l i t having hear 2" quadrant B-H characteristics up to the
on properties that can be reasonably achieved in the opinion operating t e m p h u e limit. On going research is focussed
of the author. on increasing the maximum energy product over 30MGOe
Corrosion has been a major issue for NdFeB magnets. and developing temperature compensated SmCo magnet
Various coatings have been studied and developed and has grades for operation up to 50OoC [l], [Z]. Fig. 4 shows the
largely ameliorated this concern. In recent times, the use of historical progress of rare earth magnets.
hydrogen fuel cells bas created a new concern for corrosion
protection. Hydrogen is extremely corrosive to NdFeB, a fact
that is exploited in the HDDR process. Outside of that, the
effect is detrimental. ShhEtsu Magnetics bas repoIted
development of a new coating that has shown promise in
protecting against hydrogen [7]. More details on this new
coating are forthcoming. Typical coatings used are epoxy
coating, nickel plating, a l u " chromate ion vapor
deposition. The relative merits are based on the application.
In the opinion of the author, the aluminum ion vapor
deposition with chromate coating works very well for
automotive application offering good corrosion resistance,
good adhesion properties and good dimensional control.
Most voice coil motor magnets tend to use nickel coating and
the epoxy coating tends to be acceptable for general industrial
Years
applications.
Fig.4DNClopmntsinrarc-earthma%nctsovertheycars(CaunesyOfPmf:
W.Other Materinls S.Lis.University of D q "
B. Sop Magnetic Materialr
Other developmentshave been to get away fkom NdFeB As mentioned earlier, there bas been no fundamental
base to counter supply issues as well as extend the l i t s that change in soft magnetic material other than processing. Most
are inherent. In this regard, work is being done using of the development in this area has been to improve
Sm2Fe17N3(Samarium Iron Nitride (SmFeN)). Its properties production process to increase consistency, develop better
can theoretically surpass those of NdFeB but the processing coatings, and reduce costs. The limits on the steel are the
is much more complex and not yet suitable for commercial same -peak saturation flux densities for the CRML grades of
production. Sumitomo Metal Miniig CO has produced -
2T and peak permeability of 2000-3000 at 1.ST.The core
injection molded isotropic SmFeN magnets with an energy loss is a fimction of composition, thickness, processing and is
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product of 15MGOe by a reduction & diffusion process. typically 5Wkg. As mentioned earlier, Co-Fe steels and the
Work is on going in the study of magnets made with a like are not considered here due to their relatively specialized
combination of SmFeN/FeN and it bas been reported that use.
properties of SmFeNFeN combmation can theoretically The one new development has been in soft magnetic
reachanenergyproductof I5OMGOeandaB.of2.IT [SI. composites where iron particles of -150pm in size coated
Nanocomposites (combmation of h a d and soft with a thin inorganic surface insulation along with various
magnetic materials) are another development where the organic additives are pressed in a die and then annealed and
potential for very high-energy product exists. Soft magnetic cured to form the desired pari (e.g. stator of the motor). This
material is added to the hard phase to reduce dependence on material has inherently lower permeability (- 500) and
the rare-earth elements. The high saturation magnetization of saturation flux density (1.8T) than lamination steel and
the soft phase and the high anisotropy of the hard phase slightly bigber core loss (- 10WKg). It also has a lower
combine to offer the potential for BH, approaching mechanical strength compared to lamination steel [lo], [Ill.
-90MGOe. Prof. Sam Liu of the University of Dayton Fig. 5 compares typical B-H curves for lamination steel and
reported making powder level samples with a BH,, of SMC material.
93MGOe [I], [Z]. Recently (February 2003), Prof. Liu The lower initial permeability and the lower saturation is
reported making nanocomposite magnets with a BH- of easily seen from Fig. 5. Despite the seeming drawbacks of
35MGOe 161. The research seems to hold the promise of this material it offers some interesting features and
living up to its potential but more development is needed possibilities for making motors. Due to its manufacturing

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process, it is easy to make complex shapes while maintaining industrial applications. Use of SMC in different motor types
good dimensional tolerances. The 3-D nature offers the has also been reported [12].
possibility of sue and weight savings by allowing shapes that There are certain applications where the material use
are optimized for the application. offers some benefits not obtained from conventional
Laminationstee 6 SMC material B n cum*Comparison lamination material. While this material holds promise, it is
2.5 7
by no means a replacement for the conventional lamination
steel. A lot of research is ongoing to exploit the properties of
this material.
It was mentioned earlier in the paper that no major
developments have occurred in conventional lamination
steels. By this it is meant that nothing has happened that has
allowed low carbon, low silicon steel to have saturation flux
density of 2.5T or have an an-hysteretic B-H loop. This is at
least not in the knowledge of the author.
Most of the work has been to improve processes to
increase consistency in steel properties, reduce core loss by
m improved purity, development of new and improved surface
Fig. 5 Camparison of typicalB-H CY" for l a " steel a d SMC coatings and in general to improve the usability of the steel.
material
A lot of development has taken place in these areas.
European Electrical Steels has reported activities in the above
Prof. Alan Jack of the University of Newcastle upon areas in developing low loss steels that they market under the
Tyne is heavily involved in research using this material and Polycor brand [13].
had published several papers showcasing the capabilities of
the soft magnetic composite material [IO], [ll], [12]. Recent Following the foregoing discussion, Fig. 6 shows the new
reports by other authors have discussed the use of SMC in map showing the ranges of the various permanent magnet
various applications in automotive, home appliances, materials.

Distribution of Magnet grades and their relative properties

60

50

10

0 I - I

0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Hci (kOe)

Fig. 6:Ranges of various magnet p d e s

the size of the motor for a given power size or provide more
111. IMPACT ON MOTOR DESIGNS power for the same motor size. An example is given for a
surface PM motor. The baseline numbers are for a motor with
The basic impact of magnet properties on motor design is 35Mme ~ ~ p,= 1 , 2 3 ~H
sintered N G magnets ,,= 21koe,
well known - a stronger magnet offers the potential to reduce BH, = 35MGOe). The best sintered NdFeB magnet

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reported to date (Rodewald, B. = 1.519T, H, = 9.8kOe, traction motor for EV/HEV as well as other applications
BH,. = 56.7MGOe) is used and the impact on motor size where the tight confies of the automotive under-the-hood
and performance compared in per unit numbers. dictate the package size. The new bonded neo magnets will
It is seen from Table I that the 23% increase in B, offers help provide means to address applications that need similar
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a 20% increase in output or a -20% reduction in size compact motors for applications that are not as high power.
In the end, it all boils down to cost. For automotive
(length). In the above study the diameters and winding were
unchanged. The data is at m m temperature (25C). The flux applications, the cost for the neo magnets would have to
densities are obviously higher and so will be the saturation continue to decrease. Bonded ne0 magnets need to approach
effects. This is reflected in the higher torque ripple numbers. the cost of femte magnets and sintered neo magnets need to
approach the current cost of bonded ne0 magnets. There is a
TABLE I txend along these lines but the costs have to drop more to
COMPARISON ofMOTOR PARAhETER5
ensure wide acceptanceand use.

N.CONCLUSIONS
This digest has attempted to provide an insight into
the new materials available for PM motor designers. Some
discussion and thoughts on the impact of these materials has
been provided. Some thoughts on magnets costs have also
been made. The new materials can be helpful in facilitating
With the advent of the new materials there are lot of motorized applications for a wide range of automotive needs.
choices for the motor designer. At the same time, it is
important that the material characteristics be properly ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
understood so as to optimize the design. In addition to The author gratefully acknowledges James Krajczynski
material, new processing techniques have been developed of Globe Motors for his help and discussions.
that offer additional possibilities.
With the new materials, new process can be developed to
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