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The U.S. Department of Energy's Critical Materials Institute has taken a major step toward printed, aligned anisotropic magnets via additive manufacturing processes.

The Energy Innovation Hub manufactured hybrid nylon bonded neodymium-iron-boron and samarium-iron-nitrogen magnets using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"The application of additive manufacturing to magnet production is relatively new, and there are challenges to overcome between the nature of the process and the end properties of the product," said Ikenna Nlebedim, a scientist at the CMI.

A post-printing alignment process with applied electromagnetic fields and heat allows the researchers to tune the magnetic properties of the magnet without deforming its printed shape.

"For 3D printed anisotropic bonded magnets, a one-step print and align process is the ultimate goal but still needs work to be successful," said Nlebedim. "We continue to pursue that goal."

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