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'Breakthrough' process produces permanent-magnet powders

'Breakthrough' process produces permanent-magnet powders

GAPowders Inc. has entered the growing market for neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnetic powder with a "breakthrough production technology that promises a new type of magnetic material with improved properties and lower cost." The company, a spin-off from DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), was formed by two of the researchers that helped develop the atomization process, along with an assist from Ames Laboratory. It essentially involves spraying molten alloy to create microscopic droplets that quickly cool into fine, spherical powders. "Atomized spherical powder flows and packs better than powder produced by crushing melt-spun flakes," says Charlie Sellers, one of the company's co-founders. "It forms higher density bonded magnets and has better high-temperature stability during magnet manufacture." Sellers sees the powders playing an increasingly important role in the production of miniature motors and actuators for everything from computer peripherals to camcorders. GAPowder has entered a strategic relationship with Magnequench International Inc. to produce the new powders. E-mail [email protected]

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