An international team of scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS (Russia), Tianjin University (China), Japan and the US has developed new energy-efficient iron-based alloys which combine excellent mechanical and magnetic properties with low cost.

The researchers have been looking for new magnetic alloys which would help to reduce losses in electrical transmission applications and in power transformers. This would lead to energy savings and also help reduce emissions of hazardous gases during production of the magnetic materials. Many electronic devices could be reduced in size by using materials with improved magnetic properties.

The team developed low-cost amorphous soft-magnetic materials using alloys of Fe-Si-B-Nb-Cu (iron-silicon-boron-niobium-copper).

Lower losses, lower costs

To develop the new alloys based on iron with a high complex of magnetic and strength properties, the team analyzed a range of different alloy compositions. They avoided the use of expensive alloying elements, such as niobium and molybdenum. All the alloys examined in the work were obtained using a melt-spinning technique which rapidly cools the material from a liquid state.

By analysing of a large number of Fe82-85B13-16Si1Cu1 alloys the scientists were able to determine the effect of the chemical composition and heat treatment modes on the magnetic and mechanical properties of the alloys. As a result, they managed to produce materials with high magnetic properties, technological plasticity, and ultrahigh strength. The team plan to continue developing new compositions and processing methods of amorphous magnetically soft alloys; they also plan to explore commercial applications for the new alloys.

The research results are published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.