Rare earth magnet is the strongest permanent magnet in the world at present. Since it came out in the 1960s, it has become an indispensable material for light motor used in computer hard disk, electric tools and electric vehicles. Rare earth magnet is widely used in electronics, machinery and other industries.
At present, 36% of the rare earth reserves are in China, and China accounts for 90% of the world's total rare earth ore exports. In order to protect resources and environment and curb over exploitation, China began to control and restrict the export of rare earth ores in 2009, which caused strong dissatisfaction from the United States, Japan, Europe and other countries.
Recently, France has developed a rare earth free permanent magnet material with properties close to that of neodymium, which may have a certain impact on China's dominance of rare earth.The key to the abnormal magnetic strength of rare earth magnets is the micro anisotropy of their structural characteristics. The long and narrow crystals of these materials show obvious direction dependence in magnetism. It is the common arrangement of crystals in the manufacturing process that produces the strong magnetic field of large magnets.
The researchers aligned the cobalt nanorods in an external magnetic field and compacted them under cold and high pressure in a way similar to the tall building blocks, thus creating a macroscopic magnet. At present, the cobalt hard magnetic materials are not complete, and the cobalt ore is toxic, so there are many environmental and moral problems in the extraction process. Therefore, the strong permanent magnet made of cobalt nanorods may only be suitable for small-scale applications in the field of microelectronics, and will not replace the needs of large-scale projects such as wind turbines and magnetic levitation systems, but it can reduce the dependence on China's rare earth ores.
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