Scientists study a magnetic makeover
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 @ 22:44:19 GMT
Researchers at the University of Victoria have discovered new
lightweight magnets that could be used in making everything from
extra-thin magnetic computer memory to ultra-light spacecraft parts. A paper on the study will appear in the Jan. 18 edition of Nature.
For decades, researchers have attempted to create
an alternative to conventional pure metal or metal alloy magnets, which
are heavy, inflexible and can only be produced under high temperatures.
The team, led by UVic chemist Dr. Robin Hicks, discovered a simple
method for making a new family of organic-based magnets by combining
nickel and one of three different organic compounds. The discovery is
the first step in designing the next generation of magnets which could,
in theory, be easily manipulated at room temperature.
“The sky’s the limit for these magnets, in principle,” says Hicks.
“Suppose you want to make a particular shape of magnet — these magnets
could be dissolved in solution and shaped into a different form.”
“Conventional magnets are a ubiquitous part of everyday life,
controlling everything from computers to cars, so I believe these new,
highly processable magnets could have endless applications.”
The team will continue to fine-tune this next-generation of
magnets, which resemble black powder, to further develop their
processability and commercial potential.
Source: University of Victoria
Story Link: http://www.physorg.com/news88271282.html