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Dr.  Suñol Martinez, Juan Jose

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Grup de Recerca en Materials i Termodinàmica (GRMT)

NEXUS project

NEXUS aims at substituting the most powerful permanent magnets (PMs, mainly NdDyFeB) with rare earth (RE)-free PMs with the ordered L10 structure (L10-FeNi and L10-MnAl), using elements widely available in Europe, by combining physics, materials science, engineering and chemistry under the common frame of nanoscience. The challenge proposed in NEXUS requires of the interaction between the two Subprojects in order to achieve the final objectives: development of two different L10 MnAl-based materials (nano-engineered single phase L10-MnAlC and MnAlC-based nanocomposite), artificial synthesis of the L10-FeNi phase in a feasible timescale, and fabrication of magnets preserving the L10-phase without degradation of the ordered structure. Subproject 2 will be developed by the Group of Research in Materials and Thermodynamics at Universidad de Gerona (UdG), with an extensive experience on the production and functional characterization of soft magnetic Fe-based materials and Mn-Al alloys. In addition, this project will allow advancing in innovation for the Spanish company IMA-Barcelona.

UdG group participates in the following NEXUS general objectives:

  1. Development of an efficient exchange-coupling between the L10-MnAlC phase (hard) and specifically designed soft magnetic materials in order to increase further the magnetization (and, in particular, remanence to enhance the resulting (BH)max). [UdG]
  2. Synthesis of the L10-FeNi phase in pure form in the laboratory to enable the substitution of the strongest permanent magnets nowadays (sintered NdFeB). Reported studies are not succeeding the synthesis of more than about 10-13 % of L10-FeNi in their samples. [UdG and IMDEA]
  3. Establishment of an accurate measurement protocol to identify the content and ordering degree of the L10-FeNi phase (e.g confirmation of the L10-FeNi phase and ordering degree). This will solve the shortcomings frequently incurred by published studies dealing with the study of the L10-FeNi phase. [UdG and IMDEA]

The research herein proposed addresses directly relevant points of the Spanish Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation” [2013-2020]. In particular, NEXUS’ objectives are aligned with the following “Social Challenges” described in the “Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2017-2020” (State Plan of Scientific and Technical and Innovation Research):

  • Challenge 3 (Secure, efficient and clean energy). PMs play a very important role in the development of low carbon technologies, particularly in the production, transmission and use of electrical energy. Green energy technology is one of the two main technological sectors responsible of the 7% annual increase of PMs consumption.
  • Challenge 4 (Sustainable smart, connected and integrated transport). Electromobility is the second technological sector propelling a large yearly increase use of PMs. According to the International Energy Agency, 2 million of e-vehicles were sold in 2018 and global e-vehicle deliveries increased in 46% in the 1st half of 2019.

Additionally, NEXUS’ objectives are aligned with Challenge 5 (Climate change and use of naturals resources and raw materials.

Whereas, The PhD students will receive a complete scientific formation by working at IMDEA and UdG Groups, complemented with stages in large research facilities and relationships with companies as IMA.

Start and end date: 01/09/2021 and 31/08/2024.

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