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10/11/2015 by mdc
The Mumbai Express News Service reports that for the first time in the country, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed a technology for preparing magnetic alloy powders from raw materials found in India to manufacture rare-earth magnets.

The Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) will use the technology to manufacture the magnets. According to experts, this development is significant as it signals self-reliance in rare-earth magnets to meet the Indian needs and for export. Rare-earth magnets are permanent magnets with high-energy density, which implies that a small volume of magnet will have high magnetic energy. Rare-earth magnets, of samarium-cobalt, have strategic applications in defense, atomic energy and space, in addition to commercial applications. Indian high demand for rare-earth magnets for various applications is currently met by imports.

Industrially, rare-earth alloys are produced by melting pure rare-earth metals at high temperatures. It is, however, expensive due to high cost of rare-earth metals, high melting temperature, and rare-earth losses in the process. Moreover, it is obtained as a dense ingot, which requires further crushing and grinding before magnet making. All these processes are energy intensive. On the other hand, the process developed by BARC yields the alloy powders directly from inexpensive oxides at much lower temperature, thereby resulting in lower cost magnets. For the first time, this technology has been developed and scaled up for industrial production at a very competitive price.

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