Supercomputers Help Researchers Find Two New Kinds Of Magnets

“Predicting magnets is a heck of a job, and their discovery is very rare,” said a mechanical engineering professor at Duke University. But after years of work synthesizing various predictions, material scientists “predicted and built two new magnetic materials, atom-by-atom, using high-throughput computational models.” An anonymous reader quotes Phys.org:
The success marks a new era for the large-scale design of new magnetic materials at unprecedented speed. Although magnets abound in everyday life, they are actually rarities — only about 5% of known inorganic compounds show even a hint of magnetism. And of those, just a few dozen are useful in real-world applications because of variability in properties such as effective temperature range and magnetic permanence…
In a new study, materials scientists from Duke University provide a shortcut in this process. They show the capability to predict magnetism in new materials through computer models that can screen hundreds of thousands of candidates in short order. And, to prove it works, they’ve created two magnetic materials that have never been seen before.

“The first alloy is particularly interesting,” reports the International Business Times, “because it contains no rare-earth materials, which are both expensive and difficult to acquire.” But a Duke mechanical engineering professor points out that “It doesn’t really matter if either of these new magnets proves useful in the future. The ability to rapidly predict their existence is a major coup and will be invaluable to materials scientists moving forward.”


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