'Fireworks' Form Magnetic Ceramics

December 01, 1998

A new process that uses controlled 'fireworks' to produce designer magnetic ceramics has been developed by researchers working at University College London (UCL). The process could revolutionise the production of the magnetic ceramics that play a vital role in TVs, computers and on the back of credit cards - leading to cheaper and better quality products. The fireworks can also be used to produce miniature magnetically structured devices, such as the ring magnets used in computer disk drives.

The 'fireworks' used in this process are extreme chemical reactions that reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius and pass through the reacting material in a fraction of a second. This type of process, known as self propagating high temperature synthesis (SHS), is rapid, does not require an external heat source to drive the reaction and can even be carried out in a shaped mould.

In their latest work, the researchers at UCL are using external magnetic fields to control the 'combustion wave' of the fireworks, allowing a wide range of products to be made. Using this technique, manufacturers will be able to produce the complex multi-polar magnets used in computer disk drives from a single piece of material, instead of bonding together several magnetically polarised parts. This could lead in the future to even smaller disk drives in even smaller computers.
PLEASE MENTION MATERIALS WORLD AS THE SOURCE OF THIS ITEM For further information or a full copy of the article please contact Andrew McLaughlin on tel: 44-171-451-7395; fax: 44-171-839-2289 or email: Andrew_Mclaughlin@materials.org.uk

Notes for Editors

1. Materials World is the journal of the Institute of Materials, the professional body of more than 19,000 materials scientists and engineers throughout Europe. The journal is distributed to all of the Institute's members who work in areas such as plastics, rubber, steel, metals and ceramics.

2. Materials World is also available on the web:

Institute of Materials

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