Podcast – Boron and Sustainable Future
Welcome back to the Borates Today podcast. Each week we cover news on boron and borates that are relevant to the industry and timely. With a range of topics, including the latest industry news, we answer questions about the key players in the sector. We also look at the trends driving demand and supply for boron, and we discuss the science behind boron. Who’s doing valuable research? How does boron help with decarbonization with advanced energy? With food security and in providing nutrition. So don’t forget to check out born applications and benefits on our website. borates.today.
Today, we’re going to look at boron and sustainable future using materials sciences. A sustainable future using materials science can be achieved by developing new materials and technologies that can help address climate change, dwindling resources, and pollution.
From smartphones to high-speed trains, many modern-day products depend heavily on dwindling resources. The expectation of which has a high environmental and economic expense. According to professor Liu, McDevitt chair of Physics at Georgetown University, we need a bigger toolbox to create greener technology that helps with a sustainable future.
He says “it’s fascinating as it’s a completely new world. Also, we have the power to form new materials at the atomic level, which possess novel properties besides those developed in their bulk forms.
How is Boron Part of this Future?
Permanent magnets are used in various applications, including hybrid electric vehicles, magnetically levitated trains, power storage, wind turbines, and consumer electronics. However, the rare earth elements they depend on are hard to mine and expensive. As a result, there’s a critical need to develop replacements that use fewer or even no rare earth elements.
Researchers hope that boron-based magnets will lower the carbon footprint in producing permanent magnets with similar properties to those made with rare earth elements. This advancement will make cutting-edge technology accessible and an eco-friendly choice for many industrial applications. Neodymium magnets are one of the strongest types of permanent magnets.
They’re made from neodymium, iron, and boron, and they have a very high resistance to heat and corrosion. These magnets are known for their Ferro-magnetic properties, which means they can be magnetized easily and hold onto their magnetism well. They’re considered the most powerful magnets due to their smallest size, rare earth magnetic materials with a higher density per volume.
Neodymium magnets make advancements in medicine and renewable energy production for a sustainable future. These magnets are super strong magnets that need low heat and high power sources and are resistant to magnetic demagnetization. Hence they can be made in various shapes, and They are versatile materials that can be used for almost anything.
Data storage is another area where magnets may be useful. One area where researchers see the potential for significant improvement is how we store data and computers. The density of magnetic recording media has dramatically increased in recent years thanks to advances in nanoscale magnets.
The property that allows digital data to be stored in ever-shrinking magnets is the tendency of each bit to sustain its magnetic moment, known as magnetic anisotropy.
Present magnetic recording media have precious metals, which are expensive and unsustainable. Back to Professor Liu and Gen Yin, who recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to research magnetic recording media via high entropy routes to create novel magnetic alloys.
These alloys include various elements and surprisingly, they can form stable structures with improved properties. This approach will create novel phases for magnetic recording media applications that can not be obtained through conventional means. Liu is hopeful that his research on magnetic skyrmions, will lead to a new way of storing digital information.
Tiny magnetic knots can be formed by incorporating typology into how nanoscale magnets are oriented. These nanomagnets are excellent information carriers. Magnetic skyrmions are a type of quasi-particle having a whirling configuration. These nano-sized imbalances are made from a series of knotted interlocking magnetic moments, invisible to the naked eye.
A skyrmion’s interlocking nature provides topological protection and stability. By implementing a single layer of a hydrogen atom in an inert atmosphere onto the surface of a thin magnetic film, researchers introduced a new technique of writing and deleting skyrmions that corresponds to the one and zero states, respectively at room temperature. This is very useful as it’s a non-contact way to write and remove information without needing multiple electric leads.
How is this relevant to the industry? Mining extraction companies are getting involved in research projects as part of their commitment to understanding and communicating how minerals like boron can be used in new applications, not only for commercial advantage but for Sustainability and Decarbonization, Advanced Energy, and Food Security.
One such company is 5E Advanced Materials who are building out the only recently permitted boron extraction resource globally in Southern California. 5e Advanced Materials aims to be a vertically integrated leader in the boron Advanced Materials’, business. Boron products are in high demand for critical high-value applications such as electric transportation, clean energy, food security, and permanent magnets. By sponsoring research into Professor Liu’s research group, the company intends to be an active partner in providing strategic minerals for advanced energy.
A sustainable future using material sciences. A sustainable future using Materials science can be achieved through developing new materials and technologies that can help address climate change, dwindling resources, and pollution.
And that’s all from Borates Today. For more information on topics related to boron and borates, don’t forget to check out our website. borates.today and our YouTube channel and podcasts. Thanks for listening.