Making Magnetic Paper

Wed, Jan 6, 2010

Materials, Technology

Hello folks – Happy New Year! My apologies for the long delay in posting a new article here at Terra Magnetica – let me get things back on track with some news from R & D Magazine, on a new paper-based magnetic material that may have potential for low cost fabrication applications.

A team of researchers at Purdue University, led by Professor Babek Ziaie placed a mixture of mineral oil and iron oxide nano-particle onto some ordinary paper. Once impregnated, the thin “scaffold” could be manipulated by using an external magnetic field.

Depending on the properties of the iron oxide particles used, which are around 10 nm in diameter, this “ferropaper” as they’re calling it, could be a cheap way of making soft magnetic laminations for motors and other applications.

The article talks about other applications such as “small stereo speakers, miniature robots or motors for a variety of potential applications, including tweezers to manipulate cells and flexible fingers for minimally invasive surgery.” Although this ferropaper reacts to magnetic fields, this is not the same as being a permanent magnet, so it remains to be seen just how complex one might be able to get, with relevant applications.

Still, the technique might lead to some cheap and easy fabrication techniques for a variety of applications that could make use of such a material.

From R & D magazine:

The researchers fashioned the material into a small cantilever, a structure resembling a diving board that can be moved or caused to vibrate by applying a magnetic field.

“Cantilever actuators are very common, but usually they are made from silicon, which is expensive and requires special cleanroom facilities to manufacture,” Ziaie said. “So using the ferropaper could be a very inexpensive, simple alternative. This is like 100 times cheaper than the silicon devices now available.”

The researchers also have experimented with other shapes and structures resembling [o]rigami to study more complicated movements.

Magnetic origami – sounds pretty cool to me!


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- who has written 67 posts on Terra Magnetica.

Gareth is a Founding Principal at Technology Metals Research, LLC. He has expertise in a variety of magnetic materials, devices and applications, and their associated trends and challenges, particularly for renewable energy production. For more information check out his biography page. Don't forget to check out Terra Magnetica at Twitter too.

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