Spontaneous Thoughts

Dysprosium 2.0

By Stan Trout, Spontaneous Materials

A little over five years ago I wrote a column called Dysprosium 2.0. Element number 66 has been in focus lately due to some forecasts about availability in light of some new applications. Adamas predicts a 30% shortage of Dy by 2025. It seems like an appropriate time to look at the situation again. Continue reading

Balance and Training

Stan Trout, Spontaneous Materials
It was nice to see so many people at Magnetics 2018 in Orlando last month. It was a very pleasant exchange of ideas and information. We all seemed to get plenty of exercise, walking through the Hyatt Regency to our meeting rooms.

I had the good fortune on the first day to be part of the Keynote Panel Discussion called The Future of the Magnetics Industry Pricing, Trends, Technology. I thought I would use this opportunity to share some of the answers I provided to questions posed to the panel. Continue reading

Permanent Magnet Mistakes, Part Seven

Stan Trout, Spontaneous Materials

We conclude this series with the seventh and final blog, describing the many types of mistakes made with permanent magnets. My intent is to help engineers in the future avoid mistakes made in the past, and not to embarrass anyone.

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Small Ball

A Column by Dr. Stan Trout | Spontaneous Materials

Small Ball is a managerial strategy used in the game of baseball. Fundamentally, it concedes that in some circumstances big plays, such as home runs are unlikely, and instead focuses on taking a series of smaller steps in an effort to score just a few runs and ultimately win the game. In Small Ball, singles, walks, sacrifice flies, bunts, etc. are the main ingredients for success. Maybe one run scores in an inning, maybe not. However, under the right circumstances, this strategy can be very effective. In short, Small Ball relies on skill, finesse and resourcefulness, rather than brute force to be successful. Continue reading

The Rate Determining Step

A Column by Dr. Stan Trout | Spontaneous Materials

I was very fortunate to have had many excellent teachers in college. Not only did they teach me the basics of science and engineering, but I found some of the lessons extended far beyond our classroom or even the subject at hand.

One of those teachers for me was Dr. Bernard Marklein, who taught undergraduate chemistry at Lafayette College. If you can believe it, he taught from 1938 to 1975 and his specialty was teaching the first-year courses. Living in an age where adjuncts and teaching assistants now teach most large first-year courses for professors who can’t be bothered, I find this to be an amazing perspective. Continue reading

The Patent Challenge

A Column by Dr. Stan Trout | Spontaneous Materials

First, let me say that Magnetics 2015 in Orlando was a wonderful and productive experience. It is always a pleasure to see so many old friends and to meet a few new ones. The latest group to complete the Magnetics Bootcamp is pictured below. We were all smiling at the end of the day, no doubt anticipating a visit to the bar downstairs.

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The Last Large Gathering

By Stan Trout | Spontaneous Materials

In August, I had the pleasure of attending the 23rd Rare Earth and Future Magnets and Their Applications Workshop in Annapolis, MD. This series of workshops was conceived in 1974 by the late Dr. Karl J. Strnat at the University of Dayton. The workshop is usually a nice mix of academics, raw material suppliers, magnet producers and magnet users, all who look at permanent magnets from both a technical and commercial point of view. In a holistic way, the workshop has chronicled the progression of permanent magnets from samarium cobalt (1-5 and 2-17) to neodymium iron boron (bonded and sintered) to the next permanent magnet material, yet to be determined. (Note the insertion of “Future Magnets” in the name of the conference for the first time.) Continue reading