Spontaneous Thoughts

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

It’s About the Cerium

A Column by Dr. Stan Trout

It might seem strange that an article about a rare earth element that is not usually associated with magnets would appear in Magnetics Business & Technology Magazine, yet the commercial future of cerium may have more influence on the permanent magnet industry than the neodymium, samarium, dysprosium or terbium we currently use in our rare earth magnets. The reason cerium is important to consider is because of a concept rare earthers call balance. Continue reading

A Holistic Approach to Magnet Development

A Column by Dr. Stan Trout

I ended my last article with a plea for a more holistic approach to attacking the critical materials problem we face with rare earths, especially neodymium and dysprosium. Several people have challenged me to expand on this point, and so I shall. But first I need to tell a short story to help make my point. Continue reading