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14 december 2018

Closed Industrial Partnership Programme

Number i28.
Title Third generation magnetocaloric materials (3GM)  
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr. E. Brück 
Duration 2011-2015
Cost estimate M€ 2.4
Partner(s) BASF

The programme included a unique combination of theoretical and experimental studies of magnetocaloric materials, with emphasis on the relation between electronic structure and magnetic properties, a study of the kinetics of magnetocaloric effects, modelling of the properties and the search for new materials with yet better performance. Additionally the optimal route of large-scale production and routes to improve mechanical properties and heat transfer characteristics was investigated. Finally the design and composition of composite magnetic regenerators was modelled and tested.

Background, relevance and implementation
Giant magnetocaloric materials, which consist of rather cheap and abundant ingredients (Mn‑Fe-P-Si) have been developed recently. To accelerate the lab to market process, BASF and the academic research groups teamed up and joined forces. In this way we improved the per­formance and enabled the availability on an industrial scale. This second generation material became available; construction of a designated plant was initiated by BASF De Meern. In the near future we expect to see market introduction of the first magnetocaloric devices.

The earlier research programme has brought new insight into the physics behind the giant magnetocaloric effect. Mixed magnetism, observed for the first time in these materials, appears to be a key ingredient. This scientific breakthrough will be exploited to further improve the magnetocaloric effect in first order materials. The next generation materials shall be operated in magnetic fields below 1 Tesla, which can be generated with magnets not requiring Rare Earths.

The final evaluation of this programme consisted of a self-evaluation initiated by the pro­gramme leader in 2016.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.