Rare earth magnets in light aircraft electric motors

Rare earths are used more and more in different fields and are considered as an increasingly important raw material. In the electronics sector in particular, they are essential. They are used in a wide variety of devices that we use every day:

Computers, powerful batteries, hybrid cars, smart phones, electric motors and also in industrial sectors such as wind power. With so many fields of application, it is not surprising that this super material is also used for electric aircraft engines. But first let's clarify what rare earths are.

Which earths are rare?

Rare earths are a group of 17 metals used as raw materials. More specifically, this is the third subgroup of the periodic table. Those who use it the most are technological pioneers like China, Japan and the United States. China has an advantage in this case because it is also one of the largest producers of rare earths in the world. To have a clearer idea: in 2008, China produced 120,000 tonnes of rare earths and thus covered 97% of the world quantity, while India followed in second place, but produced only 2,700 tonnes. But we must differentiate the fact that rare earths, really rare are metals. The name dates back to the discovery of these elements, as they were first found in rare minerals. In fact, for example, the rarest rare earth, tulium, is even more frequently found than gold.

A fully electronic plane thanks to rare earths

Now, as already mentioned, a lot can be developed with these raw materials. Just as cars are now fully electronic, so are planes. Rolls-Royce could play a pioneering role in collaboration with the British government YASA and Electroflight because they want to develop the fully electronic aircraft faster. For this too, they need rare earths. More specifically, rare earths in the form of permanent magnets.

Why in the form of permanent magnets?

As already recognized in the automotive industry, permanent rare earth magnets have the highest performance even in small sizes. This means that the parts used can save weight and space without sacrificing performance. Of course, this is much more important, especially in aeronautical technology.

Of course, this is just one of many examples of how permanent rare earth magnets can lead to complex developments. If you would like more information on the subject or would like more information on our magnetic solutions, you can contact our specialist staff at any time without obligation.

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