Spatially tuned hiperco alloy based motors for electric vehicle and hybrid-electric aircraft applications

Principal investigator: Paul Ohodnicki, Maarten de Boer (CMU) and Michael McHenry (CMU)

University: University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partner: Carpenter Technology Corporation

The proposed program seeks to explore a new concept in electromagnetic field assisted processing of high performing commercial FeCo-based soft magnetic alloys produced by Carpenter Technology (i.e. Hiperco alloys). Traditional processing methods result in a direct trade-off between magnetic and mechanical properties, which substantially reduces the overall efficiency for electric motor applications in which the rotor must satisfy rigorous mechanical property requirements. We propose to leverage unique capabilities of the University of Pittsburgh team for processing of materials with custom designed radio frequency (RF) induction based processing methods. Through optimized RF processing, rapid and spatially selective thermal treatments will allow for tailoring the trade-off between mechanical / magnetic properties to enable a spatially optimized distribution of magnetic and mechanical properties within a soft magnetic laminate. The work will be performed in collaboration with PA manufacturing company Carpenter Technology who will provide commercial alloy samples and stamped laminations for processing and characterization, and will perform motor modeling studies to show how the proposed improvements in alloy magnetic and mechanical properties can directly translate to overall motor performance improvements and market opportunities. The ultimate goal will be to demonstrate a commercially viable pathway towards improvements in motor performance based upon the advanced manufacturing techniques to be developed and demonstrated including size, weight, and efficiency of electric motors used for applications in electric vehicle and hybrid-electric aviation.