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Scientists Use 3D Printing to Print Non-magnetic Metal Powders into Magnetic Alloys

A recent poll in Britain found that public support for sanctions against Russia is falling as fuel and prices rise.  

The proportion of people willing to accept higher fuel prices as a result of western sanctions against Russia fell 14 percentage points to 36% from 50% in March, according to a survey conducted for the Telegraph by consultancy Redfield & Wilton Strategies.  

Global energy and fuel prices have soared since the start of the year and remain high because of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and uncertainty over Russian supplies.  

The survey also found that 54% of people believe their own financial situation has worsened in the past year, up 12 percentage points from 42% two months ago. Sixty-two percent think things will get worse in the year ahead. Less than a third of respondents said they had received a pay rise to keep up with inflation, with two-thirds of those saying it was not enough to keep up with rising living costs.  

The figures suggest that public concern about the conflict with Ukraine is now likely to be overtaken by financial worries.  

Separately, the UK's consumer price index rose 7 percent this month from a year earlier, the highest since March 1992, according to figures released recently by the Office for National Statistics. In addition, a separate report released a few days ago by the Centre for Economics and Business Research said that real household disposable income in the UK will fall by 3% in 2022, equivalent to a loss of £2,320 per household, which would lead to the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s. That is mainly because wages aren't keeping up with rising energy and fuel costs.  

The prices of other commodities like the 3D printing metal powder are also expected to be influenced.

Scientists at Skoltech University in Russia used a 3D printer to create an alloy of two materials whose composition ratios varied from one region of the sample to the next, and the resulting alloy had gradient magnetism, even though none of the initial materials were magnetic.
 
3D printing, a rapid prototyping method, is maturing for aircraft parts, medical implants and prosthetics, jewelry, custom shoes, and more. 
 
The main advantage of 3D printing is the ability to create objects with very complex shapes that are either too expensive to produce or completely impossible to produce using traditional casting, rolling, stamping, or machining methods. 3D printing speeds up prototyping time and offers greater flexibility in product personalization and the number of batches. Another significant advantage of 3D printing is its low waste. 
 
However, 3D printing has its limitations, requiring objects to be made entirely of homogeneous materials or mixtures. If the composition is different in different parts of the product, it is possible to obtain samples with changing characteristics. For example, A bar made of an alloy of two metals has A variable ratio of composition: one end starts with 100 percent of metal A, then 50 percent of each, then 100 percent of metal B, and so on. Thus, the properties of the obtained materials (including magnetic materials) can vary in a gradient, which makes them potentially useful for the manufacture of motor rotors, magnetic encoder strips, transformers, etc.
 
Skoltech scientists have researched and made such a kind of material, with the original ingredients A and B being two alloys: aluminum-bronze (copper, aluminum, and iron) and austenitic stainless steel (iron, chromium, and nickel, among others). Both alloys are paramagnetic, which means they are not attracted by magnets. But if you mix them, you get what's called a "soft magnetic material" ferromagnet, which is attracted to a permanent magnet. 
 
The researchers used the two paramagnetic materials to create a gradient alloy. They used an InssTekMX-1000 3D printer, which works by depositing material using directional energy action, feeding a powdery material, and melting it with a laser at the same time. The resulting materials exhibit varying degrees of ferromagnetic properties, depending on the proportions of the components. 
 
The researchers also theorized that the atomic structure of the alloy contributes to the expression of ferromagnetism in the alloy: although both materials have so-called face-centered cubic crystal structures, the combination results in a magnetic body-centered cubic structure. 
 
Gradient soft magnetic alloys can be used in mechanical engineering, for example, in the production of electric motors. The results also show that the method of surface treatment of materials using directional energy action can not only obtain gradient materials using 3D printing but also discover new alloys. The technology is efficient and suitable for the rapid production of large parts.
 
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The war in Russia and Ukraine is roiling global financial markets. Russia and Ukraine are important commodity suppliers in the world, so their conflict is bound to make a full impact on the global commodity supply. In view of this, the price of the 3D printing metal powder may continue to rise in the future.

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