Electromagnets are used in various industries, demanding unique shapes and sizes that are difficult to wind and assemble. The 3D printing of electromagnets is not novel, but the capability to 3D print coils with multiple materials is essential to the fabrication of complex shapes and sizes. There is a need to develop a method using additive manufacturing to fabricate coils that use multiple materials to improve conductivity, insulation, and structural rigidity.
LLNL’s novel approach is to use Direct Ink Write (DIW) with a co-extrusion nozzle to enable the extrusion of multiple materials as one coil. With this method, LLNL researchers were able to produce an insulating wire that is composed of three different materials, axial conducting and insulating from its inner core to its outer sheath. After heat treatment, the printed wireI was then tested for performance and other properties. Early results have been promising – showing satisfactory conductivity and insulating properties.
LLNL researchers have also designed another way to 3D print electromagnetic coils using a layered deposition method, whereby each layer is printed individually. If multiple materials are needed in a given layer, they are done sequentially, not simultaneously.
Image Caption: The coextrusion nozzle takes 3 materials and prints them together in a coaxial geometry
- Value Proposition: 3D printing electromagnetic coils having multiple materials
- Fabrication of custom and complex magnets with precisely located windings to reduce multipole moments that can affect particle beam quality in accelerators
- Accelerator physics
- Fusion system magnets
- High value magnets for high power applications
Current stage of technology development: TRL 2
LLNL has filed for patent protection on this invention.