Magnetic Materials and Applications Research Group
Establishing a leading research capability in the processing, characterisation, manufacturing and recycling of specialist magnetic materials.
We are building on the existing capacity and track-record of a specialist team within the Energy Systems Research Institute in the School of Engineering at Cardiff University, through investment in refurbished state-of-the-art facilities and new academic roles.
We plan to establish a compelling combination and breadth of academic expertise alongside commitments from major industry partners, that builds towards a centre of excellence within Europe for magnetic materials within five to seven years.
We are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via Welsh Government (£1.05m in total), Cardiff University and industrial partners.
Magnetic alloys are the single most important material underpinning the new green economy. They are active in electric motors, transformers, generators, magnetic sensors, data storage and many electronic components.
Magnetic materials underpin an industry worth £6bn per year in the UK and £1tn per year internationally. These industries directly or indirectly employ 50,000 people in the UK and underpin the future of more than 100 UK businesses.
More than 99% of all electrical energy is generated using electrical machines constructed from magnetic materials passing through at least two transformers before it reaches the user. Approximately 10% of all generated electricity is being lost and the largest proportion of this is in the magnetic cores. EU Ecodesign Regulations 2015 impose efficiency limits on all new devices and require a further 10% reduction in loss by 2021.
This can only be achieved with the best commercially available grades of electrical steels. These developments will also enable reduced power requirements for electric vehicles, industry and domestic use. The measures taken will widen the capability to optimise the role of magnetic materials in critical elements such as design, end use and end of life to optimise current processes and drive future innovation.
- Establish a world class research capability at the centre of the South Wales cluster to optimise the whole life cycle and supply chain of electromagnetic applications.
- Five-year goal to be recognised as the centre of excellence within Europe for magnetic materials.
- Engage with new academic and industrial partners to address substantial emerging funding opportunities.
- Translate research success into industrial research and development leading to economic success for collaborators and the region.
Our key challenges
- Acceleration of the development of new and enhanced magnetic materials through alloy development, surface engineering and coatings, process development and late stage diversification.
- Fundamental understanding and modelling of physical processes linked to manufacturing and application parameters to enable material property prediction and accurate device simulation.
- Creation of characterisation capability to meet the requirements of new applications and materials.
- Detailed analysis of the life cycle and supply chain of these materials are needed which will drive innovation in resource and energy optimisation.
- Magnetic Characterisation Laboratory (MCL): Enabling world-leading measurement equipment to meet the requirements of next generation materials and applications.
- Electric Drives for Transportation Laboratory (EDTL): Bridging the capability gap in the prototyping and testing of electrical machines.
- Electromagnetic Modelling Laboratory (EML): Providing an electromagnetic machine prototype design capability and allowing cutting edge research on the incorporation of real material and degradation models.
- Magnetic Material Processing Laboratory (MMPL): Housing state of the art annealing, laser processing and spark plasma sintering facilities essential for the development of new and improved magnetic materials.
The Cross-Cutting Themes (CCTs), also referred to as 'horizontal themes', are issues that touch on general principles such as democracy, equality, sustainability and good governance.
They require action in multiple fields and as such need to be integrated into all areas of the European Funding programmes and be addressed in the dialogue on development of the programmes.
The aim of the CCTs is to improve the quality and the legacy from each of the operations supported by the Structural Funds and to add value to programmes as a whole. They will require action in multiple fields and will be embedded within the design and delivery of all operations.
There are three CCTs:
- equal opportunities, gender mainstreaming and the Welsh language
- sustainable development
- tackling poverty and social exclusion
Since the inception of MAGMA, we have worked hard to ensure the project complies with and promotes all CCT activities. Examples of these activities include:
- appointment of a CCT champion, Kevin Jones, to coordinate all CCT activities
- promotional material, such as banners and leaflets, will be made available in both English and Welsh
- our website is available in both English and Welsh and the MAGMA twitter account regularly sends bilingual tweets
- we adopt a paper-light office opting for a digital filing system therefore reducing the need to print
- we ensure all electrical equipment is switched off when not in use and all recyclable waste is disposed of in the correct recycling bins
- we refer all companies we collaborate with to the future-proofing toolkit and encourage them to contribute to the wellbeing of future generations.
Professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of International
- +44 (0)29 2087 4072
Who we work with
We are aiming to work with the following:
- large national/multinational anchor companies at the centre of electromagnetic applications supply chains
- specialist Welsh-based SMEs within supply chains
- specialist UK and international SMEs within supply chains
- high value manufacturing sectors in steels, automotive, aerospace and power industries
- power transmission and distribution sector
- European, UK and Welsh government, R and I funders and policy influencers.
This list is not exhaustive. We have previously collaborated with companies such as Faultcurrent Ltd., Tata Steel, Cogent and Baosteel.
What we offer
We will offer academic and research support in the following areas:
- modelling and electromagnetic design
- electric motor-generator manufacturing
- fundamental magnetic material properties
- material process technology development
- magnetic separation and grading for recycling.
For more information about working together, please get in touch on +44 (0)29 2087 4411 or email us at
The future-proofing toolkit
The future-proofing toolkit aims to help all businesses looking for support through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribute to the wellbeing of future generations and benefit from embedding sustainable development, equality and diversity principles and support of the Welsh language in their future aspirations in line with the CCTs.
Using the toolkit, companies will baseline their current position and, with the help of links to useful resources and case studies, identify opportunities to develop and/or improve their business and make them more resilient to changes in the future.
When a company completes their baseline, they will automatically be referred to Resource Efficiency and HR Advisors within Business Wales who will support them to make any improvements or changes identified.
If you are interested in creating an account and using the toolkit, visit the Welsh Government's Business Wales website. Please use the code 82117 when prompted on the login page to be linked to us.