Kavita Selva

A New Kind of Magnet

Kavita Selva, USA Finalist, 13-14

Rare-Earth materials are used to make permanent magnets, which are needed for motors in electric cars and wind turbines. However, China, which controls 97% of rare-earth production, recently restricted their export to rare-earths. So, there is a world-wide incentive to develop strong magnets containing no or very small amounts of rare-earth materials. I thought of a solution to this problem: Superconductors. Superconductor tapes are made by coating a thin film of superconductor on a metal tape. Only 2% of the tape contains the actual superconductor, and hence a very small amount of rare-earth: A possible solution for the crisis.