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Galfenol

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, seeks to commercialize through patent licensing a new magnetostrictive smart material with excellent characteristics for use in sensors, actuators, energy harvesting applications, and active structural supports.

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Galfenol
The Technology: 

The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, has developed Galfenol, a new magnetostrictive material. Galfenol (iron-gallium) is ductile, thermally stable over a wide temperature range, and can be machined and welded with common metalworking equipment. The material offers a high tensile strength that can be used structurally under tension or compression. Galfenol also offers full magnetostriction at low applied magnetic fields.

Magnetostrictive materials, such as Terfenol-D, and piezoceramic materials such as PZT, are used in many sensor, actuator and switching applications. However, both materials are brittle, hard to work with, and limited in the environments in which they can be deployed. Galfenol overcomes these limitations and offers a more robust, cost-effective alternative to PZT that requires considerably lower voltages. The Navy’s new material opens opportunities in adverse shock and explosive environments, as well as new applications for active structural support.

Benefits: 
  • Versatile: Galfenol can be machined and welded with common metalworking tools.
  • Thermally stable: Operates in temperatures beginning in the cryogenic range. Galfenol materials for tensile strength applications can operate up to about 100-150 degrees Celsius, while non-tensile stress uses can withstand much higher temperatures.
  • Efficient: Saturation strains of 300-400 ppm are attainable from single crystal alloys with comparatively low voltage. Less expensive highly textured polycrystalline rods produce saturation strains of 250-300 ppm.
  • Strong: 400-500 MPa (58-75 kpsi) tensile strength and the ability to build in anisotropy through stress annealing means it can be used structurally under tension without performance loss
The Opportunity: 

US Patent 8,308,874 is a seminal patent available for licensing. The lab also has expertise and specialized equipment for collaborative R&D.

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