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The 9th (2009) Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize Winner Material

Development and Industrial Contribution of Amorphous Alloys

winner Winner
Tsuyoshi Masumoto
History
Mar. 1960 Completed Doctorate at School of Engineering, Tohoku University
(Doctor of Engineering)
Apr. 1960 Assistant, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Jun. 1966 Assistant Professor, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Apr. 1971 Professor, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Apr. 1989 Director, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Mar. 1996 Retired as professor at Tohoku University Emeritus Professor, Tohoku University
Apr. 1996 Director, Research Institute for Electric and Magnetic Materials
Jul. 2009 President, Research Institute for Electric and Magnetic Materials
Present

winner Winner
Hiroyasu Fujimori
History
Mar. 1959 Graduated Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University
Jul. 1959 Assistant, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Apr. 1969 Assistant Professor, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Apr. 1979 Professor, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Apr. 1998 Director, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Mar. 2000 Retired as professor at Tohoku University Emeritus Professor, Tohoku University
Apr. 2000 Director of Research Coordination, Research Institute for Electric and Magnetic Materials
Mar. 2009 Councilor, Research Institute for Electric and Magnetic Materials
Present

Reason for award

Through the discovery of the three characteristics of amorphous alloys - their high strength and toughness, high corrosion resistance and soft magnetism - in the late 1960s, Dr. Masumoto exploited the new field of materials science based on amorphous metal. In particular he is a pioneer in creation of the new single-roll method, which makes continuous mass production of wide ribbon amorphous alloy possible, (succeeded in 1976). This led to a tremendous increase in the industrial production of amorphous alloy, the historical significance of which is remarkable. In the course of the research, in 1973, both Dr. Masumoto and Dr. Fujimori cooperated in the develop-ment of zero-magnetostriction CoFeSiB and high saturation magnetization FeSiB type alloys that are representative of soft magnetic alloys and the new type magnetic materials that virtually developed magnetic industry. Backing by the Research Development Corporation of Japan from 1975 onwards led to successfully commissioned development work, increasing momentum for applications of amorphous alloy in Japan, and magnetic materials in particular. These results have led to the current mass production of a wide variety of practical products centered on magnetic cores for switching power supplies. Amorphous alloy produced using the single-roll method has currently reached 100,000 tons annually, with the total value of production of applicable products exceeding one trillion yen globally. From an energy efficient perspective, amorphous alloy magnetic cores used in transformers are receiving attention as a method to combat recently escalating environmental issues. Demand is increasing rapidly in Japan, Europe and America, and even countries such as China and India. It is with these reasons that Development and Industrial Contribution of Amorphous Alloy by both Dr. Masumoto and Dr. Fujimori has been selected as the 9th Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize Winner in the Materials Segment.

Background of research and development

Research has been carried out based on the idea of creating new metals with special compositions and structures that are in a non-equilibrium state, and discovering new functional materials that have unique, high performing qualities not present in usual metals. This research has been begun, in 1969, with focusing mainly on amorphous alloys. At the time, all research on metallic materials focused on crystal-line metals, and there was no materialistic research being carried out on non-crystalline (amorphous) alloys. The research into these amorphous alloys stemmed from interest in the practically useful characteristics of materials in the amorphous state.

Achievements

Comprehensive research on the characteristics of amorphous alloys was carried out with the belief that amorphous structure exist even in metals and alloys, contrary to the accepted common notion that they consist of crystals. The result was not only the clarification of these material characteristics, but also a major contribution to the industrialization of them. Of special note are the discoveries of three major characteristics of amorphous iron alloys, those being its high strength (1971) , high corrosion resistance (1974) and high magnetic permeability (1974) .
The publications of these unique characteristics had been drown the attention of the whole world, throughout industry-academic circles at the time. In Japan, it had immediately led to joint research being conducted by many researchers from universities and companies. The research focused on ascertaining a wide range of physical properties of amorphous alloys, including their atomic structure, thermal characteristics, electrical characteristics, mechanical characteristics, magnetic characteristics and chemical characteristics. As a result, in addition to three major characteristics, a number of specific characteristics were discovered, which are high resistance to radiation damage (1977) , Invar and Elinvar characteristics over a wide temperature range (1977) , outstanding catalytic capacity (1981) , super-conductivity (1980) and hydrogen absorption capabilities (1987) . Furthermore, the single-roll method for making amorphous alloy samples in the form of long ribbon shape simply and quickly had been developed. This method spread rapidly around the world and came to be used as a means for producing materials in research laboratories in universities as well as in industries. This single-roll method is the fundamental principle for industrial production machines using commonly today around the world.
The search for a practical alloy composition led to the successful development of the convenient iron-based amorphous alloy. Iron-based amorphous alloy currently produced around the world is predomi-nately (Fe, Co)-B-Si alloy (1974), which forms the basic composition of soft magnetic amorphous material. Other methods developed include the fine wire production process and the fine powder production process as practical methods of mass production.

Meaning of the achievements

The significance of the achievements in this research include (1) discovery of the three fundamental characteristics of amorphous alloys, (2) discovery of various amorphous alloy compositions that are useful from a practical perspective, and (3) development of fundamental method behind energy efficient production technique to produce amorphous alloy sheet, fine wire or powder easily and quickly through rapid cooling from a molten state. These have led to the development in research of amorphous alloys and provided a major contribution towards industrialization.
Of the characteristics of amorphous iron-based alloys, the most useful is no doubt their soft magnetism. With no crystalline anisotropy and possessing a uniform structure and a high electrical resistance, amorphous alloys are an outstanding soft magnetic material, making them ideal for use as a low energy-loss magnetic material. Amorphous core transformers are even recognized officially by energy efficient systems as a top runner device recently, and are receiving attention as an energy efficient transformer.
Production of amorphous alloys in Japan has grown rapidly in recent years, with gross production there in 2008 accounting for approximately 60% of global production (amount of material produced: approximately 50,000 tons/year). The major field of application for these iron based amorphous alloys is as a soft magnetic material and energy efficient transformer core, and even for electrical parts in IT and OA electronic equipment, as an electromagnetic wave absorption material and radio receiver antennas, indicating that demand is increasing. In addition, it is also pointed out that fine wire is sold in applications such as theft-proof tags, MI-type magnetic sensors and stranded wires (e.g.; fishing line and reinforcing material), while rapidly cooled powders are sold as magnetic parts in high performance components (e.g.; magnetic shielding plates and magnetic cores). The total value of sales for these practically used amorphous alloys in the world is estimated approximately to be in the scale of several trillion yen for 2008.

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