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(Smithsonian Magazine)   17 year old designs EV motor that doesn't require rare-earth magnets   (smithsonianmag.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Electric motor, Magnetic field, electric car motors, Magnet, Electric vehicle, Robert Sansone, Magnetism, electric motors  
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1616 clicks; posted to STEM » on 11 Aug 2022 at 11:05 PM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-08-11 9:39:20 PM  
FTFA: Synchronous reluctance motors don't use magnets. Instead, a steel rotor with air gaps cut into it aligns itself with the rotating magnetic field. Reluctance, or the magnetism of a material, is key to this process.

Reluctance is one of the fundamental attributes of matter, along with Bloody-mindedness; Passive-aggressivity; Contrariness; and fark it, I just want to stay home and drink by myself tonight.
 
2022-08-11 10:40:39 PM  
I once killed a gopher with a stick.
 
2022-08-11 11:30:57 PM  
Reluctance motors are already being used by major EV companies. They just don't talk about it.
 
2022-08-11 11:49:05 PM  
Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?
 
2022-08-12 12:03:15 AM  

Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?



Because decades worth of misinformation has indoctrinated these people that scientists and engineers are all idiots or part of some sort of corporate conspiracy to hide "the truth",
 
2022-08-12 12:16:52 AM  

maniacbastard: Reluctance motors are already being used by major EV companies. They just don't talk about it.


No, it's a breakthrough by a teen genius!

/Tesla would probably be rolling his eyes at this too
 
2022-08-12 12:47:11 AM  
There is a carburetor that runs on water, man..
 
2022-08-12 1:02:42 AM  

maniacbastard: Reluctance motors are already being used by major EV companies. They just don't talk about it.


They do talk about it, even. But Tesla's switched reluctance motors need rare earth magnets. Their higher-power induction motors do not, but are a little less efficient. This kid's design is a synchronous (not switched) reluctance motor with no rare earths.

Synchronous reluctance motors aren't an entirely new idea, but I don't know if anybody has one in a production vehicle, or if this kid's design changes make it better in practical applications than the air-gap design.
 
2022-08-12 1:44:39 AM  

Caelistis: Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?


Because decades worth of misinformation has indoctrinated these people that scientists and engineers are all idiots or part of some sort of corporate conspiracy to hide "the truth",


not really, no.
there's whole genres of books on this sort of thing.  its a common fantasy people enjoy and want to fall into.

the reality is there are 7 billion people on earth.  there are a LOT of research scientists working for a lot of companies.  any field that has real profit opportunity has a lot of people looking at it already, usually backed by heavy investments in computer modelling, lab space, engineering, etc.  most of these fields are already very mature and there just isn't a lot of space for major breakthroughs into completely unexplored ground.  the improvements being made are small iterative improvements to existing mature technologies, by integrating them with other maturing technologies from other fields that come available.

thats not to say that there arent instances where some new thing is
1. previously impossible
2. AND noone ever thought of it before even as a theory
3. gets thought of first by a single individual
4. who is unaffiliated with a big company
5. and that new thing is something they can proof in their garage
but usually thats not the case anymore.  very much most of the time thats not the case.  usually any new ideas are coming out of long term work from govt or corporate R&D.  even if some single individual had the brilliant flash of inspiration they get sold to corporate R&D b/c engineering to proof it out is too high for modern technology.
 
2022-08-12 1:45:43 AM  
It's been tested at 750 RPM, guys!  It'll work just as well at 18,000 RPM I'm sure!
 
2022-08-12 1:47:12 AM  
The teen apparently invented a time machine too? Because his "invention" is in all kinds of EVs from a decade ago.
 
2022-08-12 3:32:17 AM  

raygundan: maniacbastard: Reluctance motors are already being used by major EV companies. They just don't talk about it.

They do talk about it, even. But Tesla's switched reluctance motors need rare earth magnets. Their higher-power induction motors do not, but are a little less efficient. This kid's design is a synchronous (not switched) reluctance motor with no rare earths.

Synchronous reluctance motors aren't an entirely new idea, but I don't know if anybody has one in a production vehicle, or if this kid's design changes make it better in practical applications than the air-gap design.


It takes a bit of reading of the article, but what the kid invented is a more efficient way to make a type of electric motor that is in common use today.

This kind of motor is currently used for pumps and fans, but it isn't powerful enough by itself to be used in an electric vehicle. So, Sansone started brainstorming ways he could improve its performance.

He found that his novel design exhibited 39 percent greater torque and 31 percent greater efficiency at 300 revolutions per minute (RPM). At 750 RPM, it performed at 37 percent greater efficiency.
 
2022-08-12 4:05:07 AM  

Exception Collection: It's been tested at 750 RPM, guys!  It'll work just as well at 18,000 RPM I'm sure!


Pendantic powers activate.

On 16 inch rims, that's 35 mph.
On 16 inch rims, that's 857 mph.
 
2022-08-12 4:14:12 AM  

AppleOptionEsc: Exception Collection: It's been tested at 750 RPM, guys!  It'll work just as well at 18,000 RPM I'm sure!

Pendantic powers activate.

On 16 inch rims, that's 35 mph.
On 16 inch rims, that's 857 mph.


Sure, with 1Nm of torque...
 
2022-08-12 4:15:28 AM  
Before I clicked I thought "Well, he's just replaced the rare earth magnets with an electro-magnet"

And this is indeed what we find.
 
2022-08-12 5:08:17 AM  

dready zim: Before I clicked I thought "Well, he's just replaced the rare earth magnets with an electro-magnet"

And this is indeed what we find.


Yup. This is something the Japanese have been doing for at least a decade with their EVs to avoid weird price fluctuations with materials or an over dependence on Chinese inputs.
 
2022-08-12 7:12:01 AM  

oopsboom: thats not to say that there arent instances where some new thing is
1. previously impossible
2. AND noone ever thought of it before even as a theory
3. gets thought of first by a single individual
4. who is unaffiliated with a big company
5. and that new thing is something they can proof in their garage
but usually thats not the case anymore.  very much most of the time thats not the case.  usually any new ideas are coming out of long term work from govt or corporate R&D.  even if some single individual had the brilliant flash of inspiration they get sold to corporate R&D b/c engineering to proof it out is too high for modern technology.


The most significant one that comes to my mind is the linear induction motor and maglev by Eric Laithwaite. And in common with the narrative above, he did not invent them, but did make crucial improvements in efficiency and stability of maglev.

And he was a trained electrical engineer with a PhD and a professorship.

/He also went a bit loony at the end.
 
2022-08-12 9:26:25 AM  

HugeMistake: oopsboom: thats not to say that there arent instances where some new thing is
1. previously impossible
2. AND noone ever thought of it before even as a theory
3. gets thought of first by a single individual
4. who is unaffiliated with a big company
5. and that new thing is something they can proof in their garage
but usually thats not the case anymore.  very much most of the time thats not the case.  usually any new ideas are coming out of long term work from govt or corporate R&D.  even if some single individual had the brilliant flash of inspiration they get sold to corporate R&D b/c engineering to proof it out is too high for modern technology.

The most significant one that comes to my mind is the linear induction motor and maglev by Eric Laithwaite. And in common with the narrative above, he did not invent them, but did make crucial improvements in efficiency and stability of maglev.

And he was a trained electrical engineer with a PhD and a professorship.

/He also went a bit loony at the end.


Professor Eric Laithwaite: Magnetic River 1975
Youtube OI_HFnNTfyU
 
2022-08-12 10:00:53 AM  

Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?


Because we want to believe the myth that anyone can discover anything with very little education.

Sometimes, VERY rarely, "eureka" moments happen. Truth be told it's not very common at all. Lots of hard work, iterative work, after a lifetime of training, is what usually plods things forward. We get leaps and bounds when we dedicate a ridiculous amount of resources to a problem until the problem is solved. However even that takes time.

Look at aircraft engines. For decades people had been working to improve piston aircraft engines, and they did so rapidly... until the end of WWII. Then all the best engineers went to work on jet engines. While there still is work on piston engines, the rate of innovation has slowed dramatically because the best minds went to work on jet engines.

Nobody wants to hear that because it ruins the fantasy most people have in their head about invention.
 
2022-08-12 10:31:25 AM  

Caelistis: Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?


Because decades worth of misinformation has indoctrinated these people that scientists and engineers are all idiots or part of some sort of corporate conspiracy to hide "the truth",


cdn.trendhunterstatic.comView Full Size
 
2022-08-12 10:38:06 AM  
Kid is pursuing a well thought out development plan, incorporating proper testing and prototyping protocols to isolate impacts of specific design decisions at 17.  That's impressive even if his core technology is not completely novel.  What were you doing with your life at 17?
 
2022-08-12 12:55:14 PM  
When I was a kid, I always knew magnets would be the best tech for cars, I just thought that the cars would be magnet levitation cars.
 
2022-08-12 2:57:34 PM  
TFA said he's seeking a patent for his design, so it may not be completely new, but it sounds like he's doing something new.  If not, he won't get his patent.
 
2022-08-12 2:59:58 PM  

Saturn5: TFA said he's seeking a patent for his design, so it may not be completely new, but it sounds like he's doing something new.  If not, he won't get his patent.


You have so much faith in the patent office
 
2022-08-12 3:18:41 PM  
There is room for growth in a lot of areas.  One could posit that EV motor R&D started with a variety of approaches, and when one signaled greater efficiency albeit with more difficult materials, it became the central focus and all other attempts to adjust efficiency on the other methods of creating the motor were drastically reduced.

This allows for others with less demand to step in and perform limited R&D iterations.

Good on the kid for finding the mid-market and exploring the possibilities.
 
2022-08-12 3:28:07 PM  
Oh yeah?  Well my kid got 6 kills in a round of CSGO last night so beat that nerd!
 
2022-08-12 4:28:32 PM  

HugeMistake: FTFA: Synchronous reluctance motors don't use magnets. Instead, a steel rotor with air gaps cut into it aligns itself with the rotating magnetic field. Reluctance, or the magnetism of a material, is key to this process.

Reluctance is one of the fundamental attributes of matter, along with Bloody-mindedness; Passive-aggressivity; Contrariness; and fark it, I just want to stay home and drink by myself tonight.



Reluctance is the primary component of inertia
 
2022-08-12 5:06:36 PM  

maniacbastard: Reluctance motors are already being used by major EV companies. They just don't talk about it.


Hey baby! I've missed you. My best to Mrs. ManiacBastard, too.
 
2022-08-12 6:25:45 PM  

oopsboom: Caelistis: Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?


Because decades worth of misinformation has indoctrinated these people that scientists and engineers are all idiots or part of some sort of corporate conspiracy to hide "the truth",

not really, no.
there's whole genres of books on this sort of thing.  its a common fantasy people enjoy and want to fall into.

the reality is there are 7 billion people on earth.  there are a LOT of research scientists working for a lot of companies.  any field that has real profit opportunity has a lot of people looking at it already, usually backed by heavy investments in computer modelling, lab space, engineering, etc.  most of these fields are already very mature and there just isn't a lot of space for major breakthroughs into completely unexplored ground.  the improvements being made are small iterative improvements to existing mature technologies, by integrating them with other maturing technologies from other fields that come available.

thats not to say that there arent instances where some new thing is
1. previously impossible
2. AND noone ever thought of it before even as a theory
3. gets thought of first by a single individual
4. who is unaffiliated with a big company
5. and that new thing is something they can proof in their garage
but usually thats not the case anymore.  very much most of the time thats not the case.  usually any new ideas are coming out of long term work from govt or corporate R&D.  even if some single individual had the brilliant flash of inspiration they get sold to corporate R&D b/c engineering to proof it out is too high for modern technology.


One of the big reasons I can see for keeping this myth going is to keep the disaster called the Patent Office to continue to prevent innovation by any but the original company that created and thus can gatekeep any from using the more obvious means without paying the rentseeker.  Generally speaking, there are few technologies you can't duplicate well under 20 years, but the big corporations would much rather make absolutely certain that no rival comes along and forces the to compete.

The only "impossible invention out of nowhere" that I can think of off the top of my head (since 1970 or so), was the Turbo Codes.  Forward Error Correcting (FEC) coding had stalled with minimal gains over 20 years (almost since they became a thing) and then some guy (a fully trained engineer, but not part of a big research push) in France comes up with a system to do virtually perfect FEC (I say "virtually perfect" because there is a hard limit published by Claude Shannon from way back.  You can do the same faster or with less power draw, but you can't really improve the S/N gain).

There were a lot of claims of fraud, but the thing really worked and was shipping within a few years (maybe less for all I know).  But that's rare.  It also turned out that there was a long lost method with similar performance that was part of a PhD dissertation.  Then said new doc went on to "write the book on FEC", but didn't bother to include his "PhD" method (LPDC) as it took impossible amounts of processing power (like what a modern phone can do with both hands tied behind its back, or similar to the above Turbo Codes).  I think they are even more popular than the Turbo Codes.
 
2022-08-12 6:47:17 PM  

inglixthemad: Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?

Because we want to believe the myth that anyone can discover anything with very little education.

Sometimes, VERY rarely, "eureka" moments happen. Truth be told it's not very common at all. Lots of hard work, iterative work, after a lifetime of training, is what usually plods things forward. We get leaps and bounds when we dedicate a ridiculous amount of resources to a problem until the problem is solved. However even that takes time.

Look at aircraft engines. For decades people had been working to improve piston aircraft engines, and they did so rapidly... until the end of WWII. Then all the best engineers went to work on jet engines. While there still is work on piston engines, the rate of innovation has slowed dramatically because the best minds went to work on jet engines.

Nobody wants to hear that because it ruins the fantasy most people have in their head about invention.


So very much this.

Quick advancement in tech almost always requires loads of money and resources. Often technology leaps ahead during wartime or countries competing. During the space race NASA basically got a blank check and whatever they needed all in an effort to beat Russia.
 
2022-08-12 7:07:44 PM  

NBSV: inglixthemad: Enigmamf: Why do people always seem to take these "Unlikely person with little training and experience does something that the experts have been struggling to accomplish" articles at face value?

Because we want to believe the myth that anyone can discover anything with very little education.

Sometimes, VERY rarely, "eureka" moments happen. Truth be told it's not very common at all. Lots of hard work, iterative work, after a lifetime of training, is what usually plods things forward. We get leaps and bounds when we dedicate a ridiculous amount of resources to a problem until the problem is solved. However even that takes time.

Look at aircraft engines. For decades people had been working to improve piston aircraft engines, and they did so rapidly... until the end of WWII. Then all the best engineers went to work on jet engines. While there still is work on piston engines, the rate of innovation has slowed dramatically because the best minds went to work on jet engines.

Nobody wants to hear that because it ruins the fantasy most people have in their head about invention.

So very much this.

Quick advancement in tech almost always requires loads of money and resources. Often technology leaps ahead during wartime or countries competing. During the space race NASA basically got a blank check and whatever they needed all in an effort to beat Russia.


Sure...and the "single amazing garage inventor" thing is also the root of a lot of scams, MLMs and conspiracy theories. However there is still plenty of room for innovation in this area and it's possible he may have hit upon something. That said, it sounds as if the solution may be a bit more bulky, less efficient and wear out faster than synchronous reluctance motors that use rare earth magnets.

I'm not an electrical engineer (there's probably one around here somewhere) but it sounds as if synchronous reluctance motors are a better alternative to induction motors and basically use stacked metal plates with rare earth magnets inside, which would also facilitate recharging during braking.

I'm speculating, but it sounds as if this kid is using wound copper wire to produce a thin plate which becomes an electromagnet and then spins to produce a similar effect. It might be multiple layers of wire, or maybe it's magnetizing additional plates or who knows.

Anyway, that's going to be more bulky, and wire is going to always have more resistance so it has more opportunities for a fault to occur. It could also be more inefficient due to the resistance. However, if you slam enough juice through it, you can probably make it as powerful as you want. It might be possible to refine the design to make it better using better power management.

I wouldn't write this idea off by any means, but most likely Tesla and other companies have already looked at this, felt it was too complicated for a production vehicle and that it would just be easier to use rare earth magnets. However, there's always room for innovation.
 
2022-08-12 8:01:22 PM  

khatores: I'm not an electrical engineer (there's probably one around here somewhere)


I dropped out of EE back in '89

I'm speculating, but it sounds as if this kid is using wound copper wire to produce a thin plate which becomes an electromagnet and then spins to produce a similar effect (to permanent magnets).

Precisely what I immediately speculated too.  I do like that he made efficiency comparisons between his motor with a "normal" reluctance rotor against the same motor with his enhanced method.  He exhibits good engineering practice.

But of course he did not compare his best efficiency to a commercial, permanent magnet variety motor, which is what he'd like us to think he'll replace.
 
2022-08-12 8:08:14 PM  

khatores: I'm not an electrical engineer (there's probably one around here somewhere)


Funny but not apropos to the topic... my son graduated with a BS in mechanical and aerospace engineering this last May and is now working for a subsidiary of a well-known aerospace company.

His title?  Electrical Engineer, Hybrid Propulsion Systems
 
2022-08-12 10:51:39 PM  

khatores: Anyway, that's going to be more bulky, and wire is going to always have more resistance so it has more opportunities for a fault to occur. It could also be more inefficient due to the resistance. However, if you slam enough juice through it, you can probably make it as powerful as you want. It might be possible to refine the design to make it better using better power management.


One of the project tasks in my first year elec eng degree revolved around designing an electromagnet. We were split into teams and given a choice of a huge array of types of wire, fittings etc. One of my team mates calculated the magnetic force we needed to exert and with that I tried calculating the optimum current, number of turns of copper wire etc. and I soon realised that there was only one optimum solution, choose the correct wire and add as much as possible as we could fit in the space. My other team mates and many other people in the class didn't believe me that that was the answer.

I talked to the lecturer that taught the class and told him that I was sure of the maths but something felt off about a solution whereby the more copper you added, the better the result.

He said, "a big thing works better than a small thing, seems simple enough to me".
 
2022-08-13 10:11:06 AM  

Enigmamf: Saturn5: TFA said he's seeking a patent for his design, so it may not be completely new, but it sounds like he's doing something new.  If not, he won't get his patent.

You have so much faith in the patent office


Nah. It's still government run.  I know how it's "supposed" to work, but I wouldn't take bets on it actually working that way.
 
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