Additive Manufacturing of Amorphous Metal Soft Magnetic Composites

Default ARPA-E Project Image

OPEN 2021
Stanford, California
Project Term:
05/10/2022 - 05/09/2025

Critical Need:

Soft magnetic composites (SMCs) are used as magnetic cores for electric motors, transformers, wind turbines and other power generation systems. These sectors are expected to grow dramatically in the next decades, requiring tremendous advances in power electronics systems design. Inductors and capacitors, the passive energy storage devices that form part of every power converter, often determine the system's volume and weight. In today's designs, higher frequencies do not translate into smaller systems, partly due to the limited performance of the energy storage devices. There is significant opportunity to improve the SMC magnetic cores used in energy storage devices by employing novel, low-loss materials such as amorphous metals, and improving processability and design flexibility through the use of additive manufacturing.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The Stanford University team will additively manufacture amorphous metal SMCs with near-net shapes, reduced cost, reduced material waste, and tailored properties. SMCs are key to increasing energy density and efficiency of electric motors and enabling miniaturized electric vehicle chargers, transformers, and power generators. Scalable, solution-processed oxide-coated amorphous metal nanoparticles will be 3D-printed into rods and donut shapes (toroids) for magnetic measurements. SMC inductor performance will be tested within a calorimetric chamber for precise measurement of losses. If successful, the team’s efforts would result in magnetic cores with 10x lower core loss at frequencies of 500 kHz to 1 MHz at half the price of state of the art.

Potential Impact:

SMC technology vastly simplifies complex manufacturing steps, which would lead to cheaper, less expensive, and more powerful energy storage devices and power converters.


U.S. SMC development is critical for this country’s (1) leadership in significant emerging technologies, (2) achievement of supply chain security, and (3) reduced reliance on rare earth materials.


The improved magnetic performance of the amorphous metal SMCs will result in smaller and lighter magnetic cores, which will lead to better mileage and less environmental impact from lightweighting.


This project would significantly reduce the price of amorphous metal SMCs by dramatically improving their processability and reducing manufacturing time and material waste, resulting in economic benefits to areas such as transportation and power generation.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Philseok Kim
Project Contact:
Wendy Gu
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Johns Hopkins University

Related Projects

Release Date: