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Additive Manufacturing of pure copper electromagnetic coils

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 03:12
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Programme Reference: 
Prime Contractor: 
Zarm Technik AG
The objective of the activity is to develop an AM process for pure copper to obtain dense materials in order to improve the design of AM electromagnetic coils.
In space, copper coils are used for attitude control of satellites which are called magnetic torquer if a core material is used. The winding of the copper coils of magnetic torquer is a time consuming process, which is difficult to automate, especially because each coil is optimized for a given mission. Consequently, additive manufacturing has high potential to minimize the production time in the future, as well as to optimize winding shapes. Another advantage of AM could be the mass reduction for magnetic systems such as magnetic bearings, to be used in e.g. reaction wheels.
In the previous activity GSTP ;de-risk activity it was shown that aluminium coils can be additively manufactured. Topology optimization methods were successfully to reduce coil mass and / or to increase magnetic performance by shaping the magnetic field more efficiently towards its application, which reduced even more the required coil mass.
However, the influence of design and process parameters such as part orientation, overhang geometry, compressibility of coils and optimization of Parylene surface treatment were not studied in the previous activity. Improvement of these aspects would lead to enhanced performance of Aluminium coils.
It is foreseen that these developments in Aluminium can be transferred to copper coils, which are deemed more beneficial from the application point of view. Nevertheless the AM process of copper was found to be very challenging in the previous activity. The very low electromagnetic absorption of copper in the wavelength ranges of conventionally used beam sources is not possible at the moment, with the required quality. Recent literature studies show that the use of a higher power laser can overcome these issues and its potential shall be investigated for pure copper manufacturing.
Considering the aspects above it is proposed to divide this activity in two major tasks:
  • Aluminium coils
    • Investigation of durability of coating for compacted coils
    • Improvement of design geometries, contact soldering for compacted coils
    • Manufacturing and testing of improved compacted coils
  • Copper coils
    • Development of process parameters using high power SLM for dense pure copper materials, based on the scan strategies developed in the ATOMEC activity.
    • Manufacturing and testing of dense materials samples
;;;;;;;;;Manufacture simple copper coils
Application Domain: 
Generic Technologies
Competence Domain: 
2-Structures, Mechanisms, Materials, Thermal
Initial TRL: 
Target TRL: 
Public Document: 
Executive Summary