It is a rare metal only found in meteorites and has unique magnetic properties. We tell you its history and its possible applications in modern technology, especially in electric cars and batteries.
In 1966, a meteorite fell on the French city of Saint-Séverin, France. After the event that impacted the country, a group of geologists who studied the rock from outer space, They found a small amount of tetrataenite. A metal that had only been previously found in other aerolites.
These cars contain more than a cosmic history, they may hold secrets about the formation of planet Earth and, in some cases, materials that could revolutionize our modern technologies. It is for this reason that tetrataenite has captured the attention and amazement of scientists as well as engineers due to its exceptional properties.
It should be noted that the meteorite material gets its name from its tetragonal structure composed of taenitean alloy of iron and nickel that forms under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, such as those found in the core of meteorites.
This metal has the particularity that its atoms align in a very orderly manner, which gives it great stability and high coercivity, that is, the ability to resist changes in the external magnetic field. Additionally, it can maintain its magnetism for a long time, even in extreme heat, making it an ideal material for making permanent magnets.
The metal from outer space that could revolutionize modern technology
It should be noted that Permanent magnets are those that retain their magnetism without the need for an electric current. They are used in many electronic devices, such as speakers, hard drives, electric motors or wind turbines.
Its components are used to develop batteries for electric cars, which need powerful and light magnets to optimize their performance, but above all their autonomy. Likewise, they are key to the manufacture of nuclear weapons, since they are used in neutron generators, which are what initiate the fission chain reaction.
However, they are scarce and difficult to extract, making them a valuable resource. It is important to mention that, on the other hand, tetrataenite has exceptional magnetic properties, comparable to those of rare earths, a group of 17 metallic elements that are essential for a wide range of electronic devices.
In 2022, A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge, England, announced that they had developed an effective method to produce tetrataenite in the laboratory. Through a simple job that is basically based on heating a mixture of iron, nickel and phosphorus.
In this way, this discovery could have a significant impact on modern technology. Experts mention that if this metal can be mass produced at an affordable cost, it could completely replace rare earths in a wide range of industrial applications.
It would open new possibilities for the use and production of this metal, although there is still a long way to go. For example, The synthesis process would have to be improved to obtain thicker and more resistant layers, as well as studying the physical and chemical properties of the metal in depth..
The economic and social impact of its introduction into the market should also be analyzed, as well as the possible ethical and geopolitical implications. If achieved, this metal would replace rare earth elements to make motors so that electric cars are more efficient and batteries have longer life.
However, where it would have an even more profound and controversial impact is in the area of nuclear weapons. These devices, which take advantage of the energy released in nuclear reactions, require highly specialized materials. In this sense, the new metal would change the dynamics of power and security worldwide.
The story of tetrataenite is interesting, as it shows how a metal from outer space can have a big impact on the planet. It could be key to advancing technological, energy and military development, to reduce dependence on other metals. However, it could also generate new challenges, which will have to be faced responsibly.
The promise of stronger, more sustainable magnets opens the door to a new era of innovation, from advanced electric mobility to energy storage systems and defense technology. It is essential to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy to enable a more sustainable world, as well as less dependent on fossil fuels.
Imagine a future in which electric cars are the norm, freeing the streets from noise, but above all from pollution. In this stage, Rare earth magnets, currently crucial for high-efficiency electric motors, could be replaced by tetrataenite-based magnets.
This metal, which has magnetic properties close to those of rare earth minerals, could completely pave the way for the electric automotive industry to launch more powerful and efficient cars. With batteries with greater autonomy and at a lower cost, without a doubt, the future in this area looks quite promising.