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World's Strongest and Most Eco-Friendly Magnets Win Honda Prize

Inventors of industry-revolutionizing neodymium magnets were recently awarded the Honda Prize for their contribution to advancing environmental technology.



Dr Masato Sagawa (left) and Dr John Croat, who participated online, at the Honda Prize awards ceremony. (©Sankei by Juichiro Ito)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - World's Strongest and Most Eco-Friendly Magnets Win Honda Prize

The Honda Prize is an international award that honors contributions to ecotechnology. In 2023, the Honda Foundation awarded the prize to the inventors of neodymium magnets, Dr Masato Sagawa and Dr John Croat. As the world's strongest permanent magnet, it paved the way for the practical application of high-performance motors. It also revolutionized society by making electronic devices smaller and more energy-efficient. 

Sagawa is an advisor to Daido Steel, and Croat is a former managing director at US-based General Motors (GM). In 1982, they independently developed different neodymium magnets using entirely different manufacturing methods. There has also been talk of the neodymium magnet being a Nobel Prize contender. So, just what are these magnets?

The Magnet that Transformed Society

A neodymium magnet is a permanent magnet composed mainly of the rare earth elements neodymium, iron, and boron. Adding a small amount of dysprosium, another rare earth element, to the magnet generates the world’s strongest magnetic force. A neodymium magnet weighing only one gram is strong enough to attract and lift three kilograms of steel. It is dozens of times stronger than ferrite magnets, the most common black-colored magnets widely used in stationery and household goods. 

Neodymium sintered magnet invented by Dr Masato Sagawa. (Photo courtesy of Daido Electronics)

Neodymium magnets help reduce the size, weight, and power consumption of various motorized equipment. They have become indispensable for the latest industrial products. They are used in electronics like hard disks, phone vibrators, and air conditioners. In addition, neodymium magnet applications are expanding to wind power generators and hybrid and electric vehicles.

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth to learn more about the many industry-revolutionizing applications of these magnets.

And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our new website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to a sustainable future.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Juichiro Ito


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