This major symposium is in honor of the distinguished work and lifetime achievements of Prof. Spomenka Kobe, who is well known in the area of magnetic materials. Professor Kobe is the pioneer of modern magnetic materials in Slovenia. Over her career, she has achieved a number of breakthroughs in the area of these sustainable materials. The last to date is the reduction by a factor of at least 15 of the amount of heavy rare earths (HRE) needed to maintain high coercivity in engineered magnets with the largest possible magnetization such as the ones used in wind generators or car engines. Magnets nowadays are at the forefront of sustainability.
Throughout her career, her activity has impacted various areas of magnets science and technology:
1. Hard ferrites mainly focused on Sr ferrite
The work for industrial partner Iskra Feriti was focused on the influence of processing parameters, phase composition and a small amount of additives on final microstructure and magnetic properties of anisotropic Sr hexaferrite. Together with her team in the factory, Kobe successfully transferred the technology to the industrial level and was awarded the innovation chain, a specific Slovenian recognition for high impact in the innovation area.
2. Soft ferrites (Mn-Zn-Ferrite and Ni-Zn ferrite
The field of soft ferrite magnets was dedicated to low-loss, high stability Ni-Zn ferrites and high permeability Mn-Zn ferrites, which was also the subject of her Ph.D. thesis. She managed to join the basic science in her doctoral study with the applied research for the same industrial partner. For her Ph.D. work, Kobe got her first Slovene State award for Science. Together with the team in the factory and her supervisor Miha Drofenik, she successfully transferred the technology to the industrial level and was awarded another innovation chain.
3. Alnico magnets
The work on Alnico magnets was strongly connected to the production level in factory Iskra Magneti, and besides the troubleshooting on the industrial scale, she contributed with her research in the laboratory to a significant improvement of the final quality of the magnets produced. The main focus and invention was on the thermal treatment in the magnetic field, which significantly improved the microstructure and consequently the magnetic properties.
4. Sm-Co magnets
The research for factory Iskra Magneti was the beginning of Kobe's career on intermetallic alloys between rare earth and transition metals. Together with her team, she developed the technology for production of Sm-Co magnets, which started with the development and construction of the necessary equipment needed for highly sensitive rare earths to humidity and oxygen. The technology was later on transferred to the industrial level, and Spomenka Kobe was awarded with a second State award for a patent put in life. The factory still produces rare earth magnets and is one of the rare that remains in Europe.
5. Nd-Fe-B magnets
Nd-Fe-B magnets as the most powerful known magnets are still the main subject of Kobe's research and application work, which is now mainly focused on sustainability, circular economy, and the environment. She was leading many projects in this field, but her latest achievement was that she coordinated a big European project with five most powerful industrial partners in the area and main academic groups in Europe. In the frame of this project, Kobe's team invented a method which enables a drastic decrease of the use of HRE in applications for motors of electric cars and wind generators, and which are on the top of the list of critical raw materials (CRM) in Europe. This invention, which contributes the independence of Europe with respect to the very localized production sources of RE (China, Kazakhstan), has immediately benefited the European industry (Valeo, Siemens, Vacuumschmelze). It also helps the Kolektor group, based in Slovenia with factories in Germany and elsewhere, to raise new markets in the world.
6. Sm-Fe-N magnets
In the Sm-Fe-N system, Kobe studied the influence of the basic composition and the preparation method on the phase composition and final magnetic properties. With Rex Harris at the University of Birmingham, they found that a small amount of Ta additive has an important influence on the microstructure and the magnetic properties of the basic alloy (EU Patent). The use of HRTEM was extremely important in the study of Ta's influence on the microstructure of Hydrogen decrepitation desorption recombination (HDDR) processed RE2TM17N3-d powders.
7. Complex Metallic Alloys
In collaboration with Jean-Marie Dubois under the CMA European Network of Excellence, Kobe got also involved in magnetocaloric materials as a member of a big family of materials called Complex Metallic Alloys. Her team was successfully engaged in this field with a Ph.D. study on a Gd-Si-Ge compound as a very promising material for magnetic refrigeration. In the frame of the CMA Network, she also studied the effect of composition on the icosahedral phase cell parameter of Ti-(Zr, Cu)-Ni alloys, which also resulted in a successful Ph.D. work. The research on complex metallic alloys is now focused on Push-Pull Alloys with promising scientific challenges and possible outcome in new applications.
Spomenka Kobe was for sixteen years the Head of the Department for Nanostructured Materials at Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Now she is acting as a Scientific Advisor at the same institute and a full professor at the International Postgraduate School "Jožef Stefan". She is the Leader of the Magnetic Group at the Department for Nanostructured Materials and the Leader of National Research Programme "Nanostructured Materials."
Spomenka Kobe was recently elected a member of the Academy of Engineering of Slovenia. She has an excellent track record of papers and conferences. She was the mentor of tens of research students who have found jobs in the materials industry, with definite relationship to sustainability.
Reflecting these outstanding career achievements, this international symposium will feature plenary, keynote and contributed talks focusing at (but not limited to) any aspect of magnetism and magnetic materials. Talks will also encompass complex intermetallics, amorphous alloys, liquid metals and alloys, and quasicrystals. Contributed articles will be doubled peer-reviewed and will be published in Conference Official Proceedings having an ISBN and an ISSN number and available through many indexes such as Scopus, EI index, Google Scholar, CiteSeerX, etc. Selected contributed articles will also be published in reputable Journals.
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS
A round table discussion open to everyone interested will be organized at a specific date and time during the symposium. It will be a platform for high level representatives of various industries, technologies, and academic disciplines to freely discuss and debate all topics of this symposium, and identify positive and efficient pathways towards sustainability in industrial practices, technologies, and research.
You are cordially invited to actively participate in this symposium by submitting and presenting a paper, or by attending the round table. We look forward to meeting you at the Cyprus, October 2019.