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December 8, 2016

Magnetic separation of all existing materials verified

Most existing solids are categorised as diamagnetic or weak paramagnetic materials. The possibility of magnetic motion has not been intensively considered for these materials. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that ensembles of heterogeneous particles (diamagnetic bismuth, diamond and graphite particles, as well as two paramagnetic olivines) can be dynamically separated into five fractions by the low field produced by neodymium (NdFeB) magnets during short-duration microgravity (μg). This result is in contrast to the generally accepted notion that ordinary solid materials are magnetically inert. The materials of the separated particles are identified by their magnetic susceptibility (χ), which is determined from the translating velocity. The potential of this approach as an analytical technique is comparable to that of chromatography separation because the extraction of new solid phases from a heterogeneous grain ensemble will lead to important discoveries about inorganic materials. The method is applicable for the separation of the precious samples such as lunar soils and/or the Hayabusa particles recovered from the asteroids, because even micron-order grains can be thoroughly separated without sample-loss.


The relationship between velocity (v) and sample position (x) of sub-millimetre particles observed during translation induced by a magnetic field.

(Link) http://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/research/2016/20161208_1