College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Materials Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Jean Lee, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department


New technology for electric vehicles (EVs) must meet the requirements of higher energy usage, lower costs, and more sustainable source materials. One promising material for EV power system components is iron nitride (IN) soft magnetic composites (SMCs) because of their competitive magnetic properties and high abundance of the source materials. As part of an ongoing program at Sandia National Laboratories, this project focused on using computer modeling to optimize the prototyping process for an iron nitride SMC toroidal inductor to reach a target inductance of 600 μH. Four inductors with different combinations of wiring (26 AWG and 20 AWG) and vol% loading of iron nitride (65 vol% and 50 vol%) were fabricated at Cal Poly and characterized using an LCR meter. These inductors were also modeled using COMSOL Multiphysics™ with the Magnetic Fields module. The inductance data from the experiment and the model show that the 65 vol% IN prototypes and models agree with about 8% difference, while the 50 vol% IN samples show about a 9% difference between the prototype and the model. These results suggest that the model can predict inductance with both accuracy and precision with low confidence for the given sample size of four. An additional parameter of AC resistance is studied but the AC resistance results from the inductors and from the model generally do not agree closely, suggesting that the current model used in the project does not fully capture the mechanisms behind AC resistance of the inductor. With the focus of the project on inductance, the percent difference results of less than 9% across the four inductors that were tested increases confidence in the model’s predictive capabilities for inductance only. Using the inductance results from both the model and experiment, the final suggested inductor design is a 65 vol% core with 150 windings of 20 AWG wire that is 8 cm across and 1.5 cm tall to reach the inductance goal of 600 μH based on analysis using the optimized COMSOL™ model.