In this article, electromagnet layouts are presented, which generate a magnetic field with a magnitude gradient that does not vary significantly in a horizontal plane but decreases monotonically with the vertical height above the magnet. Such a one-direction magnetic field gradient is a specific requirement for magnetic density separation (MDS), a novel recycling technology that combines a vertical magnetic field gradient with a ferrofluid to separate a mixture of non-magnetic materials based on their mass density. We are assembling the first superconducting magnet to be used for this application. In contrast to other separation technologies that use ferrofluid, multiple products can be separated in a single process step. First, the idealized current distribution is introduced that produces such a magnetic field with a magnitude that decays only in one direction. This ideal field can be approximated with practical coil configurations, which are evaluated with a Fourier analysis to derive an optimal cross-sectional layout based on flat racetrack coils. The analysis concludes with a discussion of the effect of winding pack thickness on the value of the magnetic field above the magnet system and the peak field inside the winding pack. The conclusions of this study are applicable not just for MDS but for any application that requires a magnetic field gradient that changes only in one direction.
- magnetic density separation (MDS)
- vertical magnetic field gradient