Polymagnets™ – Magnets Designed with a Purpose

CMR collaborated with NASA to develop Polymagnets™ composed of 0.6” thick Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) for a magnetic coupler from 2020 to 2022.  These Polymagnets™ were tested (attachment, shear, and torque forces) and retained force and function at temperatures above 140⁰C and below -180⁰C! 

The article below was published by NASA Armstrong regarding this coupler; the original article is on page 58 at https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2021-afrc-rte-report.pdf.

Dust-Tolerant Magnetic Coupler for Cryogenic Fluids for Space Applications

This research effort is developing a prototype for a dust-tolerant cryogenic magnetic coupler for lunar applications. The functional prototype demonstrated the integration of three subsystems: a cryogenic fluid coupler, patterned magnets, and dust mitigation. This innovation has the potential to fulfill multiple gaps associated with cryogenic fluid transfer and dust-mitigation technologies. It received a FY2021 Early Career Initiative (ECI) award and will receive $2.5 million over two years to support its work.

Work to date: The team collaborated with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to develop a cryogenic low force disconnect (LFD) coupler that will enable transference of cryogenic fluid in a lunar representative environment. This coupler has an innovative design that enables the two halves to be connected with minimal force. This research is supporting the continued development of NASA Kennedy’s LFD technology, developed initially under a Center Innovation Fund (CIF) award. The magnetic subsystem involves the use of patterned magnets (Polymagnets™) developed by Correlated Magnetics Research, an external vendor. These Polymagnets™ are tailored to achieve a desired behavior and deliver stronger local force. Conventional magnets generally have far-reaching and weak magnetic fields, whereas printed magnetic poles keep magnetic loops tight and strong. Reduced magnetic field distance also reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI) concerns. The magnetic technology used in this project was also originally studied under an Armstrong CIF award, and this ECI funding has allowed the team to continue to advance the technology.

The erosive and abrasive nature of lunar regolith dust can cause severe damage to equipment and systems. It can degrade coatings used to seal equipment and erode surfaces. The dust mitigation subsystem aims to protect the cryogenic fluid from dust contamination and the coupler’s mechanisms from damage.

Looking ahead: System integration and testing will occur at NASA Armstrong, Kennedy, and Marshall Space Flight Center.


  • Innovative: Combines an LFD coupler that requires less force to mate coupler halves with Polymagnets™ that customize force as needed per project 
  • Protective: Shields cryogenic coupler and fluid from dust contamination


  • Transference of cryogenic fluid in a lunar environment

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