Somewhere between 1540 and 1603, the British scientist, William Gilbert, became the first person to investigate magnetism.
Since then, our understanding of magnetism and the various types of magnets have evolved. Magnets have the ability to attract and repel various materials.
So what is it that gives them this ability? And how does it vary from magnet to magnet?
This article explores the major kinds of magnets while examining these varied abilities and uses.
Let’s dive right into it!
Table of Contents
Magnets can have both, temporary and permanent magnetic abilities. Permanent magnets are those that retain their magnetic abilities once magnetized. However, temporary magnets only act as magnets while they are in the presence of a magnetic field.
In general, there are four types of permanent magnets.
Neodymium Iron Boron
Neodymium magnets are the strongest permanent magnets that are available for commercial usage. Their resistance to demagnetization is extremely high, however, they do have lower mechanical strength.
These types of magnets are often used in hard disc drives, mobile phones, filters, ionizers, security devices, and more. While they are usually low on corrosion resistance, this can be remedied with a metal coating. Iron, nickel, or gold are often used to combat corrosion.
Samarium cobalt or the SmCo magnet is hard to demagnetize and comes with the added bonus of being oxidation and temperature resistant. Based on their energy range, these magnets are further divided into Sm1Co5 and Sm2Co17.
While they are relatively more expensive, these magnets are useful in marine applications and the manufacturing of generators, pumps, and motors.
Alnico magnets consist of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt. Unlike SmCo and Neodymium magnets, these can easily be demagnetized. These can be produced through sintering to enhance mechanical traits or casting to enable higher energy.
These magnets find usage in electric motors, microphones, guitars, aerospace applications, and sensors.
Ceramic or ferrite magnets are produced through sintering or pressing. These magnets are a combination of iron oxide and smaller proportions of another element like barium, manganese, or zinc.
These magnets are used in loudspeakers, refrigerator magnets, and electric motors. They are among the most commonly used magnets as they are easy and inexpensive to produce.
Temporary magnets are generally made from softer metals like soft iron. They rely on stronger external forces to create a magnetic field.
For example, electromagnets require electric currents to function. Similarly, there are certain magnetic objects that can become magnets for a temporary period.
Finding the Types of Magnets You Need
Magnets serve different purposes depending on their type. Do you want a permanent magnet that has its own magnetic field? Or do you need a temporary magnet that relies on an external magnetic field to create its own?
Consider your needs before you choose the types of magnets you want.
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