Magnet Basics

What Is a Magnet?

Magnets are objects with certain elements that create a magnetic force. All magnets have at minimum two poles: north and south. The magnetic fields lines exit the north end and enter the magnet at the south.

Even though a magnet has been cut into many pieces, it still retains its north and south poles. Researchers have not yet found a monopole magnet, a magnet that only has one pole.

What does it take to make magnets work?

The science behind magnets remains largely a mystery. Scientists have now uncovered the science behind magnetic force. It begins with matter – the physical substances that make up all the objects in the universe – and the microscopic, atoms that make up matter.

Each atom is equipped with a nucleus made up of protons and neutrons. The nucleus contains electrons, which orbit in pairs. This movement creates tiny magnetic fields. Their magnetic fields cancel each other out when multiple pairs of electrons travel around the nucleus oppositely. If an atom, such as iron, has an odd number or electrons, the unpaired electrons create magnetic fields, making it a tiny magnet.

A magnetic field is created when a majority atoms of an object are small magnets. This creates an overall magnetic field with a south and north pole.

History of Magnets

As far back as 600 B.C., records show that magnetic properties were mentioned. “Magnet” was first used by the Greeks to describe a rock that attracted iron and other ferrous materials to itself. Magnes, a shepherd from Greece who discovered the stone while caring for his flock, is also credited with the origins of the term. Magnesia was an ancient city in modern-day Turkey where many magnet stones were found.

Mariners used compasses as a way to find their way. When a magnet is allowed to freely move, it always points in the same north-south directions. Mariners used to have difficulty navigating when the sky was clouded. This blocked the guidance of the sun and stars.

Magnets in Everyday Use

Magnets are used in many areas of everyday life. Magnets can be used in many places, from push pins and magnet clips that are great for your kitchen, classroom, or office to retrieving, separating, welding magnets that can be used in factories. There are many applications for magnets.

Different Types of Magnet Material

There are five types.

Alnico Magnets

Alnico magnetics are made from (Al), [Ni] and (Co], and are therefore known as al-nii-co. They create strong magnetic fields and are often known for being red horseshoe, or bar magnets.

Ceramic Magnets (Ferrite).

Ceramic (or ferrit) magnets are made up of iron oxide and strontium carbate. They are also very cost-efficient. They come in many forms, including discs, rings and blocks as well as cylinders and arcs. Ceramic magnets can be used for a variety purposes, including speakers and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). They also have magnetic assemblies that allow for retrieving, holding and separating.

Flexible High Energy

These magnets are made of a strontium-ferrite powder mix with polymer bonding. Most commonly, they are used in strips. Anisotropic (oriented) magnets have high resistance to weather and natural factors, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor use. High Energy Flexible Magnets can be made with adhesive or plain magnetic material.

neodymium magnets

Neodymium magnets (NdFeb NIB Neo), also known by “rare Earth magnets“, consist of neodymium iron, boron or other transition metals. These magnets are small in size but are extremely powerful and the strongest available magnetic material. You should take care when handling neodymium magnets. They are safe to use in all environments and magnetic systems.

Samarium Cobalt

This is a second type of rare Earth magnet and it is composed of cobalt (iron) and samarium. Samarium Cobalt (SmCo), magnets are second strongest permament magnetics. They have high resistance to demagnetization, good temperature stability, and are very strong.

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