What are Neodymium Magnets?

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Neodymium magnets are magnets made of neodymium and are labelled as the world’s strongest permanent magnet. As far as their strength is concerned, up to 1.4 teslas of magnetic fields can be produced by neodymium magnets. The atomic number of neodymium is 60, which is, of course, a rare earth element. A chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach discovered neodymium in 1885.

A neodymium magnet, also known as a neo magnet, is basically a type of rare-earth magnet that is made up of iron, neodymium and boron. Even though there are other rare earth magnets that include samarium cobalt, neodymium magnets are by far the most common magnets. These magnets have a superior level of performance because they create a stronger magnetic field. In a very thin, compact size, neodymium magnets contain a lot of holding power. These are generally coated with nickel to shield against corrosion.

A variety of commercial products use neodymium magnets due to their supreme strength. The following are some of the products which contain neodymium magnets:

  • Retail decouplers
  • Electric generators
  • Door locks
  • Electric automotive engines
  • Cordless power tools
  • Voice coils
  • Power steering
  • Speakers and headphones
  • Hard disk drives (HDDs) for computers
How are Neodymium Magnets Made?

An alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron are the main constituents of neodymium magnets. Depending on the strength required and the purpose of the magnet, its composition can vary accordingly. Sintered and bonded are the two important types for the manufacturing  of neodymium magnets.

Sintering is the procedure of compacting and forming a solid mass of material without melting it to the point of liquefaction; the solid mass is heated and pressured.By heating the alloy components in a furnace, sintered neodymium magnets are produced, and then this mixture is cast and cooled to form ingots, which are then grounded into a fine powder and hard-pressed into moulds. To make dense blocks, the moulds of powder are sintered. The material is then coated or plated and cut into its final shape and then magnetised.

The combination of neodymium alloy powder with a polymer binder forms a bonded neodymium magnet.

Why are Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets?

Neodymium magnets are not the normal refrigerator magnets; these magnets are the strongest permanent magnets available, and sometimes they are also called NdFeB or Neo magnets. Despite being so strong, they’re also light in weight, and this is the reason why these magnets are so popular and used for a wide variety of applications. Several technological improvements that have taken place over the past few decades would not have been possible without this type of rare earth magnet.

Uses of Neodymium Magnets

Since the innovation of neodymium magnets, a large number of industries have found them useful because of their super-strong magnetic nature. For instance, you’re using a neodymium magnet right now while you are reading this on your computer.

Some of the applications of neodymium magnets include:

  • Dentures – Tiny neodymium magnets are used to keep dentures securely in place.
  • Hard disk drives – When data is written to the drive, the hard disk that has tracks and sectors containing magnetic cells are magnetised.
  • Headphones, microphones, and loudspeakers – To convert electricity into mechanical energy, current-carrying coils are used with permanent magnets that convert the pressure of the surrounding air to create sound.
  • Door catches – Doors catches with neodymium magnetic are often used in commercial and residential buildings.
  • Anti-lock brake sensors – The anti-lock brakes in your car use neodymium magnets enfolded inside copper coils in their sensors.
  • Magnetic jewellery – The neodymium magnets are often used in magnetic therapy jewellery and are also used in bracelet and necklace clasps.