Should you be using rare earth magnets?

Posted on: 12 April 2021

How much do you know about magnets and magnetic force? While most people learn about magnetic attraction at school, not everyone appreciates that magnetism is used all of the time in domestic products and equipment. Even those who know that magnetism has wide application in manufacturing and engineering may not have grasped how magnetism could be used in their products.

The power of rare earth magnets

One of the common misconceptions regarding magnets is that magnetism is a comparatively weak force. Many people think that if you need a lot of magnetism, you must use a large magnet. Sometimes, that is true, but not always. A traditional ferrite or alnico magnet would need to be big to generate sufficient magnetism, but neodymium magnets are different. Rare earth magnets, such as those made from neodymium, can be far more powerful, allowing the creation of a strong magnetic force from a small piece of metal.

When did rare earth magnets originate?

The first rare earth magnets were not created until the 1980s. Although neodymium was first mined towards the end of the nineteenth century, it took almost a hundred years for neodymium to be used in the creation of a commercially available super magnet, such as those we see today. While neodymium deposits exist across the world, many of the world's rare earth magnets are manufactured in Asia and exported to manufacturing sites across the globe.

What are the applications of rare earth magnets?

The principal advantage held by rare earth magnets is their small size compared with traditional magnets. Rare earth magnets are small enough to be used in everything from jewellery and door catches to medical and dental applications. Larger rare earth magnets are used in the transport industry, where maglev trains are an especially well-known application. Talk to your engineering team to see how you could incorporate rare earth magnets into your projects. When determining whether you could use rare earth magnets for yourself, you must understand that there is significant variation between different types of rare earth magnets. The magnets come in a range of grades, and each grade will be subject to specific restrictions. In particular, you must consider the temperature range at which the magnet will operate and how susceptible the magnet might be to corrosion. Your supplier can explain every magnet's required environmental conditions and help you select the most suitable magnet for your product.