A historical view of Neodymium Magnets

This lonely planet, Earth, this speck of dust when compared to the whole of the universe and its numerous heavenly bodies and unknown depths of space is the only habitable place known to man. Still it contains sufficient amounts of all necessary substances and infrastructures to support all the varied forms of life on the planet. It is a Pandora’s Box of animated and inanimate things which make life on this globe possible and worthwhile.

It also sustains man’s unending thirst for progress and knowledge which makes him explore new dimensions and search for more and more answers to his interminable questions. Since the 18th century, when the industrial age started, human population has exponentially increased to mammoth proportions. He had to manufacture things on a very large scale and at a very fast rate.

Neodymium Magnets

Hence man dug into earth’s natural resources with increased vehemence and explored its varied riches. The Pandora’s Box was de-lidded. Metals, valuable rocks, plants, water, soil, different rocks, minerals – all were put into use to satisfy man’s ever-increasing need. Eventually man discovered more and more uses for these resources. One example can be cited in the field of rare earth magnets, especially neodymium magnets, the most popular of them.

A neodymium magnet, also known as a Neo magnet, is a type of permanent magnet. It is made from an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron. It has a tetragonal crystal molecular structure (Nd2Fe14B). It is most popular of all rare earth magnets and the strongest type of permanent magnet. General Motors and Sumimoto Special Metals invented it in the year 1982. It is brittle in nature and easily corroded and hence is coated with nickel for protection. It has high remanence, which means it has a highly strong magnetic field, and also high coercivity, which means it is very resistant to becoming demagnetized.

Such magnets, in spite of their name are hardly rare, being, in fact as usually found as lead or tin. Because of their strong magnetic fields they can be used in small sizes in places where light-weight equipments are required and hence have found a lot of applications.

Neodymium Magnets – where and how?

Modern technology, basically based on electronics, requires usage of a large amount of magnets. As days pass by, light weight gadgets are required to keep up with the fast paced life. And as such neodymium magnets because of their usability in small sizes have replaced conventional magnets. They are used head actuators for hard drives, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic guitar picks, audio systems, cordless tools, different types of motors and a whole lot of myriad applications.

 

The great strength of neodymium magnets have also inspired new applications like magnetic jewelry clasps and magnetic children’s building sets. But they have to be handled with extreme care as they can be very harmful for the human body because of their strong magnetic fields.