Rare Earth Magnets
Rare earth magnets are a vital component found in much of today’s technology and industrial applications, but equally as popular for use with hobbies, crafts, and DIY due to their performance and affordability.
When space is limited and strength is paramount, rare earth magnets are your best option.
What are Rare Earth Magnets?
The term ‘rare earth’ can be misleading as rare earth metals are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust. However, they are rarely found in large, concentrated deposits, but dispersed among other elements instead. Rare earth magnets are the strongest permanent magnets available and have significantly higher performance than ferrite (ceramic) and alnico magnets.
There are two types of rare earth magnet materials - Neodymium (Nd-Fe-B) and Samarium Cobalt (SmCo).Both materials come in different grades (strengths) and have different magnetic and physical properties.
Neodymium magnets, the stronger of the two, are composed of alloys primarily of neodymium, iron, and boron. These magnets tend to be brittle and are vulnerable to corrosion. Manufacturers typically nickel plate the material to protect it from oxidation.
Attributes of Rare Earth Neodymium
|Highest-energy product for its size||Low mechanical strength - brittle|
|High coercive force||Moderate temperature stability (depending on grade)|
|Strongest magnet material on the market today||Low corrosion resistance|
|Very high resistance to demagnetization|
Common Applications of Rare Earth Neodymium
- Magnetic separators
- Linear actuators
- Microphone assemblies
- Servo motors
- DC motors (automotive starters)
- Computer rigid disc drives, printers and speakers
- Medical devices
Samarium Cobalt magnets are made primarily from an alloys of samarium, cobalt, and iron. Typically difficult to demagnetize, samarium cobalt magnets have moderately high operating temperatures and high resistance to corrosion. These magnets can be coated as well.
Attributes of Rare Earth Samarium Cobalt
|High corrosion resistance||Higher cost|
|High-energy product||Low mechanical strength - brittle|
|High temperature stability|
|High coercive force - resistance to demagnetization|
Common Applications of Rare Earth Samarium Cobalt
- Computer disc drives and sensors
- Traveling wave tubes
- Linear actuators and satellite systems
- Motors where temperature stability is vital
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