Strong magnets play a central role in industries worldwide—including electronics, medicine, security, jewelry production, manufacturing, crafting, model-making, printing, and more. You can purchase a wide range of strong metals at any reputable distributor e.g. Stanford Magnet.
For these industrial applications, you’ll want to choose a magnet that is strong, permanent, widely commercially available, and affordable. You’ll also want to know the magnet is reliable and resistant to damage or demagnetisation. That’s where neodymium magnets come in.
What is a Neodymium Magnet?
Essentially, a magnet is any object that generates a magnetic field. Magnetics may be natural or man-made. While several types of magnets exist today, ceramic and neodymium magnets are the most common.
In 1982, Sumitomo Special Metals collaborated with General Motors to produce the first neodymium magnet. They were created in response to the expensive nature of samarium-cobalt magnets. In the following years, neodymium magnets became the most popular magnet used in a variety of industrial applications.
Alone, or when combined with other elements such as boron and iron, neodymium magnets are the strongest magnets in the world. These rare-earth magnets are usable in sizes as small as one millimetre in diameter because of their extreme strength.
Neodymium Magnets vs. Ceramic Magnets
Both neodymium and ceramic magnets are permanent magnets, which means they sustain their magnetic field for years—unless they are damaged or broken. However, when compared with ceramic magnets, neodymium magnets are significantly stronger.
Since their inception in the 1950s, ceramic magnets were the preferred choice within most industries. By pouring ceramic material mixtures into moulds, manufacturers produced effective and inexpensive magnets.
When neodymium magnets came on the market, they quickly took over ceramic magnets. Because of their increased strength, neodymium magnets offer a broader variety of uses than their ceramic counterparts.
Strength and durability
Neodymium magnets are also distinguished by their thermal stress resistance and durability. Standard neodymium magnets maintain a consistent, strong, and reliable magnetic pull until temperatures reach around 80°C.
However, manufacturers can alter the materials within neodymium magnets to increase their heat resistance. For example, by introducing erbium and dysprosium, neodymium magnets can withstand temperatures of up to 200°C.
A neodymium magnet’s durability and thermal stress resistance will depend on its grade, which can range from N35 (80°C max operating temperature) to 33AH (230°C max operating temperature).
When compared with other types of magnets, neodymium magnets boast much higher coercivity, which measures a material’s resistance to demagnetisation. This high resistance is a result of a neodymium magnet’s crystal structure.
Like other types of magnets, neodymium magnet alloys comprise microcrystalline grains. These grains are aligned in a powerful magnetic field during manufacture, ensuring all magnetic axes point in one direction. A neodymium magnet’s ‘crystal lattice’ is highly resistant to turning its direction of magnetisation, which gives the compound an exceptionally high coercivity.
Neodymium magnets are the strongest magnets on the market today. Compared with other types of permanent magnets, neodymium magnets are significantly stronger, offer a much broader range of industrial applications, are inexpensive, offer higher coercivity, and maintain a consistent magnetic pull despite being exposed to high temperatures.