One might think that something called “rare” would be difficult or hard to find. Well, this is not the case with rare earth magnets. These powerful metal forces can have five to fifteen times the level of magnetic power than traditional refrigerator magnets and are very commonly found in industrial business settings. The most common magnet metals are Cobalt and Neodymium.
The Strongest Magnets
The Neodymium magnet is the strongest of all of the rare earth types. The largest downfall of this metal can be that high temperatures can affect magnetic properties over time. This is quite the opposite with the Cobalt style. Higher temperatures can make this magnet stronger, which is why Cobalt is often chosen over Neodymium in factory settings where high temperatures can be an issue.
Other Factors Affecting Magnetization
All magnets are either positively or negatively effected by heat, and there are other factors influencing magnetic strength. Strong fluctuations in an electrical current near a magnet can cause issues with magnetization over time, and some metals are more sensitive to this than others. Putting two magnets too close to one another can have this same effect.
Both Boron and Neodymium metals will corrode in a highly humid environment. This is why manufacturing companies will often protect the magnet by encasing it in a hard plastic or rubber shell. A plastic or rubber coating makes these magnets less suseptible to environmental temperature fluctuations and makes them safer to handle as well.
Each magnet has varying pull strengths, but the rare earth types are known to be the strongest. Magnetic strength decreases the further away a magnet is placed from a metal object. All magnets have their own individual force-to-distance ratio. This ratio can be measured by a special device called a Gaussmeter.
The side of a magnet called the North Pole is the one that points towards the North Pole of earth when it is freely rotating. The side called the South Pole is the opposite, and the side that seeks out the South Pole in free rotation. For this reason, many historical navigational devices used a simple magnet to assist with direction.
Rare earth magnets can be so powerful that there is a risk of pinching if two magnets are held too near one another. So, rare earth magnets should always be handled carefully. Allowing large magnets to slap against steel can cause surface wear and cracking in both the magnet and the steel. Always keep magnets far away from computer hard drives, stereo equipment, and other electronic devices. Magnets can damage electronics and cause the ever important magetic strip of your credit card to be de-magnetized.
Overall, rare earth magnets are a powerful force to be reckoned with. Whether you need some powerful magnets for a science experiment, class projects, or for a factory setting, you will find rare earth magnets to be an excellent choice. With the proper care and handling, rare earth magnets will provide years of functional use.