The Value Of Rare Earth Magnets

The Value Of Rare Earth Magnets

Article by Moses Grey

Rare earth magnets have revolutionized industry, medicine and entertainment. Previous to their development, people relied on ferrite and ceramic magnets. These magnets are superior to these other types of magnets because their magnetic fields are much stronger. A rare earth magnets sale has been ongoing ever since their development in the 1970’s.

The magnetic strength of these alloys is derived from the different materials of which they are composed. Rare earths can be magnetized just like iron. However, on their own, these elements only function magnetically at low temperatures. This made them unsuitable candidates for most applications which would involve certain levels of heat. Metals such as iron, cobalt and nickel can be magnetized and perform at much higher temperatures. When researchers discovered that they could make alloys of rare earths and these other metals, they were excited by the results. These new alloys had the strength of the rare earths’ magnetic fields and the durability of the other metals at higher temperatures.

The original magnetic alloy was samarium-cobalt. This new magnet functioned well at very high temperatures. Fortunately, they also turned out to have a powerful resistance to oxidation. The great drawback that developers immediately noted was this alloys inclination toward fracturing. It was very brittle and prone to cracking, especially when exposed to thermal shock. These rare earth magnets sale price was also very high. This limited their initial use.

In the 1980’s, further research developed neodymium magnets. These new magnets were even stronger than the samarium cobalt magnets used in the previous decade. Made from neodymium, iron and boron, they were also cheaper than the previous magnetic materials. They have become ubiquitous, even if the average consumer does not actually see them. Besides their widespread industrial use, they are also found in most computer hard drives. They are only superior to samarium-cobalt in magnetic strength. They are actually more prone to chipping and fracturing and are prone to corrosion. Also, they are not as capable of functioning magnetically at high temperatures like samarium-cobalt. Their lower price, however, ensured their commercial success when compared to samarium-cobalt.

It is the power of these advanced magnets that actually forms their greatest drawback. They are so strong that a magnet, made from these alloys, bigger than just a few centimeters in diameter can crush human bones if they are caught between the magnet and an attracted body. Two such magnets, attracted to one another, can collide so hard that they both fracture. There have been some cases in which children swallowed these magnets and died due to the internal injuries caused when the magnets crushed sections of their intestinal tracts. These drawbacks, however, do not stop the increasing rare earth magnets sale.

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