What Are Neodymium Magnets?Louise Thomas
If you’re looking for strong magnets to use in the workplace, for hobbies or arts & crafts, then there’s no doubt that you will have come across neodymium magnets by now. These super strength magnets have become hugely popular due to their incredible magnetic field, which makes them handy for a wide range of tasks. But what exactly are they? What makes them so strong? And what can they be used for? Let’s take you through everything you need to know about these super strong magnets.
What are neodymium magnets?
Neodymium magnets are one of the strongest permanent magnets in the world. Also known as a ‘rare-earth’ magnet, these magnets are made from alloys of rare-earth elements; specifically, neodymium magnets are made from neodymium, iron and boron. First developed in 1984 by General Motors, neodymium magnets produce an unparalleled magnetic field that is far larger and stronger than more common types of magnets.
What are neodymium magnets used for?
Due to their unrivalled strength, it’s not surprising that these magnets have become so popular for a variety of tasks and manufacturing purposes. Some of the most common uses for neodymium magnets include:
- Door catches
- Audio equipment – including speakers, microphones and headphones
- Mobile phones
- Hard disc drives
- MRI scanners
- Lifting machinery
- Retail displays
- DIY/Home projects
- Hanging artwork
- Crafts and model making
Are these magnets dangerous?
Due to their incredibly strong magnetic field, they do have a tendency to jump together from even a fair distance, and unfortunately, this has earned them a reputation as being dangerous. However, when used safely and handled correctly there is absolutely no reason that they should cause any harm or injury. Find our useful guide to handling neodymium magnets below.
Another important safety consideration when purchasing or using neodymium magnets is that they are incredibly brittle. If the magnets strike each other from a distance this can cause a strong impact, causing the magnets to shatter and break sending small metal particles flying. We highly recommend wearing suitable eye protection.
Why are neodymium magnets so strong?
Because the magnets are a ‘permanent magnet’, unlike the more common ‘ferrite magnet’, they naturally produce a far larger magnetic field. They have a high resistance to demagnetisation, meaning when looked after they won’t lose their magnetism over time. They’re manufactured with extremely high levels of magnetic saturation, which is exactly what allows them to generate such a strong magnetic field.
Are these magnets safe?
It’s important to consider your own safety when handling these magnets, we advise first taking into consideration the following safety tips:
- Keep the magnets away from all children.
Not only could they potentially hurt or injure themselves but they can also prove a choking hazard.
- Keep them away from anyone with a pacemaker.
Due to their incredibly strong magnetic field, they can interfere with pacemakers and other medical devices.
- Keep them away from your smartphone.
Not only can they interfere with GPS navigation devices, but they can also cause other damage to your phone.
- Do not allow them to be subjected to high temperatures.
Whilst neodymium magnets have an incredibly high resistance to demagnetisation, they can be susceptible to losing their strength at high temperatures.
- Avoid handling the magnets if you have a nickel allergy.
If you must handle these magnets still, we’d recommend wearing disposable gloves.
How should I safely handle neodymium magnets?
Safe handling is key when using these super strong magnets. Follow the steps below and you’ll be ready to start using your neodymium magnets for any project you have in mind!
- Wear suitable eye protection such as safety glasses or a face visor
- Protect your hands with work gloves
- Pay close attention when handling magnets
- To safely separate your magnets successfully, grasp the magnet and quickly slide it away from the stack
- Keep your magnets on a safe, smooth and flat surface where they can’t jump together unexpectedly
- Never drill your magnets
We hope you now feel more informed and confident to purchase and start using neodymium magnets. Once you understand how to safely use them, the opportunities to get creative at home are endless. Shop our range of neodymium magnets today.