The Strongest Permanent Magnet-Neodymium Magnets

At room temperature, the neodymium magnet is the most powerful permanent magnet.

But this is only at room temperature. Early Neo magnets had an annoying flaw: they were sensitive to temperature, and when the temperature rose, the magnetism dropped dramatically, and when it was above 100 degrees Celsius, it was completely demagnetized. But now an improvement has been found by adding a small amount of dysprosium, another rare earth metal, which is less sensitive to temperature changes.

neo magnets

At the same time, a technological revolution driven by permanent magnets opened the curtain. Anywhere you want to produce the strongest magnetic field with the least amount of material, Neo permanent magnets are preferred: car engines, spindle motors on CD and DVD readers, electric signals converted into sound diaphragms in headphones and speakers, and super magnetic fields needed in medical magnetic resonance technology… By 2010, even though cheaper ferrites still dominated the market, neodymium permanent magnets were worth more than a dozen or even hundreds of times more than ferrites in terms of volume.

However, when Neo permanent magnets were developed, the demand for rare earth metals surged. Rare earth metals aren’t really rare on the planet — they are a few parts per million in the earth’s crust — they’re “rare” because they’re hard to find.

Search for new permanent magnet materials

Each computer needs only 50 grams of Neo permanent magnet. It doesn’t seem like much, but given the number of computers around the world, it’s almost an astronomical number. Now, with the rise of green energy technology, the consumption of computers has become a great mystery. Turbine motors in wind farms, as well as electric cars and bicycles, require lightweight and powerful permanent magnets, and only Neo magnets currently meet the requirements. Each electric vehicle consumes 2 kilograms of Neo permanent magnets. The power of megawatt wind turbines will consume 2/3 tons of Neo permanent magnets. Therefore, it is imminent to develop new and stronger permanent magnets. It is better to reduce the number of rare earth metals. The ideal situation is to stop using rare earth metals.

Neo magnet

The United States has invested huge sums of money in finding new permanent magnets. At present, scientists are trying to improve the performance of Fe Ni alloy permanent magnets. Usually, when two magnetic metals, iron and nickel, are fused together, they form disordered structures in which it is difficult to align electrons in the same direction. One exception, however, is that iron and nickel atoms are arranged in regular layers in a mineral called cubic nickel rubble. Once a magnetic field is applied, the electron spins tend to move in the same direction.

But this mineral is very difficult to form under natural conditions, especially on the earth. In fact, the only orthoclase sample in the world today comes from a meteorite that took at least billions of years to form. One billion years is certainly too long for us. The goal of scientists is to synthesize it in the laboratory and do what nature needs to do in billions of years.

Another ongoing attempt that seems to be completely different is to use carbon as a permanent magnet. It is well known that graphite and diamond are nonmagnetic, and the incorporation of carbon into pure iron also makes it lose its magnetism. But making compounds of carbon and other elements into nanoparticles is another matter. Scientists found that the material showed strong magnetism. For commercial secrecy, what the material is and how to make it is not convenient for scientists to disclose. But they say the permanent magnet will one day beat neodymium at both performance and price.

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How are Permanent Magnets Made?

Today, mobile phones, headsets, and other devices are made so small that they can’t be separated from high-performance permanent magnets. So how are these magnets made? Can we find more powerful magnets?
“Magnet”, the scientific term is called a permanent magnet, which is different from the electrified magnet. It’s the core of many modern technologies. Speakers in compact devices such as cell phones and headphones require permanent magnets to convert current signals into sound signals. With super permanent magnets, they can now be so compact. In addition, electric vehicles, turbines, computers, satellites, and so on, all require permanent magnets to convert electrical and mechanical energy into each other.

permanent magnets
So how are permanent magnets made?
It is not difficult to make a permanent magnet. Electromagnetism tells us that the movement of electric charge produces the magnetic field, which can make the charge move. So permanent magnets play a central role in electric motors, generators, and transformers. There, they store energy or transform mechanical energy and electrical energy into one another. These devices are still playing a great role in our daily life.

magnetic field
Rare earth permanent magnet material debut
It is so simple to make a permanent magnet, but it is not easy to make a good permanent magnet. There are many materials used to make permanent magnets. We can make a long list. The most used is ferrite, because it is relatively cheap, and its corrosion resistance is also unmatched. But it has a fatal flaw: magnetism is not strong enough. In order to produce a strong magnetic field, you need a lot of amazing ferrites. So devices containing ferrite magnets are generally large and bulky.
It is certainly not a problem for large mechanical devices, but in this age of microelectronics, we need smaller things, which require more magnetic permanent magnets. But how do you get it? In a solid material, the number of electrons is too large for theoretical calculations, so it is difficult for theorists to give guidance. In this case, the search for better permanent magnets depends largely on metallurgists’experiments: mixing promising elements into an external magnetic field to see what happens.
In this way, the magnetism of the AlCoNi magnet developed in the 1930s is almost double that of the best ferrite magnets. But in this area, a series of breakthroughs occurred after the 1970s, an excellent material for making permanent magnets, were discovered.
Rare earth elements are also known as lanthanides in the periodic table, with atomic numbers ranging from 57 to 71. Important rare earth elements include rubidium (Nd) of atomic number 60, samarium (Sm) of 62 and dysprosium (Dy) of 66. One of the characteristics of these elements is that there are so many electrons in their atoms that spin in the same direction. In the 1970s, cobalt and samarium were mixed in proportion to form permanent magnets, which were found to be twice as magnetic as aluminum cobalt nickel permanent magnets.

The most dazzling star in permanent magnets
Nevertheless, an incomparable star in permanent magnets is the NdFeB permanent magnet (Neo magnet). In the 1990s, this permanent magnet, at equal distances, was thousands of times stronger than the magnetic field produced by the Earth’s liquid iron core. You know, the average distance between the earth’s surface and the liquid iron core that produces a magnetic field on the earth is 2900 kilometers, which means that the magnetism of the Neo permanent magnet is thousands of times stronger than that of the earth’s magnetic field.
At room temperature, Neo magnet is the most powerful permanent magnet.