Neodymium rare earth magnets have long been known as the strongest magnets in the world, but not many are aware that they are also one of the most common. The abundance of the materials that make up this alloy have kept the cost of neodymium consistently low, which have made them ideal for uses wherever a permanent magnet is needed. The strength of the magnetic field can be dangerous, however, so handling should be done with care.
Neodymium rare earth magnets are a man-made alloy, rather than natural ore, with the combination of neodymium, boron, and iron creating a magnetic field that can be as much as ten times the strength of typical ceramic magnets. The lifespan of the magnets can also be as long as 10 years, which increases the economical aspect by reducing the need for replacements. Although first discovered in 1982, neodymium magnets are now considered one of the most common permanent magnets available on the market, with the relatively low cost of production all but ensuring they will remain so.
The versatility of neodymium magnets is nearly as amazing as their superior strength, however, as they can be used in a multitude of applications in both industrial and everyday circumstances. These uses include:
· Engineering, such as the use in generators to create electricity by spinning a copper coil through the magnetic field.
· Agriculture, particularly in the area of food processing, as they can be used along conveyor belts to prevent metal particles and other debris from contaminating food as it is prepared for packaging.
· Automotive, with use in the oil plan becoming an especially common technique to remove metal particles and debris that lead to engine damage.
· Household Items, including cabinet closures, purse latches and jewelry clasps, as well as a host of other applications that require strong magnetic properties in a very small package.
· Healing Therapy, as magnets are widely considered an effective therapy for increasing blood flow, reducing pain, and promoting the overall health of the body.
· Pet Care, as the same healing qualities that magnets offer to humans is becoming increasing used to promote optimum health for pets.
However, while these uses have made neodymium extremely common in everyday life, it should also be noted that the strength that has made these magnets so popular comes with its share of dangers. This includes the risk of injury should any part of the body be caught between two neodymium magnets, as the force of the magnetism is actually enough to break bones. Being caught in the path of a metal fragment as it is drawn to the magnet can also be dangerous, and there is the hidden danger of the magnetic field interrupting the operation of pacemakers and defibrillators with neodymium magnets are placed nearby. Another risk these magnets pose is the possibility of erasing data from bank and credit cards, even from a distance.
Neodymium rare earth magnets have grown from an economical permanent magnet for industrial purposes to a common household item due to its superior strength and relatively low cost of production. They are in fact the most common magnets used today, with applications that stretch from engineering and agriculture to household uses and healing therapies. The extreme magnetic strength can cause injury and other health risks if they are not handled with care, however, and the possibility of erasing critical data from bank and credit cards adds an additional risk that anyone working with these magnets should be aware of. While Neodymium rare earth magnets may have only been around since 1982, they are by far one of the most pratical, functional, and versatile inventions ever created.