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Permanent Magnets - Fascinating History and Various Types ​

From lodestones to rare earth magnets, explore the captivating history and diverse range of permanent magnets used in modern technology.

Loadstone - natural permanent magnet

The word – magnet is always related the concept of attraction. In the physical world, it’s a force where two objects pulling towards each other, which we refer to as magnetic force. Abstractly, a magnet can be a person, a thing or a place that is attractive to another person. Just like something may lose its shine or someone his charm over time, however, magnets may also lose its magnetism. That’s where permanent magnets make a difference. 

By definition, a permanent magnet is a magnet that never loses its magnetic strength. The first permanent magnet in history is called a loadstone, which is a naturally magnetized rock mainly composed of Fe3O4.

Lodestone attracting some iron nails
Lodestone attracting some iron nails

AlNiCo Magnets - 1st Generation Permanent Magnet

In the modern history, the first permanent magnet ever developed and commercially used is called AlNiCo. AlNiCo was developed in the early 1930s and was then used in military electronic applications during World War II. AlNiCo magnets are divided into cast AlNiCo and sintered AlNiCo. Alnico offers high magnetic field. But it has a low coercive force, which mean it can be easily demagnetized.

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master magnet magnets 97924 64 1000
AlNiCo horseshoe magnet
Alnico Magnets two rings
AlNiCo Ring Magnets
Common Applications of Alnico Magnets 2
AlNiCo Cylinder
AlNiCo holding magnet

Ceramic magnet (Hard ferrite or ferrite magnet) - 2nd Generation Permanent Magnet

In the 1960s, hard ferrite or ceramic magnet was developed and quickly gained popularity in the world industry. It is a low-cost magnetic material made primarily of strontium carbonate and iron oxide (Fe2O3). Due to its good resistance to demagnetization and excellent corrosion resistance, ceramic magnets gained its market very quickly. Nowadays, if measuring by weight, over 70% of the magnets commercially used are hard ferrite/ceramic magnets.

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Ceramic disc magnet
Ceramic ring magnet
6"x4"x1" ceramic magnet
6"x4"x1"ceramic block

Samarium Cobalt - 1st and 2nd Generation Rare Earth Magnet

A few years later, something called rare earth magnet was developed. It was Samarium-Cobalt that opened the era of rare earth magnets. This magnetic material has two series: SmCo5 and Sm2Co17 according to composition. In addition to their excellent magnetic strength, they are able to withstand high temperature.

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SmCo rare earth permanent magnets
SmCo arc magnets
Samarium Cobalt Magnets
SmCo cylinder magnets
Ring SmCo Magnet
SmCo ring magnets

Neodymium magnet (NdFeB magnet) - 3rd Generation Rare Earth Magnet)

In the early 1980s, a brand-new rare earth magnet called neodymium magnet (NdFeB) was independently developed by Japanese and American. NdFeB magnets exhibit much stronger magnetic flux than any other permanent magnets commericially available. It enables miniaturization in design and introduces more possibilities in modern technology.

neodymium magnets
permanent magnet neodymium disc magnets
neo disc magents
61NU2pne9EL. AC SL1200
neo countersunk magnet
neodymium ring magnet
neo ring magnet
61DLtTSzmrL. AC SL1200
neo bar magnet
pot magnet
NdFeB pot magnet

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Jonah Jin

Jonah Jin
Managing Director

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