Not many centuries back, man’s tryst with a cold, dark piece of metal that attracted iron started. Back then, this curious piece of metal known as magnet was thought to have magical properties. Thanks to the advancement in science and technology, not only has these magical properties brought within the grasp of mankind, but diverse and more powerful varieties of magnets are being created in the laboratories all around the world. One such type is Neodymium Magnets, known as Neo Magnets in short. It is the most commonly used rare-earth magnet, having a crystalline structure with the formula Nd2Fe14B. Composed of iron, boron and neodymium neo magnets are the strongest permanent magnet made till now.
Present Scenario and applications of Neo Magnets
Starting from hybrid motors for vehicles to headphones, neo magnets are a part of almost any electronic instrument one can imagine.
First made by General Motors and Sumitomo Special Metals in 1982, at present neo magnets are primarily produced by two methods – powder metallurgy or sintered magnet process and rapid solidification or bonded magnet process. While sintered neo magnets are made by melting the raw materials in the furnace, bonded neo magnets are formed by melt spinning a thin strip of the constituent elements. Annually 50000 tons of sintered neo magnets and 5500 tons of bonded neo magnets are produced all over the world. Sintered neo magnets give more flux but bonded neo magnets have the advantage of being formed in any shape. In a period when electronic appliances hold the sway, neo magnets are almost indispensible. Starting from hybrid motors for vehicles to headphones, neo magnets are a part of well almost any electronic instruments one can imagine. Being less prone to losing its magnetic properties than alnico and ferrite magnets, neo magnets have replaced them in many fields of technology. Head actuators for computer hard disks, magnetic guitar pickups, cordless tools, compressor motors, electrical power steering and servo motors are just a few instances of the vast number of appliances in which neo magnets are used. In addition to these traditional uses, neo magnets are also finding use in newer fields like jewelry clasps, open MRI scanners and closing mechanism of sport parachute gears.
Risks involved with Neo Magnets
However, like all things, neo magnets also come with their share of risks involved in their use. Being much more powerful than other types of magnets, these have the power to injure body parts when sandwiched between two bars of neo magnets only a few centimeters in length. Instances of digestive tracts getting folded after accidental swallowing of neo magnets are not too rare. Electronic devices are also susceptible to damage caused by the magnetic field created by the neo magnets.