When you think about magnets, you think about strength. They’re one of the most curious materials on our planet, capable of minor tasks like holding a piece of paper against your fridge, to enormous undertakings like powering heavy machinery.
As you may know, not all magnets are created equal. Your everyday fridge magnet can reliably hold postcards, notes, and photos, but would have no chance with a cardboard box. The heavier the object, the stronger your magnet will need to be.
Various materials are used to form magnets, including Ferrite, Samarium Cobalt, Neodymium Iron Boron (NIB), and Alnico. Depending on your industry, you’ll need to invest in different kinds of magnets.
Which magnet material is the strongest?
All magnets have some degree of strength—but the only magnets that can be truly defined as ‘strong’ are Neodymium Iron Boron, or NIB, magnets. When you hear the term ‘strong magnet’, it refers to these rare earth magnets—the strongest magnets in the world today. You may also hear the terms ‘NdFeB’ or ‘Neo’ referring to neodymium magnets.
We describe NIB magnets as ‘rare earth magnets’ because they comprise rare earth element alloys—neodymium, iron, and boron. They are astronomically stronger than all other common magnet materials.
Magnet types vary by energy density, which is described as ‘BHmax’. The BHmax of a standard ceramic magnet is 3.5, while a neodymium magnet has a BHmax of 40.
Neodymium magnets are so strong that they are usable even in the tiniest sizes, as small as one millimetre in diameter. They offer lightweight, consistent, but incredibly strong magnetisation.
Why don’t we always use strong magnets?
While strong magnets have a broad range of industrial applications—sometimes, other types of magnets are better suited for the job.
Neodymium magnets aren’t ideal in every environment. For example, these ultra-strong magnets require incredibly high magnetising fields, and in some cases, a protective coating.
You can also only use NIB magnets under strict temperature conditions. Because of their extraordinary magnetic force, workers must take due care when handling them.
What are the common uses of strong magnets?
You’ll find neodymium magnets used within a vast range of industries, including:
- Electronics and audio
- Home security
- Jewellery making
- Crafts and model making
For example, you’ll find neodymium magnets in burglary alarm systems, door catches, and locks within the home security industry. In the automotive industry, strong magnets wrapped within copper coils are used in the anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensors.
You’ll find strong magnets in acoustic pickups, microphones, headphones, loudspeakers, and more within the electronics and audio industries. They are also used within computer hard disk drives, smartphones, and other electronic equipment.
Neodymium Iron Boron magnets are the strongest type of magnet on the market today. Because of their incredible strength, neodymium magnets are useful even in the tiniest sizes. A wide variety of industries employ strong magnets in their work, including manufacturing, printing, home security, electronics, and more.
By understanding how and why strong magnets are used, you’ll know the best choice to make for your business.