MadSci Network: Physics

Re: What is the difference in the variety of magnetic material.

Date: Tue Aug 31 17:00:18 1999
Posted By: John Balbach, Post-doc/Fellow, Physics, National Institutes of Health
Area of science: Physics
ID: 935724098.Ph


There are a variety of parameters that permanent magnet designers try to
adjust with different materials.  They may try to give a magnet a larger or
smaller histeresis curve.  Certain magnetic materials are less brittle than
others.  All of the materials have different behaviors with temperature.
Some materials are suitable for use in the stripes on credit cards.  Others
are better for electric motors.  This is a big industry, and there is a lot
of exciting research going on.

If you want specifics, I would suggest getting your local library to find
you a book or two.  If you search on, for "permanent magnets"
you will get a good idea of some titles.  These tend to be expensive books,
so the library may have trouble finding a copy.

Fundamentally, all of the differences in these magnetic materials comes
down to the crystalline structure, and the arrangement of electrons within
that structure.  These issues are typically covered in senior and
graduate-level physics courses.

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