The Most Common Misconceptions People Have About Magnets

Magnets are amazing! They are used in all walks of life from your car’s engine to your mobile phone, although they are common and used for several applications many people still believe certain misconceptions about magnets.

We don’t expect everyone to be magnet experts like us, but we’d like everyone to have the basic knowledge about magnets they need… which is why we’ve put together the most common misconceptions people have about magnets.

From magnetic materials to magnetic fields and looking at the strength and size of different magnets we’ve covered the most common misconceptions about magnets.

All metals are attracted to a magnet

A common misconception is that all metals are magnetic. However, magnetic materials are always metal, but not all metals are magnetic.

Iron is magnetic, meaning any metals containing iron will be attracted to magnets. For example, cast iron and stainless steel contain iron and will be magnetic.

But most other metals, such as copper, gold, aluminium and zinc are not magnetic.

All magnets are made of iron

Many people believe all magnets are made from iron however there are five types of modern permanent magnets, each made from different materials with different characteristics.

The strongest, known as rare earth magnets, are neodymium and samarium cobalt magnets both contain iron but also contain other materials.

Neodymium magnets are an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron (NdFeb) whereas samarium cobalt is made from samarium, cobalt and small amounts of iron, copper and other materials.

The other types of permanent magnets include ferrite, alnico and flexible rubber magnets.

Ferrite magnets are made from a compound of ceramic material and iron oxide (SrO.6Fe2O3) and alnico magnets made from aluminium, nickel and cobalt.

Larger magnets are stronger than smaller magnets

Larger magnets are not always stronger than smaller magnets, it will depend on the material used to make the magnet. A larger magnet made from the same material and shaped in the same way will be stronger than a smaller magnet.

However, a large ferrite magnet may be much weaker than a small neodymium magnet. For example, our 75 x 50 x 20mm thick Y30BH Ferrite Magnet has 5kg pull strength whereas a 30 x 10 x 5mm thick N42 Neodymium Magnet has 8.1kg pull.

75 x 50 x 20mm thick Y30BH Ferrite Magnet – 5kg Pull

30 x 10 x 5mm thick N42 Neodymium Magnet – 8.1kg Pull

In a magnet, the magnetic field lines exist only outside the magnet

The magnetic field is the region around a magnet, usually represented by magnetic field lines that point from the north pole to the south pole.

However, the magnetic field lines do not just end at the tip of the magnet.

They go right through it so that inside the magnet the magnetic field points from the south pole to the north pole.

Thus, the magnetic field lines form a closed loop and do not have any ends.

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