Magnets can be used in countless situations and for numerous purposes. Magnet fishing or other hobby projects are on top of our minds. The possibilities are virtually limitless. Whatever you use a magnet for, you might want to be informed upfront about the strength of your magnet. There is nothing more annoying than finding out a magnet is not as powerful as promised. But, how can you determine a magnet’s strength? In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know.
Magnetism is a peculiar phenomenon. The basic principles of how magnets work aren’t really complicated. But to understand the far-reaching implications of magnetic forces, one would need to acquire considerable knowledge. That’s why we’ll try to explain the factors influencing the strength of a magnet in a simple and practical manner. That way you will know what to look for in your search for a proper product.
Determining a magnet’s strength
People often look for the strongest magnet. More often than not, the magnetic pulling force is confused with the power of the magnetic field. However, these are different concepts. This article focuses on the pulling force of permanent magnets. Electromagnets are left out of consideration.
Before you buy a magnet, you will need to look at the material. Nowadays most magnetic products are made of neodymium. Neodymium is a chemical element and raw material of which permanent magnets are manufactured. Are looking to buy a neodymium magnet? Then you can assume it will be a powerful magnet.
This sounds great, but it isn’t always true. The strength of neodymium can be classified with a so-called N-grade. This value indicates the quality and the amount of the used raw materials. Magnets with low N-grades can be disappointing in their pulling force. If manufacturers are aware of this, they might even avoid mentioning the N-grades on purpose.
Magnetic products with low N-grades are usually bigger than similar products with higher grades. This has to do with the amount of material needed to achieve the same pulling force. When buying a magnet, always keep the trustworthiness of manufacturers in mind. Trustworthy companies selling quality products with high appraisals will be reluctant to sell products with lower N-grades.
Additionally, a magnet’s physical properties influence its strength. What do we mean by physical properties or physical characteristics? Consider the shape of a magnet. A sphere-shaped magnet will in practice exert less pulling force in comparison to a magnet with flat surfaces, like a cube or a cylinder. The shape influences the direction and concentration of the magnetic field.
Additionally, the physical properties of the object to which your magnet clings influence the pulling force. Especially magnet fishers are well aware of this. Consider a safe with a large and thick magnetic surface. A neodymium fishing magnet will easily stick to it. On the other hand, a shopping cart with only a mesh construction will be very hard to pull.
High-end manufacturing process
Quality is obviously key to the strength of a magnet. High-end manufacturing processes are developed to be precise and consistent. This reduces the likelihood of production errors, and therefore the chance that individual magnets are less powerful than intended. Regular and extensive testing is another feature of high-end manufacturing processes. Generally speaking, larger and more trustworthy manufacturers with a decent reputation comply with these best practices.
How to determine the strength of a magnet? You can assess your magnet by evaluating the factors we mentioned above. Organizations usually mention the pulling forces of their magnets alongside their products. Are you still in doubt? Try to judge the product on the three mentioned factors. Is the correct raw material used and is it of the right grade, are the physical properties in line with what I need of the product and can I trust the manufacturing process in terms of quality and use of best practices?