Big Magnets

Neodymium Magnets 06/24/2020

big magnets

Big Magnets

Big Magnets are Strong

Emergency! (Big Magnets are Strong)

Here at ALB Magnetics, we handle a huge variety of neodymium magnets every day, large and small. Some of the really big ones are incredibly powerful. We handle strong magnets every day, yet the big ones still make us cautious.

For this article, we’ve decided to share some info about an emergency magnet separator we constructed. It is a device designed to separate even the largest magnet sizes if they have somehow attracted with a hand or finger squished between them. We’ve never had to use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

Note: This article is NOT about the best way to separate two magnets stuck together.

For advice on that, see our article about How to Separate Strong Magnets.

This article describes what we might do if we got our hand stuck between two huge magnets, which is a very different story.

Background:Two powerful BCC6 block magnets squeezing a hand.

you can see strong BCC6 block magnets attracting to one another through a hand. This is a neat trick that always gets attention. These 3/4" x 3/4" x 3/8" thick blocks provide a strong hold at this distance, but they can still be removed with one hand. With much larger magnets, however, we don't recommend trying this. We are understandably cautious about avoiding injuries. What would we do if someone’s hand got stock between two really powerful magnets?

Generally, the way to separate really powerful magnets is NOT to try pulling them straight apart. As described in our article about How to Separate Strong Magnets , shearing them apart sideways is the easiest, safest, best way to get two magnets apart. Of course, this assumes you don't have a finger or your hand stuck between them!

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The situation we are imagining here involves having two much larger magnets squishing our hand. This sort of accident and injury with a really huge magnet might require a trip to a hospital emergency room. When we began offering very large magnet sizes, we started to wonder: Would a doctor know how to separate two incredibly powerful magnets? Maybe not. We needed a way to separate the magnets first, before heading to the ER.

If someone’s fingers or hand were stuck between two magnets, sliding them apart sideways might not be the greatest idea. It might result in further injury. It seemed that we would need a device that could pull the two magnets straight apart from one another, quickly and easily.

The Emergency Magnet Separator

With this problem in mind, we constructed our Emergency Magnet Separator. Unlike the Magnet Separator products we sell, it does not shear the magnets apart sideways. It uses two steel plates, which each of the two magnets will stick to. Since there’s some gap between the two magnets (the squished hand), it works out that each magnet will be attracted to a steel plate it is touching more than the another magnet at a small distance away.

To use it, the hand with the magnets sandwiched around it is placed so that one magnet is centered on the bottom plate. Then, the upper plate is slowly brought into position to stick to the second magnet. Then, the lever can easily pull the upper magnet away. We demonstrate it in the short video below.

Fortunately, we have never had to use this device in a real emergency. We’ve suffered our fair share of pinched fingers and blood blisters, but nothing so severe that it required this device.

Be Careful Handling Large Magnets, Please!

While we have never used this device in a real emergency, we have found it useful. When we show the device to visitors or a new employee, it helps instill a little healthy fear in those who are new to handling powerful neodymium magnets. The really big magnets are incredibly strong and deserve a lot of respect. If you are handling large neodymium magnets for the first time, seek out some experienced help if you can.

Most readers probably do not need to construct such a device in their work with magnets. Still, we hope sharing this brief description helps demonstrate how incredibly powerful large neodymium magnets can be.

Please be careful handling neodymium magnets of any size. Even smaller magnets can chip or crack if allowed to slam together, and the flying chips can be dangerous. If your magnets have a Pull Force Case 1 of over 50 lb, or one of the dimensions is 2 inches or greater, consider it a very large magnet -- be careful!

Our How to Separate Strong Magnets article is a good guide for separating magnets of any size. Be sure to read our Safety Page before handling such powerful magnets.

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Neodymium-iron-boron (NIB)

Neodymium magnets also referred to as neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets, have the highest magnetic field strength, but are inferior to samarium cobalt in resistance to oxidation and temperature.

This type of magnet has traditionally been expensive, due to both the cost of raw materials and licensing of the patents involved.

This high cost limited their use to applications where such high strengths from a compact magnet are critical.

The use of protective surface treatments such as gold, nickel, zinc, and tin plating and epoxy resin coating can provide corrosion protection where required.

Beginning in the 1980s, NIB magnets have increasingly become less expensive.

Even tiny neodymium magnets are very powerful and have important safety considerations. At Applied Magnets you will get the best possible price on these Neodymium magnets.

All you have to do is just browse and choose from our huge selection and we will do the rest.

Plus with shopping online you get the modern convenience of buying from your home or place of business.

Nonetheless, our neodymium magnets come in many different shapes and sizes.

From blocks, cubes, spheres, cylinders to arcs and rings;

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we here on our website offer it all.

We can supply you with our neodymium magnets better than the other suppliers out there.

Neodymium magnets are a combination of Neodymium (Nd), Iron (Fe) and Boron (B), and are also referred to as NdFeB or Neo.

These are the strongest of the rare earth magnets and used in virtually every industry.

Our inventory contains a large sampling of the different grades, however, if you need a different grade, shape, or size, please contact us or use our online custom magnet quote form.

We only sell Neodymium Magnets - they are currently the most powerful magnets available.

All our magnets are high-grade Neodymium.

Neodymium magnets are very powerful, much more powerful than magnets most people are familiar with

and need to be handled with proper care. The magnetic fields from these magnets can affect each other from more than 12 inches away. Please note that these magnets are fragile. Even though they are coated with a tough protective nickel plating, do not allow them to snap together with their full force or they may chip, break, and possibly send small pieces of metal flying on impact. Our magnets can easily bruise fingers and the larger ones can break finger bones and even crush hands as they attempt to connect together.

Always wear protective eyewear or safety goggles when handling the magnets.

Keep magnets away from any magnetic based storage devices such as desktop or laptop computers, hard drives, floppy disks, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, or credit cards. A distance of at least 12" should be kept between magnets and these items at all times. Neodymium magnets are not suitable for small children to play with.

If small magnets are ingested, they can connect together in parts of the digestive system, blocking proper operation and cause death.

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These magnets should only be handled under strict adult supervision.

Neodymium magnets will PERMANENTLY lose their magnetic properties if they are heated above 180° Fahrenheit (80° C).

Our magnets are at least 12,500 gausses or higher.

We always try and stock the most powerful magnet available for any particular size & shape.

There are plenty of inexpensive Neodymium magnets available...

but they have just a small fraction of the magnetic power that our magnets have.

These magnets are custom fabricated to order and they are strong enough to break arm bones and crush hands in the blink of an eye.

The magnets listed as SuperMagnets can only be sold to adults and require an adult signature upon delivery.

They are potentially extremely dangerous.


Does the size of a magnet make it stronger? How are magnets made? How does the shape of a magnet affect its magnetic field?

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Size is just one of the ways one can change the strength of a magnet.

However, it can get very difficult and expensive to simply make a magnet bigger.

The other way is to make it BETTER.

This can mean all sorts of things.

With electromagnets, the modern method to make them better is to construct a superconducting magnet.

That is, the electrical coils are made of materials that will lose all electrical resistance when immersed in a tremendously cold substance, such as liquid helium.

Jefferson Lab has lots of liquid helium just for the purpose of attaining superconductivity, although most of it is not for magnets but for the accelerator's niobium cavities.

However, the point is still the same.

By reducing the electrical resistance, much higher amounts of electrical current can be put through the magnets, thereby generating a much stronger magnetic force.

Another way to make a magnet better is by carefully choosing the material from which it is made.

The standard strong magnet found in labs is usually made from ALNICO - a special alloy where strongly magnetic bits, made from an iron-nickel - aluminum alloy are embedded in an iron-cobalt alloy base.

If you want something lighter that can generate a strong magnetic force, then one can try FERRITE (or ceramic) magnets which are made from iron oxide plus barium, strontium, or lead oxide.

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Like other ceramic materials (such as toilet bowls), they are brittle, so some care in handling is necessary.

If you want to look over some varieties of permanent magnets, you can check out the online Edmund Scientific catalog.

The strongest permanent magnets are made from an iron- neodymium - boron (Fe-Nd-B) alloy.

This kind is actually used as a critical part of a nuclear physics experiment called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) .

Almost without exception, nuclear physics experiments require a strong magnet and it is often a superconducting one.

The AMS was designed as a compact system capable of being launched into space aboard the space shuttle.

The standard nuclear physics electromagnet was out of the question.

With the new type of permanent magnet made from the Fe-Nd-B alloy, the required strong magnetic field could be attained in a very compact volume without using any electrical power or liquid helium.

The details of manufacturing permanent magnets are proprietary (i.e., a trade secret).

However, the general technique is to take a FERROMAGNETIC material such as the ALNICO and expose it to a strong magnetic field, probably generated as very short (on a time scale) but very powerful bursts from a nearby electromagnet.

The magnetic "bits" in a ferromagnet are small collections of material (say, a millimeter or so) called domains that have a definite magnetic field with a north and south pole.

Normally, these domains are oriented in random directions, thereby canceling each other out.

When exposed to this powerful outside field, the domains start to orient themselves according to the direction of the strong outside field.

The newer Fe-Nd-B alloy magnets have the added advantage that after the field is established, it tends to be more stable than other types of permanent magnets.

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How to choose and buy a strong neodymium magnet? ALBMagnets is a professional company for strong magnet design and manufacturing,
providing you with reliable N35, N38, N42, N52, N42SH and other grade super neodymium magnets and SmCo rare earth magnets.

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