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What is Neodymium?

Neodymium is the chemical element of atomic number 60, and are considered a rare earth element (belonging to the rare earth elements on the periodic table). They are thestrongest rare earth magnets available, and are permanent.

Neodymium comes from the Greek word neos, meaning new, and didymos, meaning twin. The name combined means new twin and are occasionally known as Neodymium-Iron-Boron or Nd-Fe-B or NIB. The element was discovered in 1885 by Austrian chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach, with the symbol Nd. Its atomic mass is 144.242 u ± 0.003 u and has a melting point of 1,870°F (1,021°C).

Sources of Neodymium

Neodymium cannot be found in nature as a free element. It’s found in raw ore such as monazite and bastnasite, it’s also a by-product of nuclear fission. It’s extracted via ion-exchange or solvent techniques.

Benefits of using Neodymium magnets

– Very strong permanent magnets, the strongest permanent magnets that exist today
– Highest resistance to demagnetization
Affordability: compared to other magnet types, it’s by far the most economical
– Accept large number of different coatings and coating techniques
Powerful in small sizes, can be manufactured in any N rating

Risks associated with using Neodymium

– Oxidize easily
– Can catch fire at high temperatures
Cannot be soldered
Demagnetizes under high heat (max operating temp 176°F/80°C before starting to lose strength), if heated beyond 590°F/310°C they will permanently demagnetize

Where are they used today?

You name it. You likely have one in your pocket right now.

They are currently on the Mars Exploration Rovers. We see them in Cell phones, MRI scanners, hard drives, metal detectors, televisions, geocaching, ABS sensors, wind turbines, which utilize neodymium magnets to assist in enhancing turbine power and generating electricity.They are also replacing the traditional magnets used in loudspeakers.More practically you see them on shirt collar stays, broaches, name tags, refrigerators, purse latches, kitchen cabinets, white boards, oil filters, magic tricks, and even fish tank cleaners.

Published in Physics of Magnets