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Are Neodymium Magnets Conductive?

Are Neodymium Magnets Conductive?

Yes, neodymium magnets can conduct electricity. They are excellent conductors because they comprise iron, boron, and neodymium, which can conduct electricity even in isolation. However, the coating on a neodymium magnet may affect its ability to conduct electricity. For instance, neodymium magnets coated with copper and nickel will conduct electricity excellently. On the other hand, those coated with epoxy may have problems conducting electricity, while those coated with zinc will not conduct as efficiently as those with nickel or copper.

History of Electricity

Unlike most revolutionary technology, electricity was not invented. Instead, it was discovered, and its power harnessed. However, engineers and scientists would later design machines that could generate electric currents. While we can trace the history of electricity to ancient Egypt in 600 BC, Benjamin Franklin received the most recognition for discovering electricity in 1752. He was reported to have attached a metal key to a dampened kite string and flown a kite in a storm-threatened sky. Shortly after, a series of sparks jumped down from the key to the back of his hand. The experiment showed that lightning was indeed electrical. Of course, there having several investigations on electricity before and after Benjamin’s experiment.

Although scientists discovered electricity centuries earlier, the commercialization of electricity did not begin until early 1882, when Thomas Edison opened the world’s first steam-powered electricity generating station at Holborn Viaduct in London. His agreement with the City Corporation was to provide street lighting for three months. Before this time, however, Robert Hammond had launched a trial period of electricity in Sussex, Brighton, in 1881.

Later in 1882, Edison opened the Pearl Street Power Station in New York City, making it the second electricity generating station in the world. In the earliest days of commercial electricity, they could only generate direct currents (D.C.). The mid to late 1880s saw an introduction of alternating current (A.C.) systems in Europe and the U.S. As of 2019, it was concluded that over 90% of the world’s population has access to electricity.

History of Neodymium Magnets

Neodymium magnets were invented in 1984 by General Motors in collaboration with Sumimot Special Metals. Sagawa Masato spearheaded the discovery. While he worked as an engineer at Fujitsu Laboratories, he theorized that combining neodymium with small amounts of iron and boron could produce a powerful ferromagnetic material. However, his superiors did not support the project, which led to his resignation in 1982. He joined Sumimot Special Metals that same year, and they developed the powder metallurgy process while General Motors developed the melt-spinning process.

Although the invention of neodymium magnets was dated 1984, we can trace the history of neodymium magnets as far back as 1885, when the Austrian chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach discovered neodymium. Neodymium is naturally not in a metallic state, and it is always mixed with other elements in its family–the lanthanides. Since its discovery, neodymium has found applications across numerous industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, space technology, cooling technology, and glass production.

Shapes and Uses of Neodymium Magnets

Disc

Despite their compact size, disc neodymium magnets have extraordinary magnetic strength. You can use them in:

  • Toys
  • Transducer
  • Electrical motor and rotor
  • Bags and suitcases
  • Personal experiment
  • Electronic products
  • Writing case
  • Tools
  • Mechanical equipment (big size disc)
  • Smart home
  • Magnetic induction product

Disc with Countersunk Holes

Disc neodymium magnets with countersunk holes can take screws through the hole in the center, through which you can screw them to wood, metal, and plastic items. Disc neodymium magnets with countersunk holes are used in

  • Industrial mechanical equipment
  • Industrial assembly

Block

Block neodymium magnets can come in square, rectangle, or cube shapes, and they can be used:

  • In the classroom, as a teaching appliance.
  • In manufacturing
  • At home
  • In offices
  • In DIY projects.

Cylinder

Cylinder neodymium magnets can generate larger magnetic fields, sometimes up to 3 times more powerful than thinner disc neodymium magnets of equal diameter. They are found in:

  • Medical equipment.
  • Sensors.
  • Read switches.
  • Meters.
  • Holding applications.

Ring

Ring neodymium magnets are widely known for their application in sound equipment, especially speakers. They can produce high-quality sound in a smaller size. Ring neodymium magnets are commonly used in:

  • Motor
  • Electronic
  • Sound equipment
  • Scientific Experiments
  • Several other applications

Arc

Arc neodymium magnets are among the least popular shape of neodymium magnets because they have a specialized application. They are used in:

  • Motor field
  • Motor
  • DC motors, Rotors, and Stators
  • Electric car
  • WindTurbines
  • Car motor
  • Car drive motor
  • Electric motor, generator
  • C. motor
  • Electric vehicle motor,
  • Motorcycle Motor
  • Compressor motor
  • Electrical tools
  • Permanent magnet D.C. motor

Balls/Spheres

Neodymium magnet balls are small; they can be as small as 1mm, and as big as 2 inches. Besides being used as toys, they can be used to construct miniature or prototype buildings and hold paper against metal or magnetic boards.

Neodymium magnet balls and spheres are illegal in several countries as toys. However, they are still used in offices and jewelry production.

Disc/Cylinder/Block Neodymium Magnets with Countersunk Holes

All neodymium magnets with countersunk holes can be used for mounting, holding, lifting, and positioning furniture, items, door latches, and frames, and their magnetic forces are focused on the working surface. To make a neodymium magnet with a countersunk hole, drill a countersunk hole on the base of a round, square, column, ring, or tile neodymium magnet.

Irregular Neodymium Magnets

Irregularly shaped neodymium magnets include arc, those with countersunk holes, and custom-shaped neodymium magnets. They are very efficient and can function in basically any equipment they are needed for since the required shape is provided. They can be fitted into plastics, rubber, metal, and other durable materials.

Thin-type Neodymium Magnets

Thin-type neodymium magnets are used in several consumer products, including earphones, to produce sound. Usually, they are zinc plated. Here’s how it works:

Fix the enameled coil on the diaphragm, and place a neodymium magnet underneath. When the electric signal passes through the enameled wire, it will generate a magnetic field of different strengths.

Because the permanent neodymium magnet is fixed, the enameled coil drives the diaphragm to vibrate and becomes music to your ears.

Mini neodymium magnet

These are little bits of neodymium magnets that are used in everyday consumer products. You can find them in:

  • Lipstick covers
  • Smartphone
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Magnetic toys

Fishing Neodymium Magnet

Fishing neodymium magnets search for and grab ferrous metal objects that have fallen underwater. They are usually round and have a hook where you can tie a rope or chain to let the neodymium magnet down into a body of water. Fishing neodymium magnets cannot pick gold, silver, aluminum, and other non-magnetic materials.

Pin Neodymium Magnet

There are several applications of pin neodymium magnets. They are usually used when light materials are required to hang up against a metallic surface. You can use pin neodymium magnets in the office or classroom to hold sheets and notes to the Whiteboard.

Single Neodymium Magnet

A single neodymium magnet can be of any of the shapes listed above. A single neodymium magnet will fall in a rating group between N35 and N52AH, the former being the weakest and the latter being the strongest. Neodymium magnets are often used in:

  • Hard disks
  • Speakers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Earpieces
  • Mobile phones
  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Cars
  • Rotors
  • Microphones
  • Toys
  • Magnetic boards.

How to Fix Wires to Neodymium Magnets

Several reasons may require you to fix or attach an electricity-conducting wire to a neodymium magnet. Whatever the reason is, there are a few methods you can consider. Depending on the coating on your neodymium magnet, all these methods may not work for you. However, one of them should be a solution, regardless.

Method 1: Soldering

When attaching wires to metallic surfaces, the first option that comes to mind is soldering. While it looks like the best possible option, it is not always so. The reason is that soldering irons generate up to 200 to 480 °C (392 to 896 °F) heat. Hence, your neodymium magnet is at risk of suffering a permanent loss of magnetism. You can, however, solder wire to your neodymium magnet while keeping it safe. Follow the steps below.

  1. Get your soldering materials and safety gear, including insulating gloves to protect your hand from heat.
  2. Apply some soldering paste to the wire and the neodymium magnet part to which you will fix the wire.
  3. Melt some led onto the neodymium magnet’s surface–just enough to form a slightly thick layer of led.
  4. Melt as much lead as possible onto the part of your wire that’s going onto the neodymium magnet. You can solder layer by layer by waiting a few moments between melts. Make sure the wire is encapsulated in a thick layer of lead.
  5. Pick the lead-encapsulated wire and place it directly on the lead meted on the neodymium magnet.
  6. Use your soldering iron to melt them together; this should take a few seconds.
  7. Once the lead melts together, put away your soldering iron and apply a coolant to quickly bring the neodymium magnet’s temperature down.
  8. Wait until the neodymium magnet returns to room temperature, then proceed with your project.

Method 2: Conductive Epoxy

The second method seems a bit easier than the first, plus your neodymium magnet is not at risk of losing its magnetism to high temperatures. However, it takes more time and may be more expensive as conductive epoxy is costlier than ordinary epoxy.

  1. Purchase a conductive epoxy.
  2. Mix the ingredients in equal amounts and apply them to the joining surfaces: the neodymium magnet and the wire.
  3. Wait at least 4 hours for the epoxy to completely harden, and your job is done.

Note that conductive epoxy can only be exposed for five minutes, after which it will no longer hold two materials together. Hence it is recommended that you have everything ready before preparing your epoxy.

Method 3: Winding with Wire

A 3rd and probably less efficient method is to wind your wire around the neodymium magnet and then fasten it using either tape or any other material to keep the wire on the neodymium magnet’s surface and prevent it from falling out. This method will require more wire than is necessary and may still disconnect occasionally. Also, the material you use to fasten the wire to the neodymium magnet may wear out after some weeks or months.

Conclusion

Neodymium magnets are made from iron and metal, then coated with copper and nickel, which are excellent conductive materials. If you want to use a magnet in an electric assembly, your best option is neodymium magnets because of their properties and ability to withstand high temperatures. When you use neodymium magnets, you can rest assured of durability.

ROBO Magnetic has been a world-class manufacturer leading the neodymium magnets industry for over 16 years. Our engineers are professionally certified and use the latest technology to push the borders of innovation in producing our neodymium magnets. We manufacture and supply ISO 9001:2015 certified neodymium magnets in different shapes and sizes, including custom shapes. Email sales@robomagnetic.com or call +86-574-88790219 for more information.

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Article by

ROBO Magnetic Product Team

We are the manufacturer with 16 years of experience in custom neodymium magnets.

Need A Quote? Get in touch with us directly.

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