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Magnet ABC

Ageing: Change in magnetic properties with time, especially in the apparent remanence of a permanent magnet; can be reduced or anticipated by artificial ageing (magnetic, thermal, mechanical).

Air Gap: Space between the poles of a magnet in which there exists a useable magnetic field.

AMR-effect: Non isotropic magneto resistive effect, (see also XMR-effect).

Alnico: Magnet alloys composed of Aluminium, Nickel, Cobalt, Iron and other additives - produced by casting or sintering - can only be processed by grinding.

Alnico P: DIN 17410 designation for plastic bonded Alnico materials.

A/m: amperes per meter : unit of magnetic field strength; 1 A/m= 0,01 A/cm (= 0,01256 Oersted).

Anisotropy: Directional dependence of a physical quantity ; in the case of permanent magnets this relates to remanence, coercivity etc.

Axial magnetization: Magnetization along the symmetric achsis of a bar magnet or along one edge of a block magnet.

B = Induction or flux density: Unit: 1 Tesla = 1 Vs/m2 = 10-4 Vs/cm2 = 104 Gauß.

B (H) Curve: A curve representing the relationship between induction B and field strength H (see also hysteresis loop).

(B • H): Product of the respective induction B and field strength H within a magnet (see

also energy density).

Unit: 1 J/m3 = 10-3 kJ/m3 = 125,6 Gauß • Oersted = 125,6 • 10-6 MGOe

(B • H)max - Value: Maximum product resulting from B and H on the demagnetization

curve, i.e. the largest rectangle which can be drawn within the B (H) curve in the second

quadrant of the hysteresis curve; this usually corresponds to the optimal working point.

cgs-units: Physical units which are based on the three fundamental units cm, gram and second

(see also SI-units).

CMR-effect: Colossal magneto resistive effect (see also XMR-effect).

Coercive Field Strength Hc, Coercivity: Strength of the demagnetizing field where B = 0 ( HcB ) or

J = 0 ( HcJ ).

Columnar crystalline materials: Especially AlNiCo alloys where an orientation of the crystals is formed by a controlled solidification of the melting charge. The material AlNiCo 700 shows a very distinct contrast to those types where an anisotropy is produced only by applying a magnetic field during heat treatment.

Curie Temperature: The temperature above which the remanence of polarization in a ferro-magnetic material becomes Jr = 0. At all temperatures above the Curie temperature all ferromagnetic materials are paramagnetic.

Demagnetization: Reduction of induction to B = 0; this is obtained practically by the application of an alternating field of decreasing amplitude.

Demagnetization Curve: The second quadrant of the hysteresis loop which is of great importance for permanent magnets.

Demagnetization Factor N: Shape dependent factor which determines the angle between working line and B-axis. N is the tangent of this angle.

Diamagnetism: Magnetic property of materials whose permeability m is smaller than 1, e.g. bismuth.

Dimensional Relationship: Relationship L/D = length / diameter of a bar magnet. For each magnet material the optimal working point corresponds to a fixed L/D value.

Dipole field: first approximation of the field of a magnet at a large distance. The dipole field is defined only by orientation and amount of the magnetic moment and decreases according to 1/r³ with increasing

distance r.

Dipole moment: see moment (magnetic)

Eddy current: A current induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field. It is exploited for example in electricity meters for retarding without any contact. On the other hand it causes losses and undesirable heating in motors, transformers etc.

Effective Flux: Part of the magnetic flux which passes through the air gap.

Energy Density: 1/2 B • H = half of the product resulting from the magnetic induction B and the field strength H (half of the rectangle within the demagnetization curve with its corner at the working point)

Ferromagnetism: Magnetic property of materials with a permeability m >>1, e.g. iron, nickel, cobalt and many of their alloys and compounds.

Field: space having physical properties (see also magnetic field).

Field Constant, Magnetic: m0 = B/H in the vacuum, with m0 = 1,256-10-6 T m / A 1,256- 10-6 \/s / Am.


Field Line: Means of evident representation of fields. In force fields (e.g. magnetic fields) the tangents to the field lines represent the direction of the effective forces; the density of field lines is a measure of the strength of effective forces.

Field Strength (magnetic) H : a quantitative representation of the strength and the direction (vector) of a magnetic field. Unit 1 A/m = 0,01 A/cm = 0,01256 Oersted.

Flux Density B: No. of field lines per unit of surface.

Unit: 1 Tesla = 1 Vs/m2 = 10-4 Vs/cm2 = 104 Gauss.

Flux, magnetic: When a magnetic field is represented by field lines, the total number of lines through a given surface is known as the magnetic flux: measured as an electrical impulse in a coil surrounding this surface on appearance or disappearance of this flux.

Unit : 1 Weber (Wb) = 1 Vs = 108 Maxwell.

Fluxmeter: Electronic integrator for measuring a magnetic flux or induction.

Force Line: Visible representation of a force field, especially a magnetic field.

Gauß: Old unit of magnetic induction, 1 Gauß = 10-4 Tesla = 10-8 Vs/cm.

Gaußmeter: Instrument for measuring magnetic induction B. Instruments for measuring magnetic field strength H (Oerstedmeters) are often referred to as Gaußmeters.

Gilbert: Old unit of magnetic tension; 1 Gilbert = 1 Oe cm = 0,796 A.

GMR-effect: Gigantic magneto resistive effect (see also XMR-effect).

H = magnetic field strength,

Unit : 1 A/m = 0,01 A/cm = 0,01256 Oe.

Halbach-system: An arrangement of magnets named after the American physicist K. Halbach which produces precise and very homogeneous multipole fields( for example a dipole field) .

Hall probe: Semiconductor probe for measuring magnetic fields (e.g. in an air gap of a magnet system). Hall-probes always are used connected to a gaußmeter.

Hard Ferrite: Term used in DIN 17410 for Oxide magnet materials.

Hard Ferrite P: Term used in DIN 17410 for plastic bonded oxide magnet materials.

Helmholtz-coil: A double coil to produce extremely homogeneous fields. The distance between the two coils is equivalent to their radius. The coil is used for measuring magnetic moments.

Hybrid-material: Plastic bonded material containing several kinds of magnetic powders to adjust certain magnetic properties by using for example Neofer and oxide-powders to reach a predicted price.

Hysteresis - loop: Representation of induction B resp. Polarization J in relation to the magnetizing field strength H.

Induction: 1.The ability of the magnetic field to surround itself with an electric field whilst it is changing.

2.The term induction is also used to mean flux density B.

Induction Constant: See field constant, magnetic.

Isotropy: Equality of physical properties in all directions.

J = magnetic polarization: Density of aligned magnetic moments in a magnetized material

Unit 1 T = 1 VS / m2

= 10-4 VS / m2.

Magnetic: Commonly used to denote all materials with noticeably high permeability (especially iron, nickel, cobalt and their alloys); all other materials (gold, brass, copper, wood, stone, etc.) are considered to be non-magnetic.

Magnetic Circuit: Total of parts and gaps through which a magnetic flux passes; in the case of a permanent magnet this consists of the magnet itself, the pole shoes, the air gap and the stray field.

Magnetic Field: Space in which mechanical forces have an effect on magnetic charges or where induction occurs.

Magnetic Field Strength H: See field strength (magnetic).

Magnetic flux: See Flux, magnetic.

Magnetization: 1) The noun arising from "magnetizing"

2) Polarization divided by the magnetic field constant M = J / m0

B = m0 (H+M) = m0 H + J.

Magnetizing: Process of aligning the molecular magnets by an external magnetic field.

Magnetism: Sum of magnetic phenomena as a part of the electromagnetic interaction(force) being one of the four fundamental forces in physics. They are characterized by magnetic field H and magnetic induction B. All the magnetic phenomena are a consequence of moving electric charges (electric currents) whereas electrostatics describes the forces between unmoved electric charges. Electrodynamics finally deals with the connection of electric and magnetic fields varying with time.

With the magnetism of matter an orientation of magnetic moments (colloquial elementary magnets)is defined by polarization J. These moments are composed of the orbital moment of electrons moving around the nucleus of the atom and the so called electron spin moment which is caused by the rotation of the electron around its own axis. If all these moments are compensated the material is called diamagnetic.

Concerning para- ferro- antiferro- and ferrimagnetic materials the sum of these moments is different from zero. They differ by the kinds of coupling of adjoining atomic moments:

In the case paramagnetic materials there is no coupling; with ferromagnetic materials adjacent atomic moments are parallel; with antiferromagnetic materials they are adjusted antiparallel. If the antiparallel adjusted atomic moments do not compensate each other completely and a resulting magnetization remains it is called ferrimagnetism.

Magnetomotive Force: Q Term for the line-integral of field strength H along any path. For the case of a closed path the magneto motive force is the sum of the electrical currents enclosed within the curve :.

Unit: 1 A = 1,256 Oe cm = 1,256 Gilbert.

Magneto resistive sensor: (MR)-sensor using the change of electric resistance in a magnet field to measure it. Because of recent developments of thin layers showing extremely high magneto resistive effects we have a renaissance of MR-sensors. ( see also XMR- effect )

Magnet Pole: Part of the surface of a magnet where the magnetization is rectangular to the surface. This part corresponds to the regions where the magnetic flux leaves the magnet.

Maxwell: Former unit of magnetic flux

1 Maxwell = 10-8 Wb = 10-8 Vs.

Melt spin process: Method of an extremely fast cooling of a melting charge being sprayed on a rotating cylinder which leads to alloys with different physical properties than

melting charges cooled down under normal conditions. This method is used to produce the basic powder of Neofer p ®.

Moment (magnetic), (dipolar moment): Product of polarization J and Volume V of a homogeneously magnetized magnet. The moment in units of Vsm corresponds to the mechanic torque in Nm of the magnet in a magnetic field perpendicular to the magnetization of 1 A/m. The moment is designated by m, better by mCoul (Coulomb's magnetic moment ) to not confuse it with mAmp ( Ampers's magnetic moment ) the formerly often used quantity.

mAmp = mCoul / m0 is the product of Magnetization M and Volume V.

Multicomponent injection moulding: Injection moulding process where two or more different materials are injected one after another for example a non-magnetic material is injected on top of a magnetic compound.

Neofer â: Permanent magnet material based on neodymium, iron and boron.

Neofer p â: Permanent magnet material based on neodymium, iron and boron with a bonding agent.

Oersted: Former unit of magnetic field strength 1 Oersted = 79,6 A/m = 0,796 A/cm =


Oerstedmeter: Instrument for measuring the magnetic field strength H (also known as Gaußmeter).

Oxide Magnet: Hard ferrite, ceramic magnet material, e.g. composed of iron oxide and barium oxide (Ba0 × 6 Fe2 03).

Paramagnetism: Magnetic property of materials with permeability m > 1. All ferromagnetic materials exhibit paramagnetism above the Curie temperature.

Permagraph: Measuring instrument for plotting the entire hysteresis loop of a magnet. It consists of an electromagnetic yoke to apply an external field measuring instruments for measuring field strength H and induction B and a calculator or a chart recorder to describe the curve.

Permeability: m = B/H; relationship between induction B and the magnetic field H. In permanent magnet technology permanent permeability is important as this gives the change in B when small changes in H take place (dp = dB/dH) especially in the proximity of the optimal working point. Unit: 1 Tm / A.

The permeability of the vacuum (magnetic field constant) is m0 = 1,256-10-6 T m / A = 1,256- 10-6 \/s / Am.

Permeance: Ratio of magnetic flux to magnetic potential difference ( in the case of an air gap surface : length)

Plastic bonded magnet material: If a magnet powder is blended with plastic material it is possible to apply methods of plastic industry (injection moulding, rolling etc.) to produce magnets of very complex shapes. The advantages: cheap manufacturing processes, small tolerances and many kinds of shapes must be compared with the disadvantages:

expensive tools and lower magnetic properties.

Polarization J: Grade of magnetic orientation in a magnetic material (magnetization multiplied by field constant).

It is J =

m0 M =

B - m0 H.

Potential, magnetic: Physical quantity of which the gradient gives the magnetic field H. Only a potential difference can be measured (magnetic tension between two points) as an

integral of the field strength over any path between these two points, provided this path does not enclose an current-carrying conductor.

Prac Ò: Pressed magnet composed of AlNiCo powder and bonding agent.

Preferred Direction: Direction in a permanent magnet in which magnetic properties are at a maximum. This direction is determined by the manufacturing process.

Pressed Magnet: A magnet manufactured by a pressing process from powdered magnet material and a bonding agent.

Prox Ò: Pressed magnet composed of oxide powder and a bonding agent.

Quality: (see also (BH)max –value)

Rare earth magnet materials: The rare earth metals Nd and Sm are applied to different alloys for manufacturing permanent magnets with very high magnetic properties. The nowadays commercially exploited materials Seco and Neofer are based on the compositions SmCo5, Sm2(FeCo)17 and Nd2Fe14B.

Radial magnetization: Magnetizing a ring magnet between two coils carrying currents of opposite directions leads to a radial magnetization. One pole is on the inner circumference of the magnet the other pole on the outer circumference.

Reed switch: Magnetomechanic switch where two metal reeds in a inert gas get into contact by applying a magnetic field actuating the switch. The unit of the sensitivity of the switch is ampere windings.

Remanence BR: Residual induction in a solid which has been subjected to a magnetizing field (true remanence in the case of a closed magnetic circuit, apparent remanence in the case of an open magnetic circuit).

Residual magnetism: Because of the manufacturing process delivered magnets show more or less a residual magnetism. This can only be reduced by a demagnetization process.

Saturation: Better termed saturation polarization

Saturation Polarization: Highest practically achievable magnetic polarization of a material when exposed to a sufficient strong magnetic field

Seco Ò: A magnet material composed of an alloy of rare earths and cobalt.

Seco P Ò: A magnet material composed of a rare earth cobalt alloy and a plastic bonding agent

Sintered Magnet: A permanent magnet pressed from a mixture of metallic or ceramic powders and solidified by heating below the melting point (burning).

SI-units: Physical units according to the System International (SI) which is based on the units kilogram, meter second and ampere. All other units are a product, a quotient or a power of these four basic units. The traditional cgs-units resp. the Gauß-units in magnetism are still in use but have to be adapted by law. The following table shows some magnetic units and their conversion.







Flux Density



T = Vs/m2



1 T

= 104 G

Field Strength







= 0,012566 Oe







1 A/m

= 0,012566 Oe




T = Vs/m2



1 T

= 104 G

Magnetic Moment




= G cm3

1 Vsm

= 1010 emu


Magnetic Flux



= Vs Maxwell = G cm2

1 Weber = 108


Energy Density





1 J/m3

= 125,66 GOe


kJ/m3 = 0,12566 MGOe




Vs / Am



1 Vs/Am = 7,958 105 G/Oe

Magnetic Potential



= Oe cm

1 A

= 1,2566 Oe cm

Sprac: Permanent magnet material based on samarium and cobalt with a bonding agent.

Sprox: A magnet manufactured from oxide powder and bonding agent. This material may be injection moulded, extruded or rolled.

Stabilisation: Treatment of a magnet which renders it immune to external influences and ageing.

Stray Factor: Ratio of the effective flux through air gap and the total flux of a magnet.

Stray Flux (Leakage flux): Part of the magnetic flux which does not pass through the air gap.

Supraconductor: Conductors without any resistance at very low temperatures. In this way it is possible to construct closed coils generating a durable magnetic field like a permanent magnet without any power supply.

Susceptibility (magnetic) Xr: Change of magnetization M= J/m0 resulting from change of an external

field H Xr=dM/dH.

Temperature coefficient: Gives the dependence of a physical quantity on temperature. In the case of magnet materials there are temperature coefficients of the remanence and the coercivity. The relative coefficients are in units %/K.

Temperature, (operational): The operational temperature of any magnetic material is limited especially because there is more or less an irreversible loss of magnization above the maximum operational temperature depending on the magnetic working point.

Temperature Compensation: Reduction or elimination of temperature dependence of apparent remanence; this occurs mainly by means of a temperature - dependent magnetic shunt.

Tension, magnetic: Difference of the potential of the magnetic field force H between two points.

It is .

Unit: 1A(=1.256 Oe cm).

Tesla: Unit of magnetic induction 1 Tesla = 10-4 Vs/cm (= 104 Gauss).

Tolerances, magnetic: According to DIN 17410 the magnetic materials are characterized by minimum values. Although there are no upper limits defined most of the materials show up to 114% of minimum rmanence and up to 125% of minimum energy product. If smaller tolerances of the magnetic properties are requested a balance during magnetization is recommended.

Weber: Unit of magnetic flux. 1 Weber (Mb) = 1 Vs (= 108 Maxwell).

Working Capacity: The maximum amount of magnetic energy per cm3 of a magnet volume which can be converted into mechanical force (work).

Working Line: Straight line connecting the working point on the demagnetizing curve with the origin of co-ordinates.

Working point: Point in the 2nd quadrant of the hysteresis curve representing the value of induction B and inner field strength H under working conditions.

The optimal working point of a permanent magnet is usually close to the point of the maximum product B · H so that working capacity approaches (B·H)max.

XMR-effect: Summary of AMR, GMR and CMR effect. These are huge changes of electric resistance within thin layers of different materials exposed to a magnet field and are utilised in sensors which serve for measuring amount and direction of magnetic fields. During the series of their discovery the effects getting stronger and stronger were called magneto resistive effect, AMR effect, GMR effect and CMR effect.