“The force is strong in this one,” Darth Vader on one occasion quipped. Was the masked one talking about the Jedi power or was he in fact referring indirectly to magnetic power? In either case, Jedi and magnets both have a formidable pull - however, only one can actually work in the real world: magnets. Particularly, rare earth magnets, which happen to be utilised in various functions and commonly found in a range of products. Here are the top four things you should understand about this fascinating magnet.

A rare earth magnet is actually a strong permanent magnet made up of alloys and also rare earth metals, which include neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, and 13 other elemental materials. These elements were reportedly discovered in the 1800s however, it wasn’t until the later part of the 1960s when the rare earth magnet was developed in a United States Air Force laboratory where samarium and cobalt produced the greatest magnetic anisotropy. In other words, the magnetic power was so powerful that a magnetised object could possibly resist being drawn in another direction. The effect is kind of like Angelina Jolie “magnetising” Brad Pitt away from his marital relationship to Jennifer Anniston.

Two of the most widely used rare earths are neodymium magnets and samarium-cobalt magnets. Neodymium is regarded as the most powerful and also more cost-effective type. It is used for electric motors for cordless tools, jewellery clasps, hard disk drives, and many others. Meanwhile, samarium-cobalt is reckoned to be on the expensive side and is commonly used by industrial manufacturers.

Clean tech developers and some car makers are reportedly planning to replace the permanent magnet they make use of. Both GM and Toyota, based on a Reuters report, are attempting to minimise their utilisation and necessity for rare earths. Toyota has in fact discovered a way to make electric cars without rare earths and Renault SA has produced electric motors that don't require permanent magnets. Nonetheless, GM representatives point out that the permanent magnet continues to be the best magnet to use.

Various interesting applications for the rare earth magnet include roller coaster technology, electric guitar pick-ups, stop motion animation, neodymium magnet toys, diamagnetic levitation experimentation, self-powered lights, and more.

Seeing as significant and also valuable a rare earth magnet is to particular sectors, it is extremely hazardous as well. It needs to be treated with proper care simply because when these magnets come together, they splinter and then break into pieces at high speed. Moreover, they press incredibly once they get into contact against the skin. Still, the world needs them. And wherever you might be, regardless of what you’re doing-riding the roller coaster or rocking an electric guitar-a rare earth magnet helps pull things along successfully.

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