Flexible magnets and magnetic materials are used in a variety of modern-day applications. While you may already know some of these applications, chances are others will surprise you. If you’re still scratching your head wondering what exactly flexible magnets are used for, keep reading and we’ll unravel the mystery behind this versatile material.
What Are Flexible Magnets Made of?
Before we go into the common uses for flexible magnets, let’s first talk about what they are made of. There are a number of naturally occurring minerals which exhibit magnetic characteristics, such as magnetite, lodestone, cobalt, nickel, gadolinium and dysprosium. The problem with these minerals, as you may have guessed, is that they hard as a rock (pun intended). So, in order for a company to produce a flexible magnet, a combination of minerals and plastic binders are used.
While the exact method of production varies depending on the respective manufacturing company’s preferences, the most common technique involves the combination of a high-coercivity ferromagnetic compound, such as ferric oxide, with a plastic binding agent. The material is compressed using powerful extruder machines, at which point it’s passed over a line of permanent magnets. Next, the magnets are arranged with the appropriate alternating magnetic poles facing upwards (e.g. north, south, north, south, etc.). It’s important to note that electromagnetism is typically not used when producing magnetic material, as the pressing of magnets on the material provides it with magnetic power.
Flexible magnets live up to their namesake by bending in various directions without breaking or suffering damage. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities regarding its application. The only downside to using flexible magnets is that they aren’t quite as strong as their non-flexible counterpart. Don’t let this fool you into thinking there’s no place for flexible magnetic material in the manufacturing industry, however. The unique characteristics of this material give it unique characteristics that aren’t found elsewhere.
How Flexible Magnets Are Used
See below for a short list of the many ways in which flexible magnets and magnetic material are used:
- Kids’ toys (see image above)
- Refrigerator magnets
- Business cards
- Advertising signs and promotional material
- Automotive components
- Arts and crafts
- Cabinet closures
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