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Uses for rare earth magnets

Besides being used in electrical motor manufacturing, rare earth magnets are key components for medical science, renewable energy and technology. Jewellers also use magnets of different shapes and sizes to complete their products.

Did you know that rare earth magnets are also used in the following?

Magnetically coupled pumps

These pumps have a motor driven shaft with an attached ring of powerful magnets, as well as another shaft connected to the impeller with a smaller ring of magnets. As the motor turns the drive shaft and one set of magnets, the magnetic field generated turns the other set of magnets, thereby empowering the impeller.  The advantage of these pumps is that the motors can never burn out, as the impeller is connected to the driving magnets and shaft only by magnetism. Secondly, it is possible to separate the motor from the impeller, which is usually in a hermetically sealed case, and this protects the motor unit from damage by liquid such as pond water.

Magnets in electric motors and generators

Combining an electromagnet and a permanent magnet, electrical energy can be converted into mechanical energy. This drives electric motors. For generators, mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy as a conductor moves through a magnetic field.

Magnets in audio equipment, such as microphones, headphones and loudspeakers

Magnets are used in speakers alongside a current-carrying coil that converts electricity into mechanical energy. This moves the speaker cone to create sound. Microphones work in reverse. As the coil moves through the magnetic field of a magnet, an electrical signal is produced that is very much like the original sound.

Magnets in door catches

Rare earth magnets create the ideal magnetic door catches for commercial and residential buildings. Magnets recessed into the surface of a door attract another wall mounted magnet or steel disk. These magnets can hold the weight of a door and the leverage provided by the door makes it easy to separate the magnets.

Magnetic bearings

Magnetic bearings use the concept of magnetic levitation to support moving parts without physical contact. They enable motion with little friction and no mechanical wear. Passive magnetic bearings use rare earth magnets, while active magnetic bearings use electromagnets.

Magnets for print finishing

Print finishing houses may insert small magnets under a layer of card, paper or plastic as a hidden closure for files, brochures, boxes, menus and packaging. While a pair of magnets is often used, a magnet and a steel plate can achieve the same outcome.