Glossary of Magnetic Terms
Here are some magnetic terms that you may hear and want to understand the meaning of.
A low permeability gap in the flux path of a magnetic circuit. Often air, but inclusive of other materials such as paint, aluminum, etc.
A magnet having a preferred direction of magnetic orientation, so that the magnetic characteristics are optimum in one preferred direction.
This exists when the flux path external to a permanent magnet is confined within high permeability materials that compose the magnet circuit.
Coercive Force, Hc
The demagnetizing force, measured in Oersteds, necessary to reduce observed induction, B, to zero after the magnet has previously been brought to saturation.
Curie Temperature, Tc
The temperature at which the parallel alignment of elementary magnetic moments completely disappears, and the material is no longer able to hold magnetization.
The second quadrant of the hysteresis loop, generally describing the behavior of magnetic characteristics in actual use. Also known as the B-H Curve.
Circulating electrical currents that are induced in electrically conductive elements when exposed to changing magnetic fields, creating an opposing force to the magnetic flux. Eddy currents can be harnessed to perform useful work (such as damping of movement), or may be unwanted consequences of certain designs, which should be accounted for or minimized.
A magnet, consisting of a solenoid with an iron core, which has a magnetic field existing only during the time of current flow through the coil.
Indicates the energy that a magnetic material can supply to an external magnetic circuit when operating at any point on its demagnetization curve. Calculated as Bd x Hd, and measured in Mega Gauss Oersteds, MGOe.
A material whose permeability is very much larger than 1 (from 60 to several thousand times 1), and which exhibits hysteresis phenomena.
The condition existing in a medium subjected to a magnetizing force. This quantity is characterized by the fact that an electromotive force is induced in a conductor surrounding the flux at any time the flux changes in magnitude. The cgs unit of flux is the Maxwell.
An instrument that measures the change of flux linkage with a search coil.
Leakage flux particularly associated with edge effects in a magnetic circuit.
Lines of magnetic flux per square centimeter, cgs unit of flux density, equivalent to lines per square inch in the English system, and Webers per square meter or Tesla in the SI system.
An instrument that measures the instantaneous value of magnetic induction, B. Its principle of operation is usually based on one of the following: the Hall effect, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), or the rotating coil principle.
A closed curve obtained for a material by plotting corresponding values of magnetic induction, B, (on the abscissa) against magnetizing force, H, (on the ordinate).
The magnetic flux per unit area of a section normal to the direction of flux. Measured in Gauss, in the cgs system of units.
Intrinsic Coercive Force, Hci
Measured in Oersteds in the cgs system, this is a measure of the material's inherent ability to resist demagnetization. It is the demagnetization force corresponding to zero intrinsic induction in the magnetic material after saturation. Practical consequences of high Hci values are seen in greater temperature stability for a given class of material, and greater stability in dynamic operating conditions.
Intrinsic Induction, Bi
The contribution of the magnetic material to the total magnetic induction, B. It is the vector difference between the magnetic induction in the material and the magnetic induction that would exist in a vacuum under the same field strength, H. This relationship is expressed as: BI = B-H.
Defined as the partial demagnetization of a magnet caused by external fields or other factors. These losses are only recoverable by re-magnetization. Magnets can be stabilized to prevent the variation of performance caused by irreversible losses.
A magnet material whose magnetic properties are the same in any direction, and which can therefore be magnetized in any direction without loss of magnetic characteristics.
A piece of soft iron that is placed on or between the poles of a magnet, decreasing the reluctance of the air gap and thereby reducing the flux leakage from the magnet.
Knee of the Demagnetization Curve
The point at which the B-H curve ceases to be linear. All magnet materials, even if their second quadrant curves are straight line at room temperature, develop a knee at some temperature. Alnico 5 exhibits a knee at room temperature. If the operating point of a magnet falls below the knee, small changes in H produce large changes in B, and the magnet will not be able to recover its original flux output without re-magnetization.
That portion of the magnetic flux that is lost through leakage in the magnetic circuit due to saturation or air-gaps, and is therefore unable to be used.
Length of air-gap, Lg
The length of the path of the central flux line in the air-gap.
A line drawn from the origin of the Demagnetization Curve with a slope of -B/H, the intersection of which with the B-H curve represents the operating point of the magnet. Also see Permeance Coefficient.
An assembly consisting of some or all of the following: permanent magnets, ferromagnetic conduction elements, air gaps, electrical currents.
The total magnetic induction over a given area. When the magnetic induction, B, is uniformly distributed over an area A, Magnetic Flux = BA.
Magnetizing Force, H
The magnetomotive force per unit length at any point in a magnetic circuit. Measured in Oersteds in the cgs system.
Magnetomotive Force, F
Analogous to voltage in electrical circuits, this is the magnetic potential difference between any two points.
Maximum Energy Product, BHmax
The point on the Demagnetization Curve where the product of B and H is a maximum and the required volume of magnet material required to project a given energy into its surroundings is a minimum. Measured in Mega Gauss Oersteds, MGOe.
That pole of a magnet which, when freely suspended, would point to the north magnetic pole of the earth. The definition of polarity can be a confusing issue, and it is often best to clarify by using "north seeking pole" instead of "north pole" in specifications.
A cgs unit of measure used to describe magnetizing force. The English system equivalent is Ampere Turns per Inch, and the SI system's is Ampere Turns per Meter.
The direction in which an anisotropic magnet should be magnetized in order to achieve optimum magnetic properties. Also known as the "axis", "easy axis", or "angle of inclination".
A material having a permeability slightly greater than 1.
The inverse of reluctance, analogous to conductance in electrical circuits.
Ratio of the magnetic induction, BD, to its self demagnetizing force, HD PC = BD / HD This is also known as the "load line", "slope of the operating line", or operating point of the magnet, and is useful in estimating the flux output of the magnet in various conditions. As a first order approximation, BD / HD = Lm/Lg, where Lm is the length of the magnet, and Lg is the length of an air gap that the magnet is subjected to. PC is therefore a function of the geometry of the magnetic circuit.
Ferromagnetic materials placed on magnetic poles used to shape and alter the effect of lines of flux.
The ratio of permeability of a medium to that of a vacuum. In the cgs system, the permeability is equal to 1 in a vacuum by definition. The permeability of air is also for all practical purposes equal to 1 in the cgs system.
Analogous to resistance in an electrical circuit, reluctance is related to the magnetomotive force, F, and the magnetic flux by the equation R = F/(Magnetic Flux), paralleling Ohm's Law where F is the magnetomotive force (in cgs units).
The magnetic induction that remains in a magnetic circuit after the removal of an applied magnetizing force. If there is an air gap in the circuit, the remanence will be less than the residual induction, Br.
Residual Induction, Br:
This is the point at which the hysteresis loop crosses the B axis at zero magnetizing force, and represents the maximum flux output from the given magnet material. By definition, this point occurs at zero air gap, and therefore cannot be seen in practical use of magnet materials
Conduction elements in a magnetic circuit which provide a low reluctance path for the magnetic flux.
Reversible Temperature Coefficient
A measure of the reversible changes in flux caused by temperature variations.
The condition under which all elementary magnetic moments have become oriented in one direction. A ferromagnetic material is saturated when an increase in the applied magnetizing force produces no increase in induction. Saturation flux densities for steels are in the range of 16,000 to 20,000 Gauss.
A coil conductor, usually of known area and number of turns that is used with a fluxmeter to measure the change of flux linkage with the coil.
Exposure of a magnet to demagnetizing influences expected to be encountered in use in order to prevent irreversible losses during actual operation. Demagnetizing influences can be caused by high or low temperatures, or by external magnetic fields.
A factor, which describes the change in a magnetic property with change in temperature. Expressed as percent change per unit of temperature.
The practical unit of magnetic flux. It is the amount of magnetic flux which, when linked at a uniform rate with a single-turn electric circuit during an interval of 1 second, will induce in this circuit an electromotive force of 1 volt.