Magnet Handling and Storage: Best Practices

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Each of the wide variety of magnetic materials available requires specific storage and handling procedures for both the safety of the user and integrity of the magnet.

Why handling and storage conditions are important

Improperly handled and stored magnets present risks:

  • Risk of bodily harm or injury
  • Risk of damage to the magnet
  • Risk of losing the magnet
  • Risk of loss of magnetization

An inexperienced technician may be surprised at the sudden speed and force by which a magnet is attracted to another material — pinching skin or flying through the air faster than a human can react. It is imperative to take precautions when handling magnets.

While a technician’s personal safety is of primary importance when considering the proper handling and storage of a magnet, care must be taken to protect the magnet as well. The same force that can cause injury to a person can also chip, crack, or break a magnet.

If a magnet is handled properly but stored in the wrong environment, the magnet may lose magnetization, which could greatly affect its intended use.

At Dura Magnetics, we take expert care in handling, packing, and storing magnets to preserve their performance qualities and avoid harm.

Safety precautions

To safeguard against physical injury when handling magnets, best practices indicate that you wear protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses

Additionally, all magnets should be kept away from explosive gas, extreme temperatures, radiation or radioactive materials, saltwater, magnetically stored data, and pacemakers or other health devices.

Magnet storage considerations according to type

Different magnet types require different storage considerations, depending on their susceptibility to temperature changes and other conditions.

Alnico

Temperature is less of a concern for Alnico magnets than humidity. Take care to keep them dry. Alnico magnets run the risk of “jumping” toward each other, risking chips; keep them away from each other while handling and storing to reduce this risk.

Ceramic

Ceramic magnets require similar storage accommodations as Alnico magnets. Be sure to protect them from cold temperatures, as they are prone to cracking.

Neodymium

Neodymium magnets, while quite strong, can also be brittle — leading to the risk of flying chips if magnets collide rapidly or unexpectedly. Spacers can protect the magnets by reducing force between them.

Due to their strength, unprotected neodymium magnets may attract ferrous particles from their surroundings; therefore, they should be kept in closed containers. They should also be stored far from magnetic media or sensitive electronics, as they may damage or demagnetize those items.

As neodymium magnets are very susceptible to moisture, it is important to store them in a low-humidity, low-moisture environment, near room temperature.

Samarium Cobalt

Samarium cobalt magnets, like neodymium magnets, are strong but brittle. They require low humidity environments near room temperature to reduce the risk of corrosion.

Cobalt magnets should be stored in their original wrapping with sufficient distance between magnets to protect them from “jumping” toward one another. Using spacers can reduce the force between magnets.

Note that magnets made of differing alloys (such as cobalt and neodymium) should be separated from each to reduce the risk of demagnetization.

Space

Magnets require sufficient storage space to account for the strength of the magnetic field between magnets and between the magnet and other material. Insufficient shelf clearance can cause the magnets to shift or jump during access and removal.

We can help

Dura Magnetics’ trained personnel are experts at the proper handling of magnetic materials. Combined with our long-term storage capabilities, we are the perfect choice for your magnetic needs, from precision and custom fabrication to testing and storage. We stock magnets in a variety of materials, sizes, and shapes. Contact us to request a quote, and let us help you customize the perfect magnetic solution for your project needs.


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