Neodymium Magnet Safety and Handling Considerations

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Customers in a wide variety of industries choose neodymium because of its incredible strength, even at small sizes. Its superior strength to size ratio is what makes this rare earth magnet material appealing for a variety of applications, from mobile phones to MRI scanners.

The flip side of this strength is brittleness, which can cause dangerous, even deadly situations. It’s critical that anyone handling or transporting neodymium magnets understands the safety considerations necessary due to the unique characteristics of this magnet type.

Workers manufacturing industrial magnet parts

Neodymium magnet safety considerations

Magnetization

Neodymium contains an incredibly strong magnetic field, so it can be dangerous if it comes into close contact with certain objects. A neodymium magnet can disrupt many kinds of electronic equipment, with a range of repercussions.

Do not get it close to people with a pacemaker or other implanted device, as the magnetic field could interfere with the device, causing serious effects on health and safety.

When storing, keep neodymium magnets away from items such as hard drives, disks, and videotapes. Neodymium magnets can also interfere with navigational devices, including compasses. The effects of strong magnetic fields on navigation is one reason these magnets are typically transported via ground.

Jumping

Neodymium magnets are strongly attractive, even from several inches away. The force is powerful enough to pinch skin and cause bodily injury. Depending on the size of the magnet, it could break a finger.

If swallowed accidentally, these magnets have attracted across the membrane of intestines and other organs, causing severe damage and even death.

Wear gloves to protect against pinching hazards, and use spacers (plastic, wood, or cardboard) when separating magnets for storage and shipping. Keep magnets away from children.

Breakage

Wear eye protection to avoid damage to the eyes. There is a high risk of breakage due to the brittle nature of neodymium. When two magnets are drawn quickly together, the force can chip or shatter the magnet. These flying shards and fragments then pose a danger to handlers and bystanders.

Flammability

The dust or powder from a neodymium magnet is highly flammable. Avoid mechanically damaging the magnet, such as by drilling or grinding, in poorly ventilated areas. The resulting dust may easily combust.

Corrosion

Uncoated Neodymium magnets are subject to corrosion in humid environments, which will reduce the strength of the magnet. Some common coatings that prevent against corrosion include nickel/copper/nickel, epoxy and parylene. 

Proper storage of neodymium magnets

Neodymium magnets will lose strength if exposed to high temperatures. Storage should be in a humidity-controlled, temperature-controlled environment. Do not use or store neodymium magnets near a heat source.

If exposed to the air, the magnets will attract any ferrous particles in the air and on surrounding surfaces. To avoid this, maintain the magnets in their original Dura wrapping.

Neodymium magnets should be stored in closed, clean containers, away from sensitive electronics and magnetized media such as magnetic tapes or cathode ray tubes (CRT). When magnets of two different alloys are stored nearby (such as neodymium and ceramic), there is a risk of demagnetization. Be sure to maintain a buffer between different types of magnet materials.

Store magnets separately, using keepers or spacers. If magnets become locked together, slide them, do not pry them apart.

Common packing and handling techniques for neodymium magnets

At Dura, we package neodymium magnets with care, using appropriate techniques for magnet size. Small magnets are placed in attracting rows and when supplied unplated wrapped with corrosion inhibiting paper, then arranged in layers of wrapped bricks. This prevents jumping and corrosion.

Larger magnets are arranged in attracting rows using spacers or hard plastic. Larger magnets, magnet assemblies, and arrays are crated.

Note that air shipping often is not an option for neodymium magnets because of their outsized magnetic strength and possible effects on air navigation equipment. For this reason, neodymium magnets are typically shipped ground using FedEx, UPS, or LTL carriers. Dura Magnetics can ship magnets via air, but there is an additional cost for the labor, packaging, and paperwork required to do so safely. (Refer or link to our Shipping Magnets Via Air Blog)

The Perfect Partner

The experts at Dura Magnetics combine knowledge with experience to provide you with top-quality rare-earth magnets in custom sizes and quantities. We are happy to provide you with the best service and impeccable quality for your next project. Contact the team at Dura to learn more or request a quote.


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