Magnets, with the right maintenance and care, can last indefinitely. For information on how to look after your magnet, here are a few tips:
Storing a magnet correctly is one of the most important ways in which you can give your magnet a long life. All magnets can be stored together in one place, however, in order to do this without damaging your magnets, you will need to do the following:
Use a keeper
The best way to prevent any loss in a magnet’s magnetic ability is to store it with a keeper. A keeper is a piece of iron that is temporarily added between the north and south poles of a magnet to prevent it from demagnetising by redirecting the magnetic field.
If a keeper is not provided with your magnet, then store your magnets on a steel sheet.
Store in pairs
Store magnets in pairs to prevent the two south or two north magnetic poles of the magnets from touching.Two poles of the same alignment should not be allowed to touch due to their magnetic field lines repelling. If the two poles continuously repel from one another, the magnet’s strength is weakened.
Store in a dry place
Magnets can corrode easily when stored in damp conditions. This can affect the magnets’ magnetism, particularly if they rust, as this will produce an air gap which stops the magnets from producing a secure bond on a ferromagnetic material.
When flexible magnets become wet, the water can cause the laminate to bubble. To stop this from happening, a flexible magnet, particularly if it’s is being used as a car sign, needs to be cleaned and dried regularly.
Store in a non-ferromagnetic container
To store multiple magnets in one place you will need to place them into a non-ferromagnetic container, for example a sealed wooden box or tupperware. The non-ferromagnetic container helps to stop the magnet from attracting any unwanted metal debris.
Keeping the magnet’s strength
A magnet’s strength can be weakened by factors such as high temperatures and storing next to high voltage electricity. When the magnet is exposed to factors such as these for a long time, it can become demagnetised.
In most cases, except for exposure to high temperatures, a magnet’s strength can be reinstated through the use of another strong magnet.
High temperatures cause the atomic structure of the metals used to create magnets, to reach a state where their chemical and physical properties are no longer the same, so the strength cannot be restored.
Protecting the magnet
Magnets can have either a coating or casing to protect them from any bumps or corrosion. One form of coating for a magnet – rubber, can be replaced when it becomes torn or cracked, for example, after being left exposed to the elements whilst being used as a car magnet.
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