What is the Curie Temperature of Magnets
The Curie temperature is a temperature threshold, which when met or exceeded results in the deactivation of a magnet’s magnetic capabilities. That is, you will simply demagnetize the magnet.
This concept was introduced in 1895 by Pierre Curie hence the name Curie point.
The Importance of Observing a Magnet’s Curie Temperature
Utilizing your permanent magnet in scenarios with extreme heat can cause perpetual damage. However, observing its curie temperature and other recommended use conditions can bring you multiple rewards including:
- Retention of optimum magnetic powers and capabilities.
- Prevention of irreversible effects like permanent demagnetization.
- Your magnet will serve you well and longer.
- Reduced need for re-magnetization, which can be quite costly.
- You will avert overheating, which can cause irreversible damage to your magnet.
- Your magnet will deliver consistent and steady magnetic forces.
- Exceeding your magnet’s curie point poses a safety hazard to you. Observing it thereby keeps you and your magnet safe.
Temperature impacts different materials differently and this is no different with magnetic materials. Your magnet is likely to behave differently at different temperature points and this behavior is primarily determined by its construction material.
· Neodymium Magnets
NdFeB magnets, despite demonstrating some of the most impressive magnetic properties have one of the lowest curie points at roughly 310-400 ℃. This is primarily due to the structure of the materials they are made from, boron, neodymium, and iron. Your neodymium magnet is likely to exhibit poorer magnetic capabilities at temperatures surpassing 80 ℃.
· Alnico Magnets
Alnico magnets have been the favored magnetic option when it comes to applications dealing with extremely hot environments. This is mainly due to their comparatively higher curie temperature at approximately 800°C. However, the difference in magnet grade results in distinct Curie points.
|Alnico Magnet Grade
· SmCo Magnets
One of the most revered advantages of SmCo magnets is their impressively high curie point and robust magnetic power. They are manufactured from elements with a high thermal stability namely samarium and cobalt. This sees them record a curie temperature of approximately 700-800 °C.
· Ferrite Magnets
Ferrite magnets are generally hard hit by extreme temperatures hence they are often utilized in low-moderate temperature applications. Heat above 450 °C is likely to completely shut down your ferrite magnet since this is its curie point.
Electromagnets are activated once electric current is passed through hence, they are hardly impacted by curie temperature. However, this does not mean they are immune to extreme temperatures. Exposing your electromagnet to unusually high temperatures can melt your coil wire resulting in a failed magnet.
The underlying table summarizes and compares the distinct curie temperatures of distinct magnet types.
|Curie Temperature (°C)
Comparing Curie Temperature to Maximum Operating Temperature
The curie temperature and the maximum operating temperature are two temperature aspects that explain the interaction of magnetic materials with heat. However, you should not mistake the two for a single aspect.
Maximum Operating temperature
The maximum operating temperature looks at the temperature threshold that you can subject your magnet to before it starts losing its magnetic properties. Owing to differences in composition and type of material, different magnets exhibit distinct MOTs.
The following table summarizes the key distinctions that will help you tell apart a magnet’s curie temperature and its maximum operating temperature.
|Maximum Operating Temperature
|Point in which your magnet suffers permanent demagnetization.
|The highest point in which your magnet can retain its magnetism.
|Once you exceed your magnet’s curie temperature, it loses all magnetic strength.
|Once you exceed your magnet’s maximum operating temperature, its magnetic strength depreciates but it is still functional.
|In all magnets, the curie temperature range is higher than the maximum operating temperature.
|In all magnets, the maximum operating temperature is comparatively lower than the curie temperature.
|The effects of exceeding the curie point are permanent and irreversible.
|The effects of exceeding the maximum operating temperature can be reversed by lowering the temperature.
|This point helps determine the magnetic features of a material.
|This point helps you determine the ideal operating temperature threshold of your magnet.
Understanding the respective Curie point of your magnet is essential for you to optimize its performance and prolong its service life. Subjecting your magnet to temperatures beyond this temperature threshold comes with multiple consequences, namely;
· Thermal Agitation
Exposing your magnet to temperatures higher than the prescribed threshold provokes atomic vibrations within the magnet. As you approach the magnet’s Curie temperature, these vibrations become stronger and more vigorous leading to domain misalignment. This ultimately halts magnetic domain and moment alignment resulting in demagnetization.
· Reduced Magnetic Strength
Once you subject your permanent magnet to temperatures higher than its prescribed Curie point, expect to witness relatively weaker magnetic forces. This is mainly a consequence of randomly aligned magnetic domains. However, if you ensure that your magnet is deployed in favorable temperature conditions, expect to benefit from its optimal magnetic forces.
· Domain Disorientation
The core functionality of your magnet is dependent on the level of alignment between its respective domains. Extreme heat exceeding your magnet’s curie point disrupts these alignments thereby interfering with your magnet’s functionality. Extreme disorientation can completely deactivate your magnet.
· Activation of the Paramagnetic State
The reason behind your magnet’s optimal performance is the state it exists in. That is a ferromagnetic state. This means that its domains and moments are perfectly and orderly positioned. However, subjecting it to the uttermost heat deactivates the ferromagnetic state while activating a paramagnetic state.
· Loss of Magnetism
Ultimately, exceeding your magnet’s prescribed curie threshold leaves you with a useless material stripped of its magnetic powers. This phenomenon is brought about by the widespread disorientation of your magnet’s domains. This disrupts the net magnetic moment of your magnet.
To determine your magnet’s curie temperature, you need to apply the curie law. This simple law dictates that the magnetic susceptibility of your magnet is heavily reliant on the operating temperature and a constant.
When translated into layman’s language, the Curie law connotes that heating a magnet results in demagnetization proportional to the applied heat. To establish your magnet’s Curie point, follow the underlying formula:
Where Tc is the curie temperature,
C is the curie constant
X is the magnetic susceptibility and
T is the temperature.
You can find the curie constant and magnetic susceptibility values of your respective magnet on its packaging or user manual. However, most modern magnets have their respective curie temperature specified on their packaging.
Curie temperature, which is one feature of magnets plays an enormous role in determining your possible use scenarios. This specific property is dependent on certain factors whose variation can either increase or decrease the Curie point.
· Construction Material
The type of material present in your magnet essentially determines how high or low its curie temperature will be. Materials with comparatively higher thermal stability like samarium cobalt are likely to give your magnet a comparatively higher curie point.
Doping involves the injection of carefully selected atoms into a magnetic material during manufacturing. If your magnet is subjected to doping, its curie temperature can be adjusted according to your specifications, depending on your application’s demands.
· Magnetic Structure
How the atoms in your magnet are arranged and aligned also impacts the curie temperature. This explains the difference in Curie points among the same types of magnets. In most cases, magnets with crystalline symmetry exhibit relatively higher curie points due to the elevated resistance to heat.
· Particle Size
The size of atomic particles in your magnet also plays a pivotal role in determining your magnet’s curie temperature. Small-sized particles translate into more pronounced surface areas hence higher curie points. Comparatively bigger particles, on the contrary, offer lower curie points.
· External Magnetic Fields
Foreign magnetic fields, especially relatively stronger ones disrupt the domain alignment in your magnet significantly. This disruption messes with the atomic structure of your magnet resulting in an altered curie temperature. The effect of foreign magnetic fields on your magnet’s curie temperature can be positive or negative.
Exerting pressure on your magnet is likely to upset the atomic structure and interatomic distance. This ultimately impacts the magnetic interactions of your ferromagnetic material consequently upsetting its curie point.
The injection of foreign elements during manufacturing, whether intentional or accidental can also boost or mess up your magnet’s curie temperature. If your magnet has a high impurity content, this is likely to lower its magnetic properties hence it will exhibit a lower curie point.