Magnetic Permeability

Magnetic Permeability

The efficient application of magnetic permeability is difficult. Its significance and variations remain confusing to many.

In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about magnetic permeability.

But first, let’s start with the basics:

Magnetic permeability describes the extent to which your material either lets magnet flux pass through it or prevents it. Calculate it in Henry per meter (H/m). Higher values mean better magnetic conductivity.

Magnetic permeability is essential because it indicates how materials react to a magnetic field. A greater degree of permeability results in improved magnetic characteristics.

Types of Magnetic Permeability

The key types of the magnetic permeability are as follows:

· Permeability of Free Space

This indicates how permeable a vacuum is to the passage of a magnetic field. In an open space, the value is kept constant at around 4π x10-7 H/m. Understand it as the standard for comparing other materials.

· Permeability of Medium

Now, look at other materials than vacuum – how well do they permit magnetic fields? The permeability characteristic of mediums (such as iron or air) is its modification of the magnetic field. It plays an important role in developing magnetic circuits and devices.

· Relative Permeability

Comparison of material permeability from that in free space is done through relative permeability. A dimensionless quantity provides information about the degree to which a material improves or makes worse magnetic flux. For instance, the relative permeability of iron is high; hence, magnetic effects are magnified.

Sr. No. Property Symbol SI Unit Relative Value
1 Permeability of Medium μ Henry per meter (H/m) or Newton per ampere squared (N/A²) Varies depending on the material.
2 Permeability of Free Space μ₀ 4π × 10⁻⁷ H/m 1
3 Relative Permeability μᵣ Dimensionless μᵣ = μ/μ₀

Magnetic Permeability Classification


These materials are impervious to the actions of magnetic fields. They exhibit minimal magnetic response. Some of them include wood, plastic and rubber.


Diamagnetic materials repel magnetic fields. These materials have low, negative susceptibility. The most common diamagnetic materials are copper, bismuth, and graphite.


Such materials weakly attract magnetic fields. These materials have a positive magnetic susceptibility. These include aluminum, platinum, and manganese.


Ferromagnetic materials depict higher retention and attraction of magnetization. The permeability of such materials is higher. These materials are highly absorbent. Iron, nickel, and cobalt are classic ferromagnetic materials.

Applications of Magnetic Permeability


Boost power in your devices. Magnetic permeability provides better and more effective electromagnets. Hence improving efficiency in speakers, MRI machines as well as magnetic locks.


The permeability of magnetism in transformer cores improves magnetic fields. This way enhances efficiency from the level of power distribution, beginning with electrical grids right down to electronic devices.

Inductors and Chokes
Inductors and Chokes

Magnetic permeability allows inductors and chokes to retain energy effectively. While controlling interference, thus eliminating signal losses at optimal power.

Magnetic Sensors and Actuators
Magnetic Sensors and Actuators

Magnetic permeability is key in improving the sensitivity and response capability of sensors and actuators. This is extremely essential for robotics as well as navigation systems.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Strong magnetic permeability is an essential factor for sharper imaging in MRIs. This enables detailed and accurate visualization of internal structures used by medical professionals to diagnose illnesses.

Biosensors and Diagnostics
Biosensors and Diagnostics

High magnetic permeability enables precise sensing in biosensors to develop more effective diagnostic tools. This way, you can detect diseases and monitor health conditions with unmatched accuracy.

Magnetic Recording Media
Magnetic Recording Media

Magnetic permeability provides fault-tolerant storage in hard drives and tapes. It enables loading and retrieving digital information with minimal noise for uninterrupted user comfort.

Magnetic RAM (MRAM)
Magnetic RAM (MRAM)

In MRAM technology, magnetic permeability helps reduce the time and amount of energy required for data storage. This is true in comparison to conventional semiconductor memory devices, providing a viable alternative.

Microwave and Radiofrequency Applications
Microwave and Radiofrequency Applications

Improved magnetic permeability enables better functionality of components within microwave and radio frequency systems. It allows for effective signal transmission and reception used in telecommunications as well as radar devices.

Magnetic Refrigeration
Magnetic Refrigeration

Magnetic permeability supports the cooling process in magnetic refrigeration. This is more environmentally sound and provides greater efficiency with less energy consumption than conventional techniques.

Wireless Energy Transfer
Wireless Energy Transfer

The factor that makes wireless energy transfer more efficient is magnetic permeability. It leads to the emergence of cordless charging systems for different devices, smartphones, and tablets upwards. Magnetic permeability is crucial for various applications to understand, from improving the effectiveness of electromagnets and transformers to innovating healthcare with MRI and biosensors. Its classification, quantification, and measurement techniques, including impedance spectroscopy and SQUID magnetometry, provide broad knowledge. Additionally, focusing on factors affecting it ensures the best outcomes. However, the applications reveal magnetic permeability to propel technological development towards an age of effectively controlled innovations.

Listing Materials and Their Relative Permeabilities

Uncover the different materials and their relative magnetic permeabilities in the table below:

Sr. No. Type of Material Description Value of Relative Magnetic Permeability Material Examples
1 Non-permeable Materials Reject or create opposition to the field that was induced μr= 1 1.    Aluminium

2.    Copper

3.    Hydrogen

4.    Platinum

5.    Diamond

6.    Glass

7.    Concrete (dry)

8.    Teflon

9.    Air

10. Wood

2 Diamagnetic Materials Magnetically weak with relative permeability values less than 1 μr<1 1.    Graphite

2.    Bismuth

3.    Copper

4.    Sapphire

5.    Water

6.    Pyrolytic carbon

7.    Superconductors

3 Paramagnetic Materials Empirically drawn to the constant relative permeability values that are slightly above 1 due to being strongly attracted by the magnetic field. 1<μr<100 1.   Molybdenum

2.    Magnesium

3.    Ferrite (Nickel Zinc)

4.    Lithium

5.    Tantalum

4 Ferromagnetic Materials They are strongly attracted by the nonlinear relative permeability values magnetic field. μr≥100 1.    Nickel

2.    Iron

3.    Steel

4.    Cobalt

5.    Alloys

Here are the key units and symbols that are common for Magnetic Permeability.

Sr. No. Parameter Symbol Unit
1 Magnetic Permeability μ (mu) Henry per meter (H/m)
2 H/m Newton per ampere squared (N/A²)
3 H/m Tesla meter per ampere (T·m/A)
4 H/m Weber per ampere meter (Wb/(A·m))
5 H/m Tesla per ampere (T/A)
6 μ (mu) Henry per inch (H/inch)
7 μH/m Microhenry per meter (μH/m)
8 mH/m Millihenry per meter (mH/m)

Methods UseTo Measure Magnetic Permeability

By using any one of these methods, you can easily measure the magnetic permeability.

Induction Methods

1) Faraday’s Method

Visualize a coil wrapped in your material. This induces an alternating current in the coil. The induced voltage by this dancing field on the coil shows your material’s permeability. It is as though the magnetic tango, with its response, teaches about its dancing partner, the field of magnetism.

2) Guoy Method

Imagine a cylindrical magnet hanging inside your material. Then, slowly withdraw the magnet, and it tries not to detach itself by pulling against its force. By estimating the pressure generated, you can determine permeability. It’s like measuring the force of pull in magnetic material.

AC Susceptometers

These tools use a weak, periodic magnetic field and then measure the induced magnetization using your material. It is like a ‘magnetic question murmured’, and the material response provides information about its permeability. By changing the frequencies, one can measure different aspects of magnetic behavior.

Vibrating Sample Magnetometry (VSM):

Consider your material mechanically connected to a mini-fork, which vibrates in the magnetic field. You can get its permeability by measuring the magnetization of the material as it vibrates. Making the material shimmy and hearing its magnetic hum. VSM is especially suitable for the analysis of small samples.

SQUID Magnetometry

This extremely sensitive method employs the use of SQUIDs.They refer to the Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices. Using them, you can gauge minuscule differences in magnetic flux. In this method, all your material is present inside the SQUID. By amplifying the slight suggestions of magnetization, you can get details on its permeability. It’s as if you use a magnetic super sleuth to find the faintest revelations.

NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) Spectroscopy:

This method depends on the magnetic character of atomic nuclei.Using it determines its electronic basic structure via nuclear environment penetration by a powerful magnet and radio waves. You can detect how the stimuli will influence their response. This response is magnetic-field dependent. Therefore gives indirect information about the permeability. It is like using nuclei as minute magnetic spies to spy on the structure within a material.

Impedance Spectroscopy

If your material is a conductor, you can apply an AC and determine the impedance. The magnetic field affects the impedance, and from analyzing this change. You can obtain the permeability. It is as though one listens to the talk of electricity within that material for one to know its magnetic secrets.

Eddy Current Technique

This approach utilizes an alternating magnetic field at high frequency to create eddy currents in your material. In response, these currents create a magnetic field of their own that acts upon the magnetic field. When measuring this interaction, you can derive the permeability.

Reflection Method

Consider a microwave beam striking the surface of the material. When you apply a magnetic field, the reflection properties of microwaves change. Analyzing this shift, you can infer the permeability. Imaging with microwaves is like using a magnetic radar to map the subterranean regions of this material.

Factors That Influence Magnetic Permeability

Pay attention to the following factors as they greatly influence the magnetic permeability:

Frequency of Applied Force

Higher frequencies reduce permeability. Rapid variation in the magnetic field impairs particle alignment, thereby reducing the material’s permeability.


Moisture disrupts alignment, decreasing permeability. To get the best performance produced in a magnetic field, keep the material dry.


Elevated temperatures diminish permeability. In high temperatures, magnetic alignment gets destroyed, and this leads to an overall change in the material’s magnetics.

Material Composition

Composition dictates permeability. Opt for materials with high magnetic susceptibility to improve the performance of magnetism.

Position in the Medium

Placement matters. Magnetic permeability results from the position of an object in a medium. Take spatial factors into consideration for more accurate predictions.

Alloying Elements

Alloy choices impact permeability. Choose alloys with desirable magnetic characteristics that improve overall material performance.

Crystal Structure

Crystal structure influences permeability. The well-organized structure increases the magnetic alignment for better overall permeability.

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