Magnetic property refers to the response of a material to an applied magnetic field. The macroscopic magnetic properties of a material are a consequence of interactions between an external magnetic field and the magnetic dipole moments of the constituent atoms. Different materials react to the application of magnetic field differently. The most familiar effects occur in ferromagnetic materials, which are strongly attracted by magnetic fields and can be magnetized to become permanent magnets, producing magnetic fields themselves. Only a few substances are ferromagnetic. The most common ones are iron, cobalt and nickel and their alloys.
Ferromagnetic Material – Ferromagnetism
Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which a material form permanent magnet (i.e. materials that can be magnetized by an external magnetic field and remain magnetized after the external field is removed). Ferromagnetism is the strongest type and is responsible for this common phenomenon. Ferromagnetic, ferrimagnetic, or antiferromagnetic materials possess permanent magnetization even without external magnetic field and do not have a well defined zero-field susceptibility. Permanent magnetic moments in ferromagnetic materials result from atomic magnetic moments due to unpaired electron spins as a consequence of the electron structure. There is also an orbital magnetic moment contribution that is small in comparison to the spin moment. Thus, even in the absence of an applied field, the magnetic moments of the electrons in the material spontaneously line up parallel to one another. Every ferromagnetic material has its own individual temperature, called the Curie temperature, or Curie point, above which it loses its ferromagnetic properties. This is because the thermal tendency to disorder overwhelms the energy-lowering due to ferromagnetic order. Only a few substances are ferromagnetic. The common ones are iron, cobalt, nickel and most of their alloys, and some compounds of rare earth metals. Ferromagnetism is very important in industry and modern technology. Ferromagnetic materials can be divided into magnetically “soft” materials like annealed iron, which can be magnetized but do not tend to stay magnetized, and magnetically “hard” materials, which do. Permanent magnets are made from “hard” ferromagnetic materials such as alnico and ferrite that are subjected to special processing in a strong magnetic field during manufacture to align their internal microcrystalline structure, making them very hard to demagnetize.
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