Will the shape of your industrial magnet affect its strength? In a word, yes, but that wouldn’t be terribly instructive, would it?

As a buyer of industrial magnets, you’ve certainly noticed that all magnets are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. In the popular imagination, mostly thanks to years of watching cartoons, a magnet is always a U-shaped metal bar, usually a red one. While that may not be your experience in the real world, there’s a kernel of truth there—we’ll explain later. Perhaps most familiar to you is a short and stout cylindrical magnet, a unit that resembles a very large and very powerful hockey puck. There’s a method to that madness, too. Today, we’ll look in closer detail at how the shape of your industrial magnet will affect its strength.

Get to the Point

Let’s revisit that classic image of a magnet: the big red horseshoe that unwillingly draws the cartoon character holding it to the nearest metal. No matter who or what is holding it, there’s science behind it. A traditional bar magnet would have two poles: north and south. One magnet’s north pole attracts another magnetic material’s south pole and vice versa. What, then, would happen if you bent that bar, pointing both poles in the same direction? The poles would be much closer together and strengthen each other, giving the magnet more lifting power. Even if industrial electromagnets do not take on this familiar horseshoe shape, the handheld magnets that recycling crews use to detect small pieces of magnetic metal on a more granular level often fit this U-shaped form—hopefully with no cartoon-character pratfalls along the way.

Disc Magnets: More Diameter, More Power

While horseshoe magnets do exist at an industrial scale, most of your industrial permanent magnets and electromagnets will be cylindrical. It’s simple: all other things being equal, the larger the diameter of a magnet, the stronger it will be. While even a small magnet can be mighty, sometimes you need as much strength as possible. As a leading supplier of large industrial magnets, Moley Magnetics offers magnets in all shapes and sizes, up to the maximum surface area for maximum lifting capacity.

What Else Should You Know?

The shape of your industrial magnet will affect its strength, but so will other important factors. Temperatures that fluctuate into extreme heat can demagnetize even your powerful magnets, reducing their charge and, therefore, their lifting power. High humidity can take its toll on magnets as well, particularly on rare-earth element alloys such as neodymium, which are particularly susceptible to corrosion from ambient moisture. Nearby electric currents will not strengthen magnets but rather weaken them, making proper storage a must.