Tired of those weak magnets on your Refrigerator door?
If you’re looking for some super strong magnets, then maybe you should try out Canadian startup Trintec Industries (Emmino, 2015) US$14 SuperMags. SuperMags are so strong, they can hold a stack of sixteen (16) sheets of ordinary office paper and have the holding power to support 5.7 lb before falling off any ferromagnetic surface.
Trintec Industries started a kickstarter to make the SuperMags seeking US$2500. Oddly enough, they’ve already exceeded that goal. The Trintec Industries kickstarter for the SuperMags already has one hundred and sixty eight (168) backers who have pledged some US$8,708, surpassing the US$2500 goal.
With fourteen (14) days to go till the end of the kickstarter on Wednesday, July 29 2015 at 10:00 AM PDT, they have more than enough pledges to make as many SuperMags as possible.
Machined from Brass or Aluminum, they look like map pins and are durable enough to last for years and take a lot of beating. But you might remark to yourself that Aluminum and Brass, an alloy of Copper and Zinc, are non-ferrous and therefore non-magnetic.
So how did Trintec Industries make them into magnets?
Trintec Industries SuperMags – Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism explained
When electrons exist in pairs in the orbitals of atoms, their Orbital Quantum Number (l) and their Spin Quantum Number (ms), two (2) of the four Quantum Numbers (Deer, 2014 July 17) cancel out each other, resulting in no magnetic moment. However, when electrons exist in pairs in the orbitals of atoms shell as described by their Principal Quantum Number (n), the atoms exhibit a magnetic moment and are said to be paramagnetic.
In most substances, you have a mixture of paramagnetic and diamagnetic atoms or molecules. If the concentration of paramagnetic atoms or molecules is higher than the diamagnetic molecules, the compound will display paramagnetism i.e. it exhibits a magnetic momentum and can become permanently magnetized.
Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Gandolinium, their oxides (Giancoli, 1995) and alloys exhibit permanent magnetism because they have a higher concentration of paramagnetic than diamagnetic atoms and molecules with their metallic lattice.
Paramagnetism is also a stronger phenomenon than diamagnetism. This is the reason why even some non-ferrous materials, once the amount of paramagnetic atoms or molecules is sufficiently high, will exhibit an attraction to a magnetic field.
Trintec Industries SuperMags – How to turn Diamagnetic materials to Paramagnetic
Trintec Industries turned diamagnetic material like Aluminum, which only has one unpaired electron (Hill & Holman, 1989) and the alloy Brass into paramagnetic permanent magnets by exposing the aluminum or brass to a strong 4 Tesla or higher magnetic field while the metal was being heated in a vacuum.
This was done possibly by borrowing access to a superconducting Research MRI that comes with a Vacuum Oven; should be a few places in Canada that have such a device.
The 4 Tesla Magnetic field from the MRI aligns the paramagnetic metal atoms, the ones with unpaired electrons in the metal’s outer shells and orbitals, with the magnetic field, increasing their concentration. The diamagnetic magnetic atoms or molecules within the metal also causes a cooling effect (Deer, 2015, June 29), which becomes more pronounced as the temperature gets closer to absolute zero
It also caused the paired electrons to temporarily have the same Spin Quantum Number (ms), which is not supposed to happen in Pauli’s Exclusion Theory. That extra electron, if the heat is sufficiently high to overcome the ionization energy of the metal, escapes from the outer shell of the metal atoms from the metal surface like J.J. Thompson’s Cathode Rays (Hill & Holman, 1989), leaving behind unpaired electrons in the atomic nuclei of the metal.
Those unpaired electrons cannot leave the outer shells as the nucleus now has a stronger pull on those unpaired electrons. Also, the magnetic field results in the metallic lattice being more orderly, especially as the aluminum or Brass were allowed to cool slowly, forming larger metallic crystals and thus larger magnetic domains with larger magnetic moments.
The result is not only is there an increase in the amount of paramagnetic metallic atoms but the concentration increases as well, resulting in these extremely strong supermagnets.
SuperMags for a US$14 pledge – The price is right for a Permanent Magnetic Moment
So now you know how these super cool magnets can be made, it should become clear to you why the price is so low!
The US$2000 must the rental fee that the Canadian startup Trintec Industries has to pay to access a 4 Tesla or higher superconducting Research MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) within a Vacuum Oven. After all, they’re a Kickstarted Startup; they could possibly have a 4 Tesla or higher superconducting Research MRI within a Vacuum Oven just lying around in their garage!
Still, this explanation doesn’t take away from the awesomeness of super magnets made from non magnetic materials. The demand for them is possibly being fuelled by science Teachers and curious children fascinated by non-ferrous and normally non-magnetic materials display such a high level of ferromagnetism.
Great for that next science project!
Here’s the link:
- Giancoli, D.C. (1995). Physics Principles with Applications (4th). pp. 559. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall
- Hill, G.C., Holman, J.S. (1989). Chemistry in Context. (3rd Ed.). pp. 75-78, Surrey, UK: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd
- Hill, G.C., Holman, J.S. (1989). Chemistry in Context. (3rd Ed.). pp. 55,56, Surrey, UK: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd
- Deer, L. (2014 July 17). Kavli Institute of Nanoscience demonstrates Quantum Teleportation – Super-cooled Diamonds demonstrate faster-than-light potential for Computing and Telecommunications. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/07/kavli-institute-of-nanoscience.html
- Deer, L. (2015, June 29). Ohio State University and Heat Reduction using Magnetic Fields – How Heat, Sound, Radiation and Magnetism in Paramegnetic and Diamagnetic materials are related. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/07/Ohio-State-University-Heat-Reduction-Magnetic-Fields-Heat-Sound-Radiation.html
- Emmino, N. (2015, June 30). These strong SuperMags can hold up to six pounds. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/strong-refrigerator-magnets-steroids-can-hold-up-to-six-pounds/