The magnetic properties of steel can be confusing. Depending on the type and composition of the steel, it can be either magnetically hard or soft. Understanding the differences between magnetically hard and soft steel will help you make an informed decision when choosing a material to use in your next project.
Steel is an interesting material when it comes to magnetism- while it can be strongly magnetic depending on the alloy, steel generally behaves as if it is neither magnetically hard nor soft. Even though most varieties of steel are not naturally magnetic, they can be converted with enough force and other external factors to become highly magnetized. At the same time, however, it can also lose its magnetic properties rather quickly under different external conditions. While this can be seen as a disadvantage for certain applications, understanding how steel works with magnetism provides valuable insights into the properties of different alloys and the many other benefits of steel materials from wayfinding to construction.
What is Magnetically Hard Steel?
Magnetically hard steel is composed of an alloy that has a high resistance to demagnetization. This type of steel remains magnetized even after being exposed to strong external magnetic fields, making it ideal for applications where the magnetic field needs to be maintained over time. This includes applications such as motors, generators, and transformers.
What is Magnetically Soft Steel?
Magnetically soft steel is composed of an alloy that has a low resistance to demagnetization. This type of steel does not remain magnetized for long when exposed to strong external magnetic fields, making it ideal for applications where a temporary magnetic field is needed. This includes applications such as electromagnets and relays.
In conclusion, whether steel is magnetically hard or soft depends on its composition. Magnetically hard steels have a high resistance to demagnetization and remain magnetized even after being exposed to strong external magnetic fields, while magnetically soft steels have a low resistance to demagnetization and become easily demagnetized when exposed to strong external magnetic fields. Knowing which type of steel you need for your project will help ensure that you get the desired results from your material choice!
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