2 Aug 2019

Neodymium - the secret behind supermagnets

From Elemental, 8:00 am on 2 August 2019

Neodymium magnets were invented in 1982, and are the strongest permanent magnets known. A neodymium magnet can lift up to 1000 times its own weight. They are actually an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron.

Neodymium magnets turn up in speakers, headphones, hard drives, guitar pick-ups and microphones.

You can also buy them online as super strong fridge magnets.

Electric cars contain about a kilogram of neodymium.

Some neodymium compounds have the unusual property that they appear different colours to the human eye under different types of lights.

And you can thank neodymium for your green laser pointer, says Allan Blackman from AUT.

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Photo: RNZ

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The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.

Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.

Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.