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What are magnets made of?

Magnets are everywhere. From our car engines to our business cards, we use magnets in almost everything nowadays. Yet, most of us don’t really understand what they are made of.

Most magnetic metals are manmade. Ferromagnetic materials like iron, nickel, cobalt, and a few alloys of rare earth element can be magnetized when exposed to a strong magnetic field. Magnetizing fixtures will direct the electric current to the non-magnetized areas, which causes the electrons to line up. In turn, it makes the materials magnetic.

Depending on how they are made, magnets may be able to retain their magnetic properties permanently. Heating ferromagnetic materials to their Curie temperature will make them temporarily magnetic. They will eventually lose their magnetic properties over time. But when heated beyond their Curie temperature, these materials can be magnetized permanently.

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