AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

How Do Demagnetizers Work?

Magnets play an essential role in both the manufacturing process and end product of many devices and appliances we use daily. Everything from computer hard drives to electric motors and speakers partially rely on magnetism in order to function. There are, however, instances where a magnetic field can impede the function of a device or system, requiring it to be turned off. For this purpose, a specialty tool called a demagnetizer is employed. In this blog, we will discuss the purpose of demagnetizers, their design, and how they may be used to eliminate unwanted magnetic fields.

In order to understand the operating principles of a demagnetizer, one must first become familiar with how magnetic fields work. A magnetic field is defined as a physical field created from one moving electric charge that influences another. Some natural elements, notably iron, nickel, and cobalt, are easily influenced by magnetic fields and may be attracted to or repelled by a local source. In addition to their effect on macroscopic materials, magnets also affect the motion of valence electrons in non-magnetic materials. Although more complicated at the microscopic level, macroscopically, magnets consist of two poles, commonly labeled north and south. When examining the force between two magnetic surfaces, it becomes evident that there is a strong attraction between opposing poles and an equally strong repulsion between poles sharing the same orientation.

Sometimes tools or other objects made of magnetic materials may be unintentionally magnetized, causing them to attract unwanted particulates and interact negatively with other devices. Steel is particularly susceptible to this phenomenon, maintaining the possibility of being magnetized by common actions such as welding and vibration. Another process that may be affected by unintentional magnetism is computer manufacturing. If a CPU or other board-level component were to become magnetized inappropriately, it could cause irreversible damage to other nearby components. Finally, magnetism in pipes such as those found in oil pipelines may prevent proper welding of interconnected segments, causing delays and significant expenses.

Demagnetizers remove unwanted magnetic fields by exposing the electrons in the target device or material to an irregular magnetic field. Since particular electron arrangements are required to facilitate magnetism, causing an intentional misalignment will cause the surface to lose that ability. Depending on the size and accessibility of the target, demagnetism may be performed by either mobile or nonmobile means. For example, long pipes that are experiencing several spots of magnetism may require a mobile demagnetization system consisting of coils wound around the pipe to disrupt the electrons. In contrast, a single tool or small length of material may be easily managed with a portable demagnetization unit.

In addition to their primary action, demagnetizers may also be used to temporarily magnetize a tool. Typically, this is performed on hand tools such as screwdrivers in order to facilitate a better connection with screws or other fasteners. When demagnetizers are used to add magnetism, they execute the inverse action upon the electrons. Instead of creating misalignment among the target's electrons, the demagnetizer will align the tool's electrons with its own magnetic field.

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