Questions and Answers

Adams Magnetic Products can help to answer many of these commonly asked questions about magnets and magnetism. If you have additional questions, please contact us.  Additionally, our sister company, Dowling Magnets, focuses on educational magnets and has a fantastic blog that covers a lot of the basics in-depth.

Questions about magnets
[Q] What is a magnet?
[A] At its most basic level, a magnet is an object that is made of materials that create a magnetic field. Magnets have poles, at least one north pole and one south pole.
[Q] What is a magnetic field?
[A] A magnetic field is the region in space where a magnetic force can be detected. The magnetic field strength and direction can be measured in terms of strength and direction.
[Q] What is magnetism?
[A] Magnetism is the force of attraction or repulsion between substances made of certain materials, such as iron, nickel, cobalt, and steel. The force of magnetism, simply put, is due to the motion of electric charges.
[Q] What can magnets do?
[A] Magnets have several useful functions. Based on experience with household magnets, most people know that magnets attract materials, including iron, nickel, cobalt, and steel. Many people also know that magnets attract magnets at opposite poles and repel magnets at like poles. But magnets do much more. 

Magnets effect electrically charged particles and electrical conductors. Magnets have the ability transform electrical energy without losing their own energy. These effects can perform useful functions, for example: 
  • Electrical-to-mechanical effects are key in the function of motors, loudspeakers, and equipment that requires charged particle deflection.
  • Mechanical-to-electrical effects are useful in generators and microphones.
  • Mechanical-to-heat effects facilitate eddy current and hysteresis torque devices.
  • Mechanical-to-mechanical effects attract or repulse objects.
  • Other effects of magnets include magneto-resistance and magnetic resonance.
[Q] What are rare earth magnets?
[A] The term Rare Earth Magnets is used to refer to a group of magnetic materials whose alloys consist of one or more of the Rare Earth elements. These materials are characterized by exceptionally strong magnetic properties.
[Q] What are alnico magnets?
[A] Alnico magnets are aluminum-nickel-cobalt magnets. They are ideal for high-temperature use, At Adams, we stock most types of Alnico materials, and they are commonhttly supplied as long rods or bars. A long magnetic path length to pole surface ratio (usually 4:1 or greater) assists in providing good magnetic performance.
[Q] What are flexible magnets?
[A] Flexible magnets have multi-pole magnetization patterns for maximum holding power. They are easily cut with scissors, knives, or die cut. They are available with adhesive or colored vinyl coating.
[Q] What are ceramic magnets?
[A] Ceramic magnets are made from strontium and iron oxide powders. They are generally harder, more brittle and lighter than metal alloy magnets. Ceramic magnets have a high electrical resistance.
[Q] What are soft ferrite cores?
[A] Soft ferrite is a nonmetallic magnetic material. Soft ferrite cores are used in computers, telecommunication equipment, TVs, and a variety of industrial electronic equipment. Adams is stopped selling Soft Ferrite cores and accessories in 2014. We recommend Elna Magnetics as a source for these products.
[Q] What are magnetic assemblies?
[A] Magnetic assemblies are up to 32 times stronger than regular magnets and are typically made with ceramic magnets. At Adams, we create magnetic assemblies in custom sizes, designs, and coatings.
[Q] What are permanent magnets made of?
[A] Today's permanent magnets are made of alloys. Alloy materials include 
[Q] How are magnets made?
[A] Magnets are made using the following manufacturing methods: 
  • Calendering
  • Casting
  • Compression bonding
  • Extruding
  • Injection molding
  • Pressing and sintering
[Q] What are magnetic poles?
[A] All magnets have points, or poles, where their magnetic strength is concentrated. Those points are called poles. We label them north and south because suspended magnets orient along north-south planes. On different magnets, like poles repel each other, opposite poles attract.
[Q] What is the difference between the north and south poles of a magnet?
[A] When suspended or allowed to rotate freely, magnets orient themselves in a north-south direction. The end of a magnet that points to the north is called the north pole. The point that seeks the south is called the south pole.
[Q] Is there a simple way to tell which end of a magnet is the north pole?
[A] Both poles of a magnet look the same. However, if you place a compass near a magnet, the needle that normally points toward the north pole of the earth moves in the direction of the magnet's south pole.
[Q] What does 'orientation direction' mean?
[A] Some magnets, called oriented or anisotropic magnets, have a preferred direction in which they should be magnetized. The "orientation direction," also known as an "easy axis" or "axis," is the direction that achieves its maximum magnetism. Other magnets, called unoriented or isotropic magnets, can be magnetized in any direction.
[Q] Is it true that magnetic fields are stronger closer to the magnets themselves?
[A] Yes. The strength of magnetic fields diminishes with distance. This phenomenon can be measured with exponential equations.
[Q] What is the difference between permanent magnets and electromagnets?
[A] Permanent magnets emit a magnetic field without the need for any external source of power. An electromagnet emits a magnetic field only when an electrical current runs through it.
[Q] Are permanent magnets really permanent?
[A] Magnets generally retain their magnetism unless they are stored near power lines, other magnets, and high temperatures. Over time, magnet materials lose a very small amount of magnetism. For example, Samarium Cobalt magnets may lose about 1% of their magnetism in ten years.
[Q] Do magnets get weaker? How?
[A] Several factors can weaken the magnetism in a magnet. If a magnet is stored close to heat, strong electrical currents, other magnets, or radiation, it can lose its strength. Additionally, high humidity can corrode neodymium magnets.
[Q] Can magnets that have lost their magnetism be re-magnetized?
[A] That depends on how the magnetism was lost. Usually magnets can regain their original strength unless they've been exposed to extreme heat.
[Q] Can magnets be made stronger?
[A] Once a magnet is fully magnetized, it cannot be made any stronger.
[Q] How is magnetic strength measured?
[A] A number of devices measure the strength of magnets. Here are a few common devices. 
  • Permeameters measure the magnetic characteristics of a specimen.
  • Gaussmeters measure the strength of a magnet in units called Gauss units.
  • Magnetometers measure in Gauss or arbitrary units for comparing magnets.
  • Pull Testers measure the strength of a magnet's pulling power in pounds, kilograms, or other force units.
[Q] What kind of magnets are the strongest?
[A] Rare earth magnets are the strongest.
[Q] What Are Flexible Magnets Used For?
[A] The most common uses for flexible magnets include displays and signs, arts and crafts, labeling projects, window and door seals, control charts and menu boards, package closures, interchangeable graphics, and magnet wall systems. Flexible magnets come in sheet and strip form. These versatile magnets can come with or without adhesives, with lamination, in die-cut shapes, in custom packaging, and more, making them perfect for a variety of applications.
[Q] Do You Design Magnetic Package Closures?
[A] Yes, we do—package closure magnets are one of our specialties. Our magnetic package closures are cost-effective, universally accessible, and allow for a creative package design that will wow your customers. For closing packages, we recommend using flexible magnet material when flexibility is a must, neodymium magnets and steel strike plates for stronger, hidden closure applications, and magnet-to-magnet neodymium closures for the strongest latch of all.
[Q] Do You Manufacture Custom Flexible Magnets?
[A] While Adams Magnetic Products sells stock flexible magnets. We also manufacture custom flexible magnets in both strip and sheet form. Customers can choose from a variety of customization options, including adhesives (foam, rubber, acrylic, or double-faced), cutting, scoring, die-cutting, and custom magnetization. Both of our fabrication facilities offer custom flexible magnetic sheeting and strips.
[Q] What Is The Best Type Of Magnet To Use In A Motor? 
[A] The best type of magnet to use in a motor depends on the type of motor and its application. Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) magnets are the preferred choice for high temperature motor applications because they are strong, reliable, and provide temperature resistance. In electric car motor applications, neodymium magnets are often used when corrosion and temperature are not issues. Ferrite or ceramic magnets are the most common type used in DC electric motors. Rare earth magnets in motors are stronger than ferrite or ceramic permanent magnets, but they are also more expensive and have less resistance to corrosion and demagnetization.
[Q] What types of industrial use magnets do you offer?

We offer industrial use magnets for a variety of applications. Our product offerings include neodymium magnets, ceramic magnets, alnico magnets, flexible magnets, samarium cobalt magnets, and magnetic assemblies. We also offer corrosion-resistant coatings, including nickel, epoxy, and aluminum. If you’re not sure of the type of magnet you need, our technical experts are available to help industrial clients with application and design engineering, testing and analysis, and value engineering.

Questions About Adams
[Q] What types of magnets does Adams Magnetic Products specialize in?
[A] We specialize in several types of magnets. 
  • Flexible magnets are made of thermoplastic materials and can be bent without affecting their performance.
  • Ceramic magnets, or hard ferrite magnets, are rigid and brittle provide good magnetic performance, and are generally economical.
  • Alnico, or aluminum-nickel-cobalt, magnets are ideal for high-temperature use.
  • Rare earth magnets deliver incredible strength in a small package.
  • Magnetic assemblies, which are up to 32 times stronger than magnets alone.
[Q] How do I contact Adams?
[A] Just call 1-800-747-7543, fax 1-800-747-1323, or email
[Q] What information should I provide when ordering?
[A] We will help you with your order. Usually we ask for the following information. 
  • Size limitations of the magnet or, if available, a sketch or drawing with dimensions and tolerances.
  • Holding power or pounds pull required.
  • Degree of heat involved, if extreme.
  • Type of magnetic material.
  • Quantities required.
  • Information on what you want to use the magnet for.
[Q] Does Adams have a catalog?
[A] We have a catalog of offerings. If you would like to order a catalog, please call 1-800-747-7543, fax 1-800-747-1323, or email


[Q] How long has Adams Magnetic Products been in service?

Adams Magnetic Products was established in 1950, delivering more than 65 years of expertise and service.

  Questions About Magnetic Stripping
[Q] What selection of magnetic stripping do you offer?

We offer two main types of magnetic stripping: traditional magnetic strip and high energy magnetic strip, which provides more holding strength. 

Adams magnetic strip is made in the USA and can be purchased in rolls or in pieces. For your convenience, it can come complete with adhesive on the back for easy application, or it can come without. Color laminates are available as well.

[Q] What are magnetic strips?
[A] Magnetic strips are flexible magnets made with ferrite powder and rubber polymer resin. The result is a lightweight, bendable magnet that can be used for a variety of applications. While these magnets are not as strong as traditional solid magnets, they offer more versatility and are a popular choice for use in schools, homes, and businesses.
[Q] How can magnetic strips be used?
[A] Our customers use our magnetic strips for a wide range of purposes. Commercial and industrial clients use magnetic stripping for package closures, toys, window and door seals, magnetic wall systems, and retail displays or signage. Crafters purchase adhesive magnetic strips to create their own magnets and teachers use them for labeling and creating games for their classrooms. When it comes to magnetic strips, there are unlimited possibilities.
[Q] What are alternatives to magnetic strips?

If you’re looking for another flexible magnetic material, consider magnetic sheets. Depending on your application, these may be more suitable, particularly if you need to cover a large area with magnetic material. They can be cut to size if needed.

While we have a large variety of flexible magnets in stock in our warehouse, we also have the ability to create magnets in custom widths, thicknesses, and lengths. If you have specific needs that aren’t met with stock options, contact us to learn more about our fabrication process.

[Q] What kinds of options are there for magnetic strips?
[A] For adhesive magnetic stripping, we can use most any type of adhesive you like, including foam, permanent, or removable options. We can customize both size and color, and fabricate magnets for use indoors and outdoors. Both sides can be magnetized and laminated. We can add scoring to the strips for ease of use. Sizes range from one-quarter inch wide to three feet wide, in lengths up to 1500 feet.
  Questions About Custom Magnetic Door Latches
[Q] Can you supply custom magnetic door latches?
[A] Yes, Adams Magnetic supplies custom magnetic door latches upon request. We also keep a wide range of popular magnetic latches and catch latch magnets in stock. Our magnetic door latches are available in snap-in designs for quick installation, but screw-mount and adhesive-mount steel strike plates are also available if needed.