How Much Weight Can a Magnet Hold & How to Measure Magnet Strength

As you read through our website, you’ll see a measurement called Pounds Pull listed for most items, but what does that really mean?

Pounds pull (also called breakaway force or pull strength) is the force required to vertically detach a magnet from ferrous material. We measure it in pounds, using very specific conditions to create uniformity. If your application conditions are different, you will get different results.

 

HERE’S HOW WE MEASURE POUNDS PULL:

We use a 3/4” thick, completely flat, solid steel plate. It is larger than the magnet being tested, so the magnet makes complete contact with the plate. A pull force gauge measures the force required to pull the magnet vertically away from the steel plate.

 

WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT USING THE MAGNET IN A VERTICAL APPLICATION?

If you’re using a magnet in vertical placement, then shear force comes into play. While the magnetic force pulls the magnet horizontally towards the steel surface, gravity tries to pull the magnet down, and the friction between the magnet and the steel prevents it from sliding. Why don’t we publish shear strength numbers? We can’t because the friction coefficient varies dramatically depending on the two materials and any surface inconsistencies. Paint, rust, even fingerprints can make a difference!

 

WHAT ABOUT GAPS, DISTANCES CREATED BETWEEN THE MAGNET AND THE STEEL?

The distance between your magnet and the steel substrate to which it is trying to attract can make an almost unbelievable difference in pull strength. Although this distance is commonly called an air gap, anything that comes between the magnet material and its ferrous mate will cause a variance in strength, including paint, coatings, paper, even grease. Uneven surface areas cause gaps too, such as rust.

SO WHAT’S THE BEST SOLUTION?

Talk to us, get our recommendation, and then try it out! In most cases, we’ll send samples for prototypes at no charge.

Featured Downloads

electric guitar pickups

New Research on Electric Guitar Pickups

Researchers from McGill University and Yamaha have collaborated to study the impact of electric guitar pickup designs on sound quality....
A solenoid printed by MIT's multi-material 3D printer

MIT Pioneers 3D-Printed Solenoids for Next-Gen Electronics

In a groundbreaking leap for electronics manufacturing, researchers at MIT have developed a method to 3D-print solenoids, a key component...
Nikola Tesla

The Magnetic Force Behind Innovation: Celebrating National Inventors Month

Magnets have played a pivotal role in countless inventions throughout history, driving technological advancements and shaping the world as we...

Contact Us

Adams is ready to be a part of your products with off-the-shelf and custom applications. Contact us to find out more.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.