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Alnico Magnets are traditionally classified using numbers assigned by the Magnetic Materials Producers Association (MMPA), for example, alnico 3 or alnico 5. These classifications indicate chemical composition and magnetic properties. (The classification numbers themselves do not have any direct relation to the properties of the magnet; for instance, a higher number does not necessarily indicate a stronger magnet.)  These classification numbers, while still in use, have been deprecated in favor of a new system by the MMPA, which designates Alnico magnets based on maximum energy product in megagauss-oersteds and intrinsic coercive force as kilooersteds, as well as an IEC classification system. 
Alnico magnets are produced by casting or sintering processes. Anisotropic alnico magnets are oriented by heating above a critical temperature and cooling in the presence of a magnetic field. Both isotropic and anisotropic alnico require proper heat treatment to develop optimal magnetic properties—without it alnico's coercivity is about 10 Oe, comparable to technical iron, which is a soft magnetic material. After the heat treatment alnico becomes a composite material, named "precipitation material"—it consists of iron- and cobalt-rich precipitates in rich-NiAl matrix.

Alnico's anisotropy is oriented along the desired magnetic axis by applying an external magnetic field to it during the precipitate particle nucleation, which occurs when cooling from 900 °C (1,650 °F) to 800 °C (1,470 °F), near the Curie poin. Without an external field there are local anisotropies of different orientations due to spontaneous magnetization. The precipitate structure is a "barrier" against magnetization changes, as it prefers few magnetization states requiring much energy to get the material into any intermediate state. Also, a weak magnetic field shifts the magnetization of the matrix phase only and is reversible.

Related Tags : Casting AlNiCo Alnico permanent magnet

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