There are four classes of modern commercialized magnets, each based on their material composition. Within each class is a family of grades with their own magnetic properties. These general classes are:
Neodymium Iron Boron
NdFeB and SmCo are collectively known as Rare Earth magnets because they are both composed of materials from the Rare Earth group of elements. Neodymium Iron Boron (general composition Nd2Fe14B, often abbreviated to NdFeB) is the most recent commercial addition to the family of modern magnet materials. At room temperatures, NdFeB magnets exhibit the highest properties of all magnet materials. Samarium Cobalt is manufactured in two compositions: Sm1Co5 and Sm2Co17 – often referred to as the SmCo 1:5 or SmCo 2:17 types. 2:17 types, with higher Hci values, offer greater inherent stability than the 1:5 types. Ceramic, also known as Ferrite, magnets (general composition BaFe2O3 or SrFe2O3) have been commercialized since the 1950s and continue to be extensively used today due to their low cost. A special form of Ceramic magnet is “Flexible” material, made by bonding Ceramic powder in a flexible binder. Alnico magnets (general composition Al-Ni-Co) were commercialized in the 1930s and are still extensively used today.