What is a ferromagnet?

A ferromagnet is a material that is capable of exhibiting strong magnetic properties and holding them for a period of time. It is characterized by the formation of spontaneous magnetisation, whereby the magnetic moments of the atoms or ions in the material are aligned in parallel, creating a strong attractive force between adjacent magnetic domains. This alignment is maintained even after an external magnetic field is removed, allowing the ferromagnet to retain its magnetic force. An example of a ferromagnet is the element iron (Fe), which exhibits strong ferromagnetic properties, especially at room temperature. It can be permanently magnetized and retains its magnetic force even without an external magnetic field.

Properties and applications of ferromagnets

Ferromagnetic materials exhibit saturation magnetization, where they achieve maximum magnetic polarization, even at relatively low magnetic field strengths. In addition, they exhibit magnetic hysteresis, which means that their magnetization is not linearly related to the external magnetic field strength, but exhibits a delay when the field is changed. This behavior allows ferromagnets to be used as core materials in transformers, electromagnets and other magnetic devices to generate and amplify strong magnetic fields.

In addition, ferromagnets have important applications in information technology, particularly in the storage of data. Magnetic hard drives use ferromagnetic layers to store information in binary form as magnetic states. By manipulating the magnetization, data can be recorded, stored and retrieved.

Other examples of ferromagnets

It is also worth noting that there are other materials besides iron that have ferromagnetic properties, such as nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co) and their alloys. These materials also find diverse applications in electrical engineering, electronics and materials research.