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Neodymium magnets are the most widely used type of rare-earth magnet. They are also the strongest permanent magnets commercially available.
Compared to other magnetic materials they provide unparralleled levels of magnetism and resistance to demagnetisation.
They have replaced other types of magnets in many applications in modern products that require strong permanent magnets.
General Motors (GM) and Sumitomo Special Metals independently discovered the NdFeB (Nedoymium - Iron - Boron) compound almost simultaneously in 1984.
Neodymium magnets were first produced in response to the high price of Samarium-Cobalt magnets (Cobalt more expansive), giving need to identify an more economical and high-performance magnet.
GM focused on the development of neodymium magnet in powdered bonded form while Sumitomo followed the sintering manufacturing process, the same process used to manufacture our neodymium magnets.
Often called as rare-earth magnets because neodymium is part of the rare-earth family of elements in the periodic table (Atomic Number 60 and symbol Nd).
Although neodymium is classified as a rare-earth element, it is fairly common, no rarer than cobalt, nickel or copper.
Because of their geochemical properties, rare-earth elements are typically dispersed and not often found concentrated in rare-earth minerals.
To make a neodymium magnet you'll need to combine neodymium with iron (Fe) and boron (B), and sometimes other element like dysprosium (Dy).
Some of the key characteristics of the neodymium magnets have been explained in these articles:
How to choose the right magnet?
Neodymium magnets: How are they made?
How does a permanent magnet work?
Magnet materials: Pros and Cons