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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Is the attraction between magnets as high as the repulsion?

The attraction between magnets is a little stronger than the repulsion. That is due to the alignment of the molecular magnets in the magnet.
The attraction as well as the repulsion of magnets decrease significantly with increasing distance.

Table of Contents:
Normal alignment of the molecular magnets
When two equal magnets touch each other, the attraction between two unequal poles is 5-10% stronger than the repulsion of equal poles.
That is due to the alignment of the molecular magnets in a magnet. In a single magnet, the molecular magnets are aligned sort of parallel to each other. The more regular the molecular magnets are aligned, the higher is the "strength" of the magnet.

Attraction

Better alignment of the molecular magnets at attraction
When two unequal magnetic poles attract each other, the one magnet supports the parallel alignment of the molecular magnets in the other magnet. This renders both magnets a little stronger.

Repulsion

Bad alignment of the molecular magnets at repulsion
When two equal magnetic poles repel each other, however, the one magnet disturbs the parallel alignment of the molecular magnets in the other magnet. This renders both magnets a little weaker. If you pull them far enough apart, however, they regain their original order and therefore their original strength.
With increasing distance between two magnets, the molecular magnets are hardly impacted by the other magnet anymore. The attraction is then almost equal to the repulsion (see table below).

Concrete example

x axis= distance [mm]
y axis= force [kg]
blue curve = attraction
pink curve = repulsion
A numeric example with our largest disc magnet S-45-30-N confirms: The attraction (blue) of a magnet is slightly stronger than the repulsion (pink). At a distance of 4 cm, the attractive as well as the repulsive force are at approx. 5 kg.
Distance Attraction Repulsion
0 cm 78 kg 72 kg
1 cm 30 kg 28 kg
2 cm 15 kg 14 kg
4 cm 5 kg 5 kg

Note: The indicated adhesive force of 78 kg for this magnet is based on a manual measurement. In our web shop, we publish an official adhesive force of "only" 64 kg. This value was calculated with a mathematical formula. In our web shop, we always specify the lower of the two values to avoid disappointments (see FAQ measuring adhesive force).

Practical implication

The attractive as well as the repulsive force decrease quickly with increasing distance. Therefore, only many large magnets make it possible to keep heavy objects, like beds, in levitation via repulsion.
By comparison: Customer application Stool with magnetic suspension uses 8 S-45-30-N disc magnets to magnetically support a small chair. This application illustrates that repelling magnets always need a lead. Otherwise, they will rotate and catch each other.

Application examples

Customer applications that deal with the topic of repulsion can be found in our keyword list under "repelling". Below you can find an example.