How to Separate Strong Magnets that are Stuck Together

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It’s a situation that no one wants to find themselves in when working with magnets—finding two magnets that have been stuck together. Even worse, maybe you are working with a strong magnet that has become stuck to another surface or item in your workspace. It can be difficult to separate strong magnets–especially neodymium magnets, which are the most powerful magnet available–but fear not. Here, we will go over the steps you can take when you need to separate a high-power magnet from another magnet or a surface it is stuck to.

How Do I Get Strong Magnets Unstuck?

First, it is important to take your own safety into consideration. Before you try to separate a strong magnet, it is strongly recommended that you wear protective safety glasses or another form of protective eyewear. Some magnets, including neodymium magnets, are known for being brittle and prone to breakage under extreme circumstances. For example, if two neodymium magnets are allowed to rapidly attract to each other, the force of their collision may result in pieces of the magnet chipping off and going flying.

Do not work with high magnetic forces if you have a pacemaker. Additionally, be careful that your hands and fingers are never placed between two magnets or a magnet and the surface it is attracted to, as severe pinching can occur. Never try and machine neodymium magnets—this will generate heat which can lead to demagnetization or even ignition. Be conscious of the material the magnet is coated with when handling any given magnet.

To separate a magnet from another magnet or a magnetic surface, it is important to never try and use just your fingers to separate the magnet. Instead, use a non-magnetic object or non-ferrous tool to push in between the two magnets or the magnet and the surface it is attracted to. For example, driving a wooden wedge in between two magnets is an excellent way to separate them while avoiding putting your fingers in between the two magnets. This can be referred to as the spacer method.

Another important thing to remember when separating a magnet from a surface it is stuck to is to work sideways. It is very difficult to try and pull a powerful magnet away from a surface it is attracted to. But, by sliding the magnet across the surface, it may be easier to remove. For example, imagine a magnet is attracted to a metal bar. Instead of trying to pull the magnet off, try sliding the magnet to the edge of the metal bar. Then, position a piece of wood against the bar’s edge. You will often have an easier time trying to slide the magnet off of the metal surface and onto the wood instead.

There are three main things to remember when separating a strong magnet from a surface or another magnet. First, you must always take precautions to protect yourself and those around you, including wearing safety glasses and being careful not to let your fingers or hands get pinched. Second, magnets will always be easier to separate if a non-magnetic spacer is inserted between two magnets or a magnet and the surface it is attracted to. Wood, plastic, and even cardboard can all make great spacers. Third, remember that magnets are much easier to push apart than to pull apart. Work sideways and try to slide magnets apart before you try and pull them apart from each other.

If you have any more questions about magnetic safety and separating strong magnets, contact today.