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Hard and Soft Magnetic Materials

Materials scientists generally classify magnetic materials as either permanent (hard) magnetic materials or temporary (soft) magnetic materials. Permanent magnetic materials are those traditionally referred to as ‘magnets’, and temporary magnetic materials are materials that acquire some of the properties of magnets when close to a magnetic field. Temprary magnetic materials include iron, and various alloys of steel, among other materials. The ability of a temporary magnet to amplify the strength of a permanent magnet is called permeability.