While magnets are made out of a wide variety of materials, they all generate magnetic force fields that are capable of affecting other magnets and certain metals at a distance. This is because of the way the atoms inside the magnets all line up in the same orientation. Out of all the different types of magnets, none are more different than neodymium and hematite magnets.
The main difference between neodymium and hematite magnets is strength. Neodymium magnets are used to make some of the strongest magnets known. They are used in industrial and scientific applications. Hematite magnets are amongst the weakest magnets, and are suited to little more than making toys.
Another great difference between neodymium magnets and hematite magnets is in the way that the two materials respond to magnetic fields. Neodymium is a ferromagnetic material, meaning that it is a material that responds to magnets like iron does. It is attracted to magnets, and it forms magnetic fields itself very easily, and even spontaneously, by easily lining up its atoms so that they all spin the same way. Hematite is very nearly anti-ferromagnetic; it is only attracted to a magnet when heated up. Its atoms tend to force their neighbors to all line up in opposite ways, making it difficult for it to form magnetic fields. Instead, the magnetic fields of each atom tend to be cancelled out by those next to it. However, as this cancelling is not perfect, it is still able to form weak magnetic fields.
Neodymium magnets are metal, and they are colored silver, like most other metals. Hematite is not a metal, although it has some metal atoms in it. It is instead a mineral, formed primarily of iron oxide, specifically, the Fe2O3 oxide, which is common iron rust. Usually there are other elements mixed with it. Hematite magnets vary in color from red to gray to black
The material for these two types of magnets is formed in different ways. Neodymium is an element, and was formed by the same processes that formed all of the other elements of the Earth. Hematite is often formed on the surface of the Earth after iron-bearing minerals are exposed to the air and rain. It is sometimes formed in seas and lakes as well. It is a secondary product derived from the weathering of other naturally occurring minerals.
About the Author
Jason Thompson has been self-employed as a freelance writer since 2007. He has written advertisements, book and video game reviews, technical articles and thesis papers. He started working with Mechanical Turk and then started contracting with individuals and companies directly via the Web.