While magnetite has been an important raw material for iron and steel for centuries, scientists and engineers continue to discover innovative new uses for the mineral. Whether it’s creating newer, more effective sound-dampening for automobiles or developing traceable polymers, magnetite’s utility continues to grow into these new and exciting fields.
Engineers introduce magnetite to plastics and polymers to add mass or improve density. In the automotive industry, designers have long turned to ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) for use as sound dampeners. By adding magnetite to EVA, the auto industry is producing quieter rides without harsh ecological side effects.
Increasing functional density is another important use, and on oil platforms, magnetite finds use both as ballast and counterweights to improve stability. This is just one of potentially thousands of uses for magnetite-rich compounds to be used as ballast or counterweights in industrial systems.
Sometimes it’s important to increase the density of a material in order to improve an aesthetic feel of quality. This is often the case with injection-molded plastics and polymers, where a light material is high-strength but nevertheless feels “weak” due to its weight.
By adding magnetite to compounds where mass and density is important for both aesthetic and functional reasons, makers increase the heft of the product, resulting in a sense of quality or weightiness.
Consider polypropylene, nylons (polyamides) and polyethylene – three compounds from which myriad consumer and industrial products are fashioned. While sturdy, these materials are light. The addition of magnetite offers a boost in density and weight, adding heft and a sense of quality to these creations.
A new, emerging field where magnetite is finding wide adoption is as a filler to objects where the addition of magnetic properties to an otherwise inert compound is useful. By adding magnetite to plastics and rubbers, these materials can be infused with magnetic properties.
The application of these new compounds is vast, from using electronics or other sensors to track the movement of a material through a complex system to facilitating the removal of a compound at a particular point in a system. By adding magnetite to rubbers, plastics and other polymers, these materials become magnetically reactive while the host medium remains inert to magnets. That means it becomes easy to remove the magnetite compound from a system using simply magnetics, which is useful in such diverse applications as quality control in chemical factories to leak detection in plumbed systems.
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