Pyramid Magnets in Medical Applications & Research
By: Michael Brand, President, SM Magnetics
The magnetic field profile of a pyramid magnet can be determined based upon the height of the pyramid, the angle of the sides, and the dimensions of the base and tip. This focused field offers many advantages to a variety of industries, but especially to the medical, R&D and academic communities.
A Great Pyramid Magnet Video
George Mizzell, VP of Engineering produced a video with great details and visuals showing the magnetic fields and profiles of different pyramid shapes. After reviewing the advantages & disadvantages below, check out this great video - Pyramid Magnets - Understanding how they work
Below is an overview of some of these advantages & disadvantages of pyramid magnets.
Focused Field at the Tip
Unlike standard magnet shapes, like rectangles, squares, discs and cylinders, a pyramid magnet’s magnetic field if more focused and enhanced. This focused field gives more precise and repeatable results for such areas as biological testing, and will be a constant parameter during research and data collection.
Uniform Field at the Base
While the tip of a pyramid magnet produces a more focused field, the base has a more uniform field in the center area. This uniform field has less magnetic strength but provides a larger area of uniformity than the tip.
No Power Required
Because a permanent magnet does not need power to generate a magnetic field like an electromagnet, researchers are using these strong magnets to conduct biological testing to determine the effects of magnetic fields in medical research, drugs and lab testing. Magnetic fields can change the dynamics of cell structure and composition, and pyramid magnets are a part of the research equipment furthering medical advancements. Immediate results of a magnetic field on cells can be seen almost immediatley after expose.
Assistance in Medical Devices
There are some size restrictions in manufacturing pyramid magnets, which usually makes them more appropriate for applications external of the body. However, external medical devices that gather data from sensors to provide positioning or other information find that pyramid magnets may be the correct shape due to their field profile.
Strong Pyramids Can Be Stronger Together
There are additional advantages when using two pyramid magnets facing each other with opposing poles. This pushes a magnetic field across the gap between the magnets that can be extremely uniform and constant. This is especially advantageous to medical lab testing where a known magnetic field is needed each time during testing. An example of this type of magnetic field can be found in a C-shaped design that we created for one of our academic customers who needed 2+ Tesla in a specific gap. You can view this design & another assembly by viewing our Dipole Assembly Collection.
A Natural Mechanical Hold
Finally, pyramid magnet can be paired up with steel to enhance the magnetic field further, and the shape of the magnet can allow the magnet to act as its own mechanical hold. Because the shape of the pyramid is a natural taper, it can be inserted in an assembly and have the taper acts as a mechanical hold. Of course, this is design dependent, so planning ahead on the requirements of the magnetic field will determine how the assembly is made. We can provide FEA and Simulation services if required for your project.
Cost of Manufacturing
Pyramid magnets require more machining and testing during production which adds to the cost. However, the increased cost of a pyramid magnet may be negated due to its uniformity, focused field, and ability to provide repeatable results. Learn more about our manufacturing methodologies we have implemented to benefit our customers.
Due to its shape, a pyramid magnet has limitation on how small it can be produced. Standards shapes, like squares, discs and cylinders can be made in micro sizes, however a pyramid magnet needs a larger amount of material to produce.
Whether you are a scientist, engineer or innovator involved in the research of new medical devices, drugs and research, pyramid magnets may offer the right solution.
About SM Magnetics: SM Magnetics is a privately-owned company which provides design assistance with magnets, magnetic circuit design, engineering support, and production. For more information, log on to our website, www.smmagnetics.com, or contact us at 205-621-8841