soft iron

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A form of iron that contains little carbon, has high relative permeability, is easily magnetized and demagnetized, and has a small hysteresis loss. Soft iron and other soft ferromagnetic materials, such as silicon steel, are used in making parts exposed to rapid changes of magnetic flux, such as the cores of electromagnets, motors, generators, and transformers.

By comparison, hard ferromagnetic materials, such as cobalt steel and various alloys of nickel, aluminium, and cobalt, have low relative permeability, are difficult to magnetize, and have a high hysteresis loss. They are used in making permanent magnets.

Subjects: Physics.

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