Summary
Coercivity, also called the magnetic coercivity, coercive field or coercive force, is a measure of the ability of a ferromagnetic material to withstand an external magnetic field without becoming demagnetized. Coercivity is usually measured in oersted or ampere/meter units and is denoted HC. An analogous property in electrical engineering and materials science, electric coercivity, is the ability of a ferroelectric material to withstand an external electric field without becoming depolarized. Ferromagnetic materials with high coercivity are called magnetically hard, and are used to make permanent magnets. Materials with low coercivity are said to be magnetically soft. The latter are used in transformer and inductor cores, recording heads, microwave devices, and magnetic shielding. Coercivity in a ferromagnetic material is the intensity of the applied magnetic field (H field) required to demagnetize that material, after the magnetization of the sample has been driven to saturation by a strong field. This demagnetizing field is applied opposite to the original saturating field. There are however different definitions of coercivity, depending on what counts as 'demagnetized', thus the bare term "coercivity" may be ambiguous: The normal coercivity, HCn, is the H field required to reduce the magnetic flux (average B field inside the material) to zero. The intrinsic coercivity, HCi, is the H field required to reduce the magnetization (average M field inside the material) to zero. The remanence coercivity, HCr, is the H field required to reduce the remanence to zero, meaning that when the H field is finally returned to zero, then both B and M also fall to zero (the material reaches the origin in the hysteresis curve). The distinction between the normal and intrinsic coercivity is negligible in soft magnetic materials, however it can be significant in hard magnetic materials. The strongest rare-earth magnets lose almost none of the magnetization at HCn.
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Hysteresis
Hysteresis is the dependence of the state of a system on its history. For example, a magnet may have more than one possible magnetic moment in a given magnetic field, depending on how the field changed in the past. Plots of a single component of the moment often form a loop or hysteresis curve, where there are different values of one variable depending on the direction of change of another variable. This history dependence is the basis of memory in a hard disk drive and the remanence that retains a record of the Earth's magnetic field magnitude in the past.
Coercivity
Coercivity, also called the magnetic coercivity, coercive field or coercive force, is a measure of the ability of a ferromagnetic material to withstand an external magnetic field without becoming demagnetized. Coercivity is usually measured in oersted or ampere/meter units and is denoted HC. An analogous property in electrical engineering and materials science, electric coercivity, is the ability of a ferroelectric material to withstand an external electric field without becoming depolarized.
Remanence
Remanence or remanent magnetization or residual magnetism is the magnetization left behind in a ferromagnetic material (such as iron) after an external magnetic field is removed. Colloquially, when a magnet is "magnetized", it has remanence. The remanence of magnetic materials provides the magnetic memory in magnetic storage devices, and is used as a source of information on the past Earth's magnetic field in paleomagnetism. The word remanence is from remanent + -ence, meaning "that which remains".
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