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Radioactivity and magnetism, help with an easy question

  1. Feb 22, 2005 #1
    First off im sorry for asking this question , as im sure im way off base. I collect high end pocket knives and some of the blades have become a little magnetized; so i found a demagnetizer that uses NdFeB30 magnets, which are rare earth? MY question is this, if i rub the demagnetiser over the blade will it get rid of all magnetism, but could it induce any radioactivity into the blade. Also is neodymium or boron radioactive? Thanks for the help, i just didnt want to walk around with a radioactive pocketknife. P.s Yes i do have a little OCD about radioactive material and radiation.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    F Gump,

    Your demagnetizer is not going to make anything radioactive.

    In order to make something radioactive - you have to alter the nucleus
    of the atoms which comprise the material. Your demagnetizer doesn't
    affect the atoms - and most certainly not the nucleus. It rearranges
    the magnetic domains in the material so that they are more random -
    hence, no net magnetic field.

    Radiation is all around you - the world is full of it. Courtesy of
    Idaho State University, here's a list of some of the sources, and how
    much you get from each:


    As you can see, 82% of your radiation exposure is natural - with 11%
    coming from the fact the YOU are radioactive.

    Medical uses of radiation and certain consumer products account for
    another ~18%.

    Industrial uses of radiation, nuclear power [ nuclear fuel cycle ] and
    nuclear weapons fallout - as you can see in the table, are "in the noise",
    each a small fraction of 1%.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
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