Fair-Rite Soft Ferrite Cores


The history of magnetism began with the discovery of the properties of a mineral called magnetite (Fe3o4). The most plentiful deposits were found in the district of Magnesia in Asia Minor (hence the mineral's name) where it was observed, centuries before the birth of Christ, that these naturally occurring stones would attract iron. Later on it found application in the lodestone of early navigators. In 1600 William Gilbert published De Magnete, the first scientific study on magnetism. In 1819 Hans Christian Oersted observed that an electric current in a wire affected a magnetic compass needle, thus with later contributions by Faraday, Maxwell, Hertz and others, the new science of electromagnetism came into being.

Even though the existence of naturally occurring magnetite, a weak type of hard ferrite, had been known since antiquity, producing an analogous soft magnetic material in the laboratory proved elusive. Research on magnetic oxides was going on concurrently during the 1930's, primarily in Japan and the Netherlands. However, it was not until 1945 that J.L. Snoek of the Philips' Research Laboratories in the Netherlands succeeded in producing a soft ferrite material for commercial applications.

Fair-Rite Products Corp. was not far behind in the manufacture and sale of soft ferrites for use in the electronics industry. It was formed in 1952 and officially started operations in 1953. The ensuing years have seen a rather crude product, which was available in only a few shapes and materials, develop into a major line of ferrite components for inductive devices, produced in many core configurations with a wide selection of materials. The application of ferrites in EMI suppression as shield beads and broadband chokes, where an effective resistive impedance is produced at high frequencies, has grown so fast in the last decade, that their use as EMI suppressors is limited only by the imagination of the end user.


The single most important characteristic of soft ferrites, as compared to other magnetic materials, is the high volume resistivity exhibited in the monolithic form. Since eddy current losses are inversely proportional to resistivity and these losses increase with the square of the frequency, high resistivity becomes an essential factor in magnetic materials intended for high frequency operation. The magnetic properties of ferrite components are isotropic, and by employing various pressing, injection molding, and/or grinding techniques, a wide range of complex shapes can be formed. There is no other class of magnetic material that canmatch soft ferrites in performance, cost and volumetric efficiency, over the range from audio frequencies to above 500 MHz.

During the last 50 years the basic constituents of ferrites have changed little, but purity of raw materials and process control have improved dramatically. Ferrites are ceramic materials with the general chemical formula MO.Fe2O3, where MO is one or more divalent metal oxides blended with 48 to 60 mole percent of iron oxide. Fair-Rite manufactures three broad groups of soft ferrite materials:

Manganese zinc (Fair-Rite 31, 33, 73, 75, 76, 77 and 78 material)

Nickel zinc (Fair-Rite 42, 43, 44, 51, 61, 67 and 68 material)

Manganese (Fair-Rite 85 material)

Manganese zinc ferrites are completely vitrified and have very low porosity. They have the highest permeabilities and exhibit volume resistivities ranging from one hundred to several thousand ohm-centimeter. Manganese zinc ferrite components are used in tuned circuits and magnetic power designs from the low kilohertz range into the broadcast spectrum. These ferrites have a linear expansion coefficient of approximately 10 ppm/degrees C.

The nickel zinc ferrites vary in porosity, and frequently contain oxides of other metals, such as those of magnesium, manganese, copper or cobalt. Volume resistivities range from several kilohm-centimeter to tens of megohm-centimeter. In general, they are used at higher frequencies (above 1 MHz), and are suitable for low flux density applications. Nickel zinc ferrites have a linear expansion coefficient of approximately 8 ppm/degrees C.

The manganese ferrite is a dense, temperature stable material displaying a high degree of squareness in its hysteresis loop. This makes this material uniquely suited for such applications as multiple output control in switched-mode power supplies and high frequency magnetic amplifiers.

As is evident from the flow diagram, there is considerable processing involved, and the manufacturing cycle will take a minimum of two weeks. The parts listed in the catalog represent a broad cross section of the wide variety of cores produced by Fair-Rite Products. Large OEM quantities are manufactured by Fair-Rite Products to order. Most of the more commonly used parts are stocked by our distributors, offering prompt deliveries. For a complete listing of distributors visit internet at www.fair-rite.com.

Many of the parts produced by Fair-Rite are made to customer specifications, welcome inquiries involving application specific designs, have the capability to design tooling rapidly, and have it fabricated..

* Footnote: The difference between hard and soft ferrite is not tactile, but rather a magnetic characteristic. Soft ferrite does not retain significant magnetization, whereas hard ferrite magnetization is considered permanent.

Product List
Site Map

775 Vincent Street
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Phone: (541) 342-4500 Fax: (541) 485-5566
E-MAIL sales@ncnwest.com HOME PAGE