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Permalloy is the term for a nickel iron magnetic alloy. Generically, it refers to an alloy with about 20% iron and 80% nickel content. Permalloy has a high magnetic permeability, low coercivity, near zero magnetostriction, and significant anisotropic magnetoresistance. The low magnetostriction is critical for industrial applications, where variable stresses in thin films would otherwise cause a ruinously large variation in magnetic properties. Permalloy's electrical resistivity generally varies within the range of 5% depending on the strength and the direction of an applied magnetic field.

Additional recommended knowledge

Permalloy is used in transformer laminations and magnetic recording head sensors. In its initial application, Permalloy was wrapped around the insulated copper conductors of telecommunication cables, reducing signal distortion through improved inductive compensation of cable capacitive reactance.

The right conditions for transmitting signals through cables without distortion were first worked out mathematically by Oliver Heaviside.[1] After a prolonged search, Permalloy was discovered in 1914 by Gustav Elmen of Bell Laboratories, who found it had higher permeability than silicon steel. Later, in 1923, he found its permeability could be greatly enhanced by heat treatment. Other compositions of Permalloy are available, designated by a numerical prefix denoting the percentage of nickel in the alloy, for example 45 Permalloy containing 45% nickel, and 55% iron. Molybdenum Permalloy is an alloy of 81% nickel, 17% iron and 2% molybdenum. The latter was invented at Bell Labs in 1940. At the time, when used in long distance copper telephone lines, it allowed a tenfold increase in maximum line working speed.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Bragg, L. Electricity (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1943) p. 212-3.
  2. ^ Bragg, L. Electricity (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1943) p. 212-3.
  • Richard M. Bozorth, Ferromagnetism, Wiley-IEEE Press (1993 reissue), ISBN 0-7803-1032-2.
  • P. Ciureanu and S. Middelhoek, eds., Thin Film Resistive Sensors, Institute of Physics Publishing (1992), ISBN 0-7503-0173-2.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Permalloy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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