About Those Magnets
The prototypes are in. The Bean Bag with a magnetic closure is definitely fun, and cutting edge. But, considering the sustainability of this version, we’re not on board quite yet.
Magnets are all over the place, and they sure are cool when you think about it. And very important for many uses. How would you tack your favorite quote up on the fridge without a magnet!
A magnet is created by mining some rare earth elements – neodymium, iron, boron… The ingredients are mixed, and heated until they melt. The mass is then cooled until solid, broken up, crushed, and then ground into a powder.
This powder is poured into molds where a magnetic force lines up the powder particles while the powder is compressed. The compressed shapes are then cooked at extremely high heat, which transforms them into the magnets we know and love.
Okay, so it’s a bit more complex than that – more heating, more cooling, a little bit more electromagnetic force to line up the atoms – but you get the picture. (Here’s a link to a more thorough description: how to make a magnet)
That’s a lot of materials mined and energy used for a bag closure. There’s also the shipping weight to consider.
We’ll keep researching, with an eye on developing a system that makes the magnet closure sustainable.
Next week, we’ll give you a brief look at how hook-and-loop (velcro) closures are made.