Rayleigh law

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This article is about the magnetic law. For the stochastic distribution, see Rayleigh distribution. For optical scattering, see Rayleigh scattering. For wireless multipath propagation, see Rayleigh fading.

The Rayleigh law describes the behavior of ferromagnetic materials at low fields.

Ferromagnetic materials consist of magnetic domains. When a small external field H is applied, domains parallel to the external field start to grow. In this region, domain walls are moving. They are hindered by material defects. Lord Rayleigh investigated this first [1] and quantified the magnetization M as a linear and quadratic term in the field:

M = \chi_0 H + \alpha_R \mu_0 H^2.

Here \chi_0 is the initial susceptibility, describing the reversible part of magnetisation reversal. The Rayleigh constant \alpha_R describes the irreversible Barkhausen jumps.


  1. ^ Rayleigh, Lord (1887). "On the behaviour of iron and steel under the operation of feeble magnetic forces". Phil. Mag. 1 23: 225–248. doi:10.1080/14786448708628000. 
  • Kronmüller, Helmut; Fähnle, Manfred (2003). Micromagnetism and the microstructure of ferromagnetic solids. Cambridge University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-521-33135-8. 
  • Cullity (1972). Introduction to magnetic materials. Addison-Wesley. p. 342.