The science behind magnetism
MANY things around you work by magnetism or electromagnetism, in fact magnets are an essential part of today’s modern technology.
Magnetism is an invisible force caused by the unique properties of certain materials.
It occurs due to a magnetic field, produced by moving electrically charged particles.
The magnetic field of an object can create a magnetic force on other objects with magnetic fields. That force is what is called magnetism.
The magnetism of magnets
A magnet has two ends called poles, a north pole and a south pole.
The north pole of one magnet attracts the south pole of a second magnet, while the north pole of one magnet repels the other magnet’s north pole. Hence the saying – opposites attract.
The magnetic force in a magnet flows from the north pole to the south pole. This creates an invisible area of magnetism all around it called a magnetic field.
In magnets the molecules are arranged so that their electrons spin in the same direction. Only a few materials have the right type of structures to allow the electrons to line up just right to create a magnet.
Magnets that create and hold their own magnetic field all the time are permanent or hard magnets.
Temporary or soft magnets produce magnetic fields only in the presence of a magnetic field and for a short while after exiting the field. Electromagnets produce magnetic fields only when electricity travels through them.