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.

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