January 6, 2020

Not only are magnets fun to play around with at school, in science class and at home when you’re a kid—they’re also in all sorts of things to make them work better. These magnets might seems magical, but they’re actually based in absolute science. However, if you missed that class at school or have forgotten, you might be wondering how magnets actually work. THey’re actually not that complicated at all, but if you want to know, we need to start at the beginning and work through the basics. So if you want to know the answer to the question, “how do magnets work?” Then you’re in the right place. In this article we’re going to look at the basics of magnets, how they work, and what you can use them for.

Magnets are used in loads of stuff around the house and beyond, like gyroscopes, compasses and much more. There are all sorts of equipment that can’t really be used without a magnet, so it’s good to know how the technology actually works. Knowing about magnets will help you be aware of what you can and can’t use them for, so let’s have a look:

How do magnets work?

A magnet can also be known as a permanent magnet, that’s because some other objects may become magnetized for a short period of time, whereas a permanent magnet is always magnetic. That’s what we’ll be talking about for the rest of this article.

A magnet is an item which has a magnetic field around it. This means it can be attracted and stick to other objects. These objects are normally always metal, but not all metals are magnetic. Mostly things that are either iron or contain iron are magnetic, and they can also be known as ferromagnetic metals. A lot of different things contain iron, like steel—-but not everything has the same level of magnetism. Cobalt and nickel are also ferromagnetic, as well as a few rarer types of metals. Copper and aluminum as well as most other types of metal are not magnetic.

With magnets, opposites attract. Each magnet has a north and a south pole, and these are attracted to the opposite pole on another magnetic item. So north attracts south and south attracts north. You can’t put two north poles together, and they will actively repel each other.

Your next question is probably, why? And that’s quite a complicated question to answer. Scientists still aren’t completely sure why it works this way, but it’s one of the fundamental forces of the universe like gravity. That’s just how it is. The earth has magnetic poles as well, which is how a compass uses a magnet to point to what direction you are. The magnet in a compass is attracted to the earth’s poles so that you know which way north is. This is actually inverted and the compass really uses a south magnet to point north, or the compass wouldn’t work. THis is simply labeled as north.

Some of the theories about why magnets work the way they do are based in advanced quantum physics.

A more classical theory is that magnetic clouds of energy form around particles. Another theory is that electrons emit particles which are so far undetectable and they tell other particles to move away or come closer.

However, there isn’t really an answer as to why these magnets have north and south poles, as well as why they work like they do. Changes can be observed, and magnets have been used in industry for centuries, but we still don’t really know exactly why they work like they do.

How to magnetize certain items

Steel screwdrivers might not be traditionally magnetic, but they can be temporarily “charged” or made magnetic for a short period. This can be useful when performing DIY as you can hold a screw in place to get to a trick position, or it could help you remove a screw from somewhere. Make sure the screwdriver is steel and it can retain some magnetism.

Get a neodymium magnet and stick it at the bottom of the screwdriver’s shaft. Then simply slide it down the screwdriver to the end and remove it straight away. Repeat a few more times from the base to the tip. Now your screwdriver will act as a magnet for a while. Make sure you don’t rub the magnet backward and forwards, it has to be taken off and then brought back to the base without interrupting the rest of the field.

You can also perform this sort of task with other steel objects, but doing so with a screwdriver has the most obvious practical benefits. You can also re-magnetize the needle in a compass as well as all sorts of other items.

Now you know a bit more about magnets and magnetism, you can decide how you want to use them or simply have a better idea of how the technology you use works. Magnets are simply, but in a way they’re still quite complicated. That’s because even after all this time, scientists aren’t completely sure how they work. But what is known is that they work consistently under the same principles. You might not know exactly why magnetics work, but it’s understandable enough to be reliable and consistent enough to work in all sorts of important tools and technology. Check how many items you’ve got that already have magnets in them or use magnetism to some degree, you might be surprised.

Magnets have been around for centuries now. That’s centuries in gadgets and technology like compasses. They’ve been around as long as the universe and earth have in some respect. The earth is actually a giant magnet. If you’d like to know a bit more about magnetism, you can do some further research online.

About the Author James S

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