Every person would have played with a magnet at least once in their life. The ability of these metals to stick to some metals and push away similar magnets has always fascinated everyone. However, magnets have a certain scientific aspect that is very important.
A magnet is any piece of metal which when freely hung using a thread, comes to rest along the magnetic north-south direction of the earth. These pieces create a magnetic field around them, and they attract ferromagnetic substances. Similar poles of a magnet repel each other, and opposite poles attract each other.
We primarily divide magnets into natural magnets and man-made magnets. For example, some naturally found minerals due to the earth's magnetic field are magnetised and retain this magnetism for a long time. These are known as natural magnets. On the other hand, we use technology to make man-made or artificial magnets in industries or labs. Here magnetism can either be induced in a piece of metal by another magnet, or the metal piece can be magnetised using electricity.
A magnet has the following characteristics:
There are three types of magnets. They include
These are substances that become magnetic when they experience an external magnetic field. These include any piece of iron attached to a piece of magnet.
These are the magnets that do not lose their magnetic property once they are magnetised. There are huge applications of these magnets, and they hold importance in many processes.
The four common types of permanent magnets include:
When an electric current passes through a coil around a soft iron core, the current produces a magnetic field that magnetises the soft iron core, displaying the characteristics of a magnet. However, there is a limitation on the magnetic property, and it lasts till the current passes through the coil. Furthermore, the strength of the magnetic field is also dependent upon the electric current.
Magnets have the following properties:
The electrons in the metals have a spin which gives them a magnetic dipole. In normal situations, the spin orientation is such that the magnetic dipoles generated cancel each other out. However, when an electric field is applied, the electrons orient along a certain direction, providing a magnetic field.
Electric fields can produce magnetic fields and vice versa. This has been the principle for many electrical devices.
Magnets have a lot of industrial, commercial, scientific and educational applications. Some of these are: