Q:

What causes magnetism?

A:

Quick Answer

Magnetism is caused by the movement of tiny electric charges within atoms. When these electric charges align in the same direction, a north pole and south pole are created. North poles attract south poles, while equal poles repel each other.

Know More

Full Answer

Atoms consist of small electrical charges called protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons are positive, neutrons are electrically neutral and electrons are negative. The electrons circle the neutrons and protons, and each has a certain amount of spin. In many atoms, the electrons spin in opposite directions, which means that the total amount of spin is cancelled out.

In magnetic materials, however, the electrons spin in the same direction, and the material has the potential to become magnetic. If a material such as this is placed near a magnetic object, the electrons become aligned with their north and south poles facing opposite directions. When this happens, the material becomes a magnet.

When a north pole and south pole have been created, the magnet can be used to attract other magnets. If a north pole is placed within the magnetic field of the south pole of another magnet, there is a force of attraction. Magnetic fields are the invisible area of influence of a magnet.

Learn more about Magnetism

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the basic laws of magnetism?

    A:

    The most basic law of magnetism is that like poles repel one another and unlike poles attract each othe.r This is easily observed when attempting to place two magnets with the same pole together. However, there are also some additional rules for magnetism.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did William Gilbert discover about magnetism?

    A:

    William Gilbert was the first person who studied the movement of compass needles and correctly concluded that Earth was a magnetic planet with its magnetic poles corresponding to its geographic North and South Poles. He published a book titled "De Magnete, Magneticisque Corporibus, et de Magno Magnete Tellure" which compiled all known information about magnetism based on his work and the work of scientists before him.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does temperature affect magnetism?

    A:

    Temperature affects magnetism by either strengthening or weakening a magnet's attractive force. A magnet subjected to intense heat experiences a reduction in its magnetic field. Conversely, when the same magnet is exposed to low temperatures, its magnetic property is enhanced.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is one way you can destroy a magnet's magnetism?

    A:

    The NDT Resource Center describes exposing a magnet to a reversing and decreasing magnetic field as one way to remove its magnetic properties. This is not the most effective method of demagnetizing a magnet, but it is far simpler to perform than the most effective method, which involves heating the magnetic material to a high temperature. Exposing a magnet to a reversing magnetic field demagnetizes it almost completely.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore