Q:

What are magnets used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Magnets are used in computer data storage, compasses, doorbells and alarm systems, microphones and speakers, motors, electrical generators and electrical transformers. They are also used to levitate objects, including trains that operate via magnetic propulsion. Naturally occurring magnetism protects the Earth from cosmic radiation.

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Full Answer

Magnets are also used in a variety of medical and veterinary applications. Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields to view internal organs, and electromagnetic fields promote the healing of broken bones. A similar treatment prevents bone loss in astronauts outside of Earth's gravity.

In veterinary medicine, magnets are used to treat hardware disease in cows. The condition occurs when cows swallow metal objects, which can puncture their organs. Cows can be fed magnets as a preventative; any metal objects swallowed will be drawn to the magnet instead of puncturing the cow's stomach. Magnets can also be used to ensure cows' feed is clear of metal objects before ingestion. Unlike in cows, swallowing magnets is a medical emergency for humans; they can perforate the intestines.

Other medical uses for magnets, such as applying magnets topically to treat pain, are not proven by scientific studies. Magnetized drinking water is similarly unproven; scientific studies show no evidence that it has any health benefits.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do magnets work?

    A:

    A magnet is an object or material that can produce a magnetic field of its own. That magnetic field is responsible for the property of magnets to attract or repel other magnets, and pull objects that are ferromagnetic, like iron. Electrons are the reason behind the production of magnetic fields and magnetism. In permanent magnets, spinning of electrons creates the magnetism.

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  • Q:

    Why do magnets repel each other?

    A:

    All magnets have both a north and a south pole, which causes them to either repel or attract one another depending on how the two poles are lined up. If the north pole of one magnet meets the south pole of another, the two will be attracted, but if either both north or south poles meet, the magnets will repel one another.

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  • Q:

    Who discovered magnets?

    A:

    Magnets have been known since antiquity and occur naturally through a mineral known as magnetite. Magnetite is an iron oxide and contains a high concentration of iron, which magnetizes when it forms. This mineral is also known as lodestone.

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  • Q:

    When do two magnets repel each other?

    A:

    Magnets have a north and south pole, and bringing two like poles together repels magnets while unlike poles attract each other. The distance in which two magnets begin to repel or attract each other is determined by the strength of the magnetic field.

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