How do magnets work?
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Q:

How do magnets work?

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Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

In most materials, the arrangement of atoms is such that the electrons cancel the magnetic orientation of each other. In the atomic makeup of ferromagnetic substances, areas known as domains are formed by smaller groups of atoms. In domains, the magnetic orientation of all the electrons is the same. If the domains in an object or material are aligned in one direction, it becomes a magnet.

At room temperature, there are only four elements that are ferromagnetic: cobalt, gadolinium, iron and nickel. Dysprosium is an element that is ferromagnetic only at low temperatures. In electromagnets, movement of electrons through a conducting material is responsible for the generation of the magnetic field.

Each magnet has two poles: the north pole and the south pole. Field lines that start from the north pole of the magnet and end at the south pole are used for representing the magnetic field of that magnet.

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Related Questions

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    What are some examples of magnets?

    A:

    One example of a magnet is a refrigerator magnet. These are also called permanent magnets because they always retain a certain degree of their magnetism. There some other general categories for magnets, such as temporary magnets and electromagnets.

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

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    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.

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    How do magnets attract each other?

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    One magnets attracts another magnet when it produces a magnetic field around itself. Depending on the charge of this field, a magnet may either attract or repel another magnet.

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    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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