Off the top of your head, can you name any powerful object? We can think of bulldozers, cranes, or a vehicle with high horsepower. See, it’s easy to forget magnets, even though they are among the most intriguing and powerful materials that naturally exist.
To shed more light, depending on their magnetic fields, magnets are so strong that they can deform or break objects at will. It’s impossible to see the magnetic fields, but you can see their effect if you use a magnetic material. We provide you with more fascinating magnet facts below:
1. Like Poles Repel, Unlike Poles Attract
When humans say they have chemistry with each other, they mean that they have common traits that allow them to coexist peacefully. The opposite is true for magnets: like poles repel while unlike poles attract.
Magnets have an invisible magnetic field that surrounds them. The fields are marked with lines that start from the north and end at the South Pole. At the same time, other lines start from the South and end at the North Pole.
However, the magnetic force is always stronger near the poles, where the lines are concentrated. With that in mind, placing magnets with like poles near each other causes repulsion because the lines of force are moving in opposite directions.
On the other hand, placing unlike poles close to each other will cause an attraction. This is because the magnetic force lines are moving in the same direction.
2. Magnets Can Generate Non-contact Force
In most situations, force exertion requires physical contact. However, magnets can attract or repel an object without contacting it. How strongly a magnet does this depends on the distance between the materials, type of magnetic object, and size.
Magnetic force is a result of electromagnetic force, which is 1 of the 4 fundamental forces of nature. As charges move, they magnetize objects. Magnetic fields have been known to damage media such as magnetic I.D. cards, videotapes, and even computer monitors.
3. The Earth is One Massive Magnet
While the earth’s crust is partially permanently magnetized, its core generates strong magnetic fields. Scientists say that this results from solidifying the planet’s liquid iron core, and its churning results in magnetic field generation surrounding it.
However, the earth’s magnetic field is weaker than a regular magnet bar; estimates show it is about 1000 times weaker. Earth, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn all have magnetic fields.
4. Cutting a Magnet in Half Makes 2 Magnets
A magnet cannot have isolated poles. For example, you cannot have a magnet bar having only the north poles. With that in mind, if you cut a magnetic bar in 2, you will have 2 magnets, each with north and south poles. The pair will attract and repel each other depending on their approach.
5. Magnets Only Attract Specific Metals
It’s easy to believe that all metals are magnetic – not all are. Examples of magnetic materials include cobalt, nickel, and iron. Others, like gold, silver, and aluminum, are not attracted to magnets, even though they are metals.
6. Different Types of Magnets Are Available
Magnets are either temporary or permanent. Temporary magnets become magnetized when exposed to magnetic fields. On the other hand, withdrawing them from this exposure causes them to lose their magnetism. Some iron alloys, such as nails and paper clips, are perfect examples of temporary magnets.
Even though some people classify electromagnets as separate magnet types, they are basically temporary magnets. These are made by winding wires to form loops around specific materials. Electrical current running through a solenoid is vital for this. If the energy stops, their magnetism disappears.
Unless forced to, permanent magnets do not readily lose their magnetism. Their chemical compounds and components occur naturally. They include alnico and ferrites from cobalt mixtures, nickel, and strontium.
7. Neutron Stars Are the Strongest Magnets
Neodymium magnets, or rare earth, are among the strongest permanent magnets. They became famous in the 80s, superseding most of the traditional magnets. However, scientists argue that the strongest magnets are not on Earth.
Recent studies show there are rare magnets known as Neutron stars or dead stars. This neutron’s small segment (magnetars) can produce about a trillion times what the Earth has. Since most of the research is in its early stages, the origin of this neutron is unclear.
8. Magnets Can Demagnetize
Magnets, even permanent ones, can lose their strength in a process known as demagnetization. This can be achieved by:
- Frequent dropping
- Repeatedly forcing like poles together
- Improperly passing an electric current through the magnetic material
9. Magnetic Strength is Measured in Tesla
Represented by the capital letter T, the tesla is the official unit of magnetic flux density. 1 tesla equals 1 Weber (magnetic flux’s representation) per square meter. A single tesla is also equal to 10000 gauss. It was named after the great inventor Nikola Tesla who lived between 1856 and 1943.