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A magnet is a material or object that produces a
magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For instance, a vector field in the plane can be visualised as a collection of arrows with ...

magnetic field
. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other
ferromagnetic material Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first tr ...
s, such as
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
,
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appea ...

steel
,
nickel Nickel is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

nickel
,
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

cobalt
, etc. and attracts or repels other magnets. A permanent magnet is an object made from a material that is
magnetize Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For inst ...
d and creates its own persistent magnetic field. An everyday example is a
refrigerator magnet A refrigerator magnet or fridge magnet is a small magnet, often attached to an artistic or whimsical ornament (art), ornament, which may be used to post items such as shopping lists, Christmas cards, child art or reminders on a refrigerator door, ...
used to hold notes on a refrigerator door. Materials that can be magnetized, which are also the ones that are strongly attracted to a magnet, are called
ferromagnetic Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), formi ...
(or
ferrimagnetic A ferrimagnetic material is a material that has populations of atoms with opposing magnetic moment The magnetic moment is the magnetic strength and orientation of a or other object that produces a . Examples of objects that have magnetic m ...
). These include the elements
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
,
nickel Nickel is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

nickel
and
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

cobalt
and their alloys, some alloys of
rare-earth metals The rare-earth elements, also called the rare-earth metals or (in context) rare-earth oxides, or the lanthanides (though yttrium and scandium are usually included as rare-earths) are a set of 17 nearly indistinguishable lustrous silvery-white s ...
, and some naturally occurring minerals such as
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
. Although ferromagnetic (and ferrimagnetic) materials are the only ones attracted to a magnet strongly enough to be commonly considered magnetic, all other substances respond weakly to a magnetic field, by one of several other types of
magnetism Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For in ...

magnetism
. Ferromagnetic materials can be divided into magnetically "soft" materials like annealed
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
, which can be magnetized but do not tend to stay magnetized, and magnetically "hard" materials, which do. Permanent magnets are made from "hard" ferromagnetic materials such as
alnico Alnico is a family of s which in addition to iron are composed primarily of (Al), (Ni) and (Co), hence acronym ''al-ni-co''. They also include , and sometimes . Alnico alloys are , and are used to make s. Before the development of s in the 197 ...
and ferrite that are subjected to special processing in a strong magnetic field during manufacture to align their internal
microcrystalline A microcrystalline material is a crystallized substance or rock that contains small crystals visible only through microscopic The microscopic scale (from , ''mikrós'', "small" and σκοπέω, ''skopéō'' "look") is the scale of objects and ...

microcrystalline
structure, making them very hard to demagnetize. To demagnetize a saturated magnet, a certain magnetic field must be applied, and this threshold depends on
coercivity Image:B-H loop.png, upright=1.5, A family of hysteresis loops for grain-oriented electrical steel, a soft magnetic material. ''B''R denotes ''retentivity'' and ''H''C is the ''coercivity''. The wider the outside loop is, the higher the coercivity. ...

coercivity
of the respective material. "Hard" materials have high coercivity, whereas "soft" materials have low coercivity. The overall strength of a magnet is measured by its
magnetic moment The magnetic moment is the magnetic strength and orientation of a or other object that produces a . Examples of objects that have magnetic moments include: loops of (such as s), permanent magnets, s (such as s), various s, and many astronomical ...

magnetic moment
or, alternatively, the total
magnetic flux In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. " ...

magnetic flux
it produces. The local strength of magnetism in a material is measured by its
magnetization In classical electromagnetism Classical electromagnetism or classical electrodynamics is a branch of theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and s ...
. An
electromagnet File:VFPt Solenoid correct2.svg, Magnetic field produced by a solenoid (coil of wire). This drawing shows a cross section through the center of the coil. The crosses are wires in which current is moving into the page; the dots are wires in whi ...

electromagnet
is made from a coil of wire that acts as a magnet when an
electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, ...
passes through it but stops being a magnet when the current stops. Often, the coil is wrapped around a
core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular dev ...

core
of "soft" ferromagnetic material such as
mild steel Carbon steel is a steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fract ...
, which greatly enhances the magnetic field produced by the coil.


Discovery and development

Ancient people learned about magnetism from
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
s (or
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it i ...

magnetite
) which are naturally magnetized pieces of iron ore. The word ''
magnet A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For instance, a ve ...
'' was adopted in
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following ...
from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''magnetum'' "
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
", ultimately from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(''magnētis ithos') meaning "
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness Lightness is a visual perception of the luminance (L) of an object. It is often judged relative to a similarly lit object. ...

tone
from Magnesia", a part of ancient Greece where lodestones were found. Lodestones, suspended so they could turn, were the first
magnetic compass A compass is a magnetometer that shows the geographic cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of ...
es. The earliest known surviving descriptions of magnets and their properties are from Greece, India, and China around 2500 years ago. The properties of
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
s and their affinity for iron were written of by
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
in his encyclopedia ''
Naturalis Historia The ''Natural History'' ( la, Naturalis Historia) is a work by Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, ...
''. By the 12th to 13th centuries AD, magnetic
compass A compass is a device that shows the cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are perpendicular ( ...

compass
es were used in navigation in China, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere.


Physics


Magnetic field

The
magnetic flux density A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charge Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. There are two ...

magnetic flux density
(also called magnetic B field or just magnetic field, usually denoted B) is a
vector field In vector calculus Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation Differentiation may refer to: Business * Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products * Product ...

vector field
. The magnetic B field
vector Vector may refer to: Biology *Vector (epidemiology) In epidemiology Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and risk factor, determinants of health and disease conditions in defined pop ...
at a given point in space is specified by two properties: # Its ''direction'', which is along the orientation of a
compass needle A compass is a magnetometer that shows the geographic cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of ...

compass needle
. # Its ''magnitude'' (also called ''strength''), which is proportional to how strongly the compass needle orients along that direction. In
SI
SI
units, the strength of the magnetic B field is given in teslas.


Magnetic moment

A magnet's magnetic moment (also called magnetic dipole moment and usually denoted μ) is a
vector Vector may refer to: Biology *Vector (epidemiology) In epidemiology Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and risk factor, determinants of health and disease conditions in defined pop ...
that characterizes the magnet's overall magnetic properties. For a bar magnet, the direction of the magnetic moment points from the magnet's south pole to its north pole, and the magnitude relates to how strong and how far apart these poles are. In
SI
SI
units, the magnetic moment is specified in terms of A·m2 (amperes times meters squared). A magnet both produces its own magnetic field and responds to magnetic fields. The strength of the magnetic field it produces is at any given point proportional to the magnitude of its magnetic moment. In addition, when the magnet is put into an external magnetic field, produced by a different source, it is subject to a
torque In physics and mechanics, torque is the rotational equivalent of linear force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the na ...

torque
tending to orient the magnetic moment parallel to the field. The amount of this torque is proportional both to the magnetic moment and the external field. A magnet may also be subject to a force driving it in one direction or another, according to the positions and orientations of the magnet and source. If the field is uniform in space, the magnet is subject to no net force, although it is subject to a torque. A wire in the shape of a circle with area ''A'' and carrying
current Currents or The Current may refer to: Science and technology * Current (fluid) A current in a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. ...
''I'' has a magnetic moment of magnitude equal to ''IA''.


Magnetization

The magnetization of a magnetized material is the local value of its magnetic moment per unit volume, usually denoted M, with units
A
A
/
m
m
. It is a
vector field In vector calculus Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation Differentiation may refer to: Business * Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products * Product ...

vector field
, rather than just a vector (like the magnetic moment), because different areas in a magnet can be magnetized with different directions and strengths (for example, because of domains, see below). A good bar magnet may have a magnetic moment of magnitude 0.1 A·m2 and a volume of 1 cm3, or 1×10−6 m3, and therefore an average magnetization magnitude is 100,000 A/m. Iron can have a magnetization of around a million amperes per meter. Such a large value explains why iron magnets are so effective at producing magnetic fields.


Modelling magnets

Two different models exist for magnets: magnetic poles and atomic currents. Although for many purposes it is convenient to think of a magnet as having distinct north and south magnetic poles, the concept of poles should not be taken literally: it is merely a way of referring to the two different ends of a magnet. The magnet does not have distinct north or south particles on opposing sides. If a bar magnet is broken into two pieces, in an attempt to separate the north and south poles, the result will be two bar magnets, ''each'' of which has both a north and south pole. However, a version of the magnetic-pole approach is used by professional magneticians to design permanent magnets. In this approach, the
divergence In vector calculus Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with derivative, differentiation and integral, integration of vector fields, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space \mathbb^3. The term "vector calculus" is sometimes ...

divergence
of the magnetization ∇·M inside a magnet is treated as a distribution of
magnetic monopole In particle physics Particle physics (also known as high energy physics) is a branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is th ...
s. This is a mathematical convenience and does not imply that there are actually monopoles in the magnet. If the magnetic-pole distribution is known, then the pole model gives the magnetic field H. Outside the magnet, the field B is proportional to H, while inside the magnetization must be added to H. An extension of this method that allows for internal magnetic charges is used in theories of ferromagnetism. Another model is the Ampère model, where all magnetization is due to the effect of microscopic, or atomic, circular
bound current In classical electromagnetism, magnetization or magnetic polarization is the vector field that expresses the density of permanent or induced magnetic dipole moments in a magnetic material. Movement within this field is described by direction and ...
s, also called Ampèrian currents, throughout the material. For a uniformly magnetized cylindrical bar magnet, the net effect of the microscopic bound currents is to make the magnet behave as if there is a macroscopic sheet of
electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, ...
flowing around the surface, with local flow direction normal to the cylinder axis. Microscopic currents in atoms inside the material are generally canceled by currents in neighboring atoms, so only the surface makes a net contribution; shaving off the outer layer of a magnet will ''not'' destroy its magnetic field, but will leave a new surface of uncancelled currents from the circular currents throughout the material. The
right-hand rule In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

right-hand rule
tells which direction positively-charged current flows. However, current due to negatively-charged electricity is far more prevalent in practice.


Polarity

The north pole of a magnet is defined as the pole that, when the magnet is freely suspended, points towards the Earth's
North Magnetic Pole The north magnetic pole is a point on the surface of Earth's Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support li ...
in the Arctic (the magnetic and geographic poles do not coincide, see
magnetic declination #REDIRECT Magnetic declination Magnetic declination, or magnetic variation, is the angle on the horizontal plane between magnetic north (the direction the north end of a magnetized compass needle points, corresponding to the direction of the Ear ...

magnetic declination
). Since opposite poles (north and south) attract, the North Magnetic Pole is actually the ''south'' pole of the Earth's magnetic field. As a practical matter, to tell which
pole Pole may refer to: Astronomy *Celestial pole, the projection of the planet Earth's axis of rotation onto the celestial sphere; also applies to the axis of rotation of other planets *Pole star, a visible star that is approximately aligned with the ...
of a magnet is north and which is south, it is not necessary to use the Earth's magnetic field at all. For example, one method would be to compare it to an
electromagnet File:VFPt Solenoid correct2.svg, Magnetic field produced by a solenoid (coil of wire). This drawing shows a cross section through the center of the coil. The crosses are wires in which current is moving into the page; the dots are wires in whi ...

electromagnet
, whose poles can be identified by the
right-hand rule In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

right-hand rule
. The magnetic field lines of a magnet are considered by convention to emerge from the magnet's north pole and reenter at the south pole.


Magnetic materials

The term ''magnet'' is typically reserved for objects that produce their own persistent magnetic field even in the absence of an applied magnetic field. Only certain classes of materials can do this. Most materials, however, produce a magnetic field in response to an applied magnetic field – a phenomenon known as magnetism. There are several types of magnetism, and all materials exhibit at least one of them. The overall magnetic behavior of a material can vary widely, depending on the structure of the material, particularly on its
electron configuration In atomic physics and quantum chemistry Quantum chemistry, also called molecular quantum mechanics, is a branch of chemistry focused on the application of quantum mechanics to chemical systems. Understanding electronic structure and molecul ...
. Several forms of magnetic behavior have been observed in different materials, including: *
Ferromagnetic Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), formi ...
and
ferrimagnetic A ferrimagnetic material is a material that has populations of atoms with opposing magnetic moment The magnetic moment is the magnetic strength and orientation of a or other object that produces a . Examples of objects that have magnetic m ...
materials are the ones normally thought of as magnetic; they are attracted to a magnet strongly enough that the attraction can be felt. These materials are the only ones that can retain magnetization and become magnets; a common example is a traditional
refrigerator magnet A refrigerator magnet or fridge magnet is a small magnet, often attached to an artistic or whimsical ornament (art), ornament, which may be used to post items such as shopping lists, Christmas cards, child art or reminders on a refrigerator door, ...
. Ferrimagnetic materials, which include ferrites and the oldest magnetic materials
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it i ...

magnetite
and
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
, are similar to but weaker than ferromagnetics. The difference between ferro- and ferrimagnetic materials is related to their microscopic structure, as explained in
Magnetism Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For in ...

Magnetism
. *
Paramagnetic Paramagnetism is a form of magnetism Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, a ...
substances, such as
platinum Platinum is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical el ...

platinum
,
aluminum Aluminium (aluminum in American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the Uni ...

aluminum
, and
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
, are weakly attracted to either pole of a magnet. This attraction is hundreds of thousands of times weaker than that of ferromagnetic materials, so it can only be detected by using sensitive instruments or using extremely strong magnets. Magnetic
ferrofluid Ferrofluid is a liquid that is attracted to the poles of a magnet Magnetic field lines of a solenoid electromagnet, which are similar to a bar magnet as illustrated below with the iron filings A magnet is a material or object that produ ...

ferrofluid
s, although they are made of tiny ferromagnetic particles suspended in liquid, are sometimes considered paramagnetic since they cannot be magnetized. *
Diamagnetic Diamagnetic materials are repelled by a magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For instance, a vector field in t ...
means repelled by both poles. Compared to paramagnetic and ferromagnetic substances, diamagnetic substances, such as
carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a with the C and 6. It is lic and —making four s available to form s. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three occur naturally, ...

carbon
,
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
,
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known li ...

water
, and
plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or s ...

plastic
, are even more weakly repelled by a magnet. The permeability of diamagnetic materials is less than the permeability of a vacuum. All substances not possessing one of the other types of magnetism are diamagnetic; this includes most substances. Although force on a diamagnetic object from an ordinary magnet is far too weak to be felt, using extremely strong
superconducting magnet A superconducting magnet is an electromagnet Magnetic field produced by a solenoid (coil of wire). This drawing shows a cross section through the center of the coil. The crosses are wires in which current is moving into the page; the dots ar ...
s, diamagnetic objects such as pieces of
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
and even mice can be levitated, so they float in mid-air.
Superconductors Superconductivity is a set of physical properties observed in certain materials where electrical resistance The electrical resistance of an object is a measure of its opposition to the flow of electric current An electric current is a st ...

Superconductors
repel magnetic fields from their interior and are strongly diamagnetic. There are various other types of magnetism, such as
spin glass In condensed matter physics Condensed matter physics is the field of that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of , especially the and which arise from forces between s. More generally, the subject deals with "co ...
,
superparamagnetism Superparamagnetism is a form of magnetism which appears in small ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic nanoparticles. In sufficiently small nanoparticles, magnetization can randomly flip direction under the influence of temperature. The typical time bet ...
,
superdiamagnetism Superdiamagnetism (or perfect diamagnetism) is a phenomenon occurring in certain materials at low temperatures, characterised by the complete absence of magnetic permeability (i.e. a volume magnetic susceptibility \chi_ = −1) and the exclusion ...
, and
metamagnetism Metamagnetism is a sudden (often, dramatic) increase in the magnetization of a material with a small change in an externally applied magnetic field. The metamagnetic behavior may have quite different physical causes for different types of metamagnet ...
.


Common uses

* Magnetic recording media:
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a for consumer-level on tape . From the 1950s, video recording became a major contributor to the television industry, via the first commercialized s (VTRs). At that time, the expensive devices were used only i ...

VHS
tapes contain a reel of
magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that record and playback audio and video using magnetic tape are s and s respectively. A ...

magnetic tape
. The information that makes up the video and sound is encoded on the magnetic coating on the tape. Common
audio cassettes The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog audio, analog magnetic tape recording format for Sound recording and reproduction, audio r ...
also rely on magnetic tape. Similarly, in computers,
floppy disk A floppy disk or floppy diskette (sometimes casually referred to as a floppy or diskette) is a type of disk storage Disk storage (also sometimes called drive storage) is a general category of storage mechanisms where data is recorded by vario ...

floppy disk
s and
hard disk A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data stora ...

hard disk
s record data on a thin magnetic coating. *
Credit px, Domestic credit to private sector in 2005 Credit (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, k ...

Credit
,
debit Debits and credits in double entry bookkeeping are entries made in account ledger A ledger is a book or collection of accounts in which account transactions are recorded. Each account has an opening or carry-forward balance Balance may refe ...
, and
automatic teller machine An automated teller machine (ATM) or cash machine (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergo ...
cards: All of these cards have a magnetic strip on one side. This strip encodes the information to contact an individual's financial institution and connect with their account(s). * Older types of
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
s (non flat screen) and older large
computer monitor A computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial or text form. A monitor usually comprises a electronic visual display, visual display, electronic circuit, some circuitry, a casing, and a power supply. The display de ...

computer monitor
s: TV and computer screens containing a
cathode ray tube A cathode-ray tube (CRT) is a vacuum tube A vacuum tube, electron tube, valve (British usage), or tube (North America), is a device that controls electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons ...

cathode ray tube
employ an electromagnet to guide electrons to the screen. *
Speakers Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech Electronics * Loudspeaker, a device that produces sound ** Computer ...

Speakers
and
microphone A microphone, colloquially called a mic or mike (), is a device – a transducer A transducer is a device that energy from one form to another. Usually a transducer converts a in one form of energy to a signal in another. Transducers ar ...

microphone
s: Most speakers employ a permanent magnet and a current-carrying coil to convert electric energy (the signal) into mechanical energy (movement that creates the sound). The coil is wrapped around a
bobbin A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without s, on which , , thread or is wound. Bobbins are typically found in s, s, and within equipment. In non-electrical applications the bobbin is used for and tidy storage without tangles. In ...
attached to the speaker
cone A cone is a three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek wikt:πα ...
and carries the signal as changing current that interacts with the field of the permanent magnet. The
voice coil A voice coil (consisting of a former A former is an object, such as a template, gauge Gauge (US: , UK: or ) may refer to: Measurement * Gauge (instrument), any of a variety of measuring instruments * Gauge block Gauge blocks (also kno ...
feels a magnetic force and in response, moves the cone and pressurizes the neighboring air, thus generating
sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...

sound
. Dynamic microphones employ the same concept, but in reverse. A microphone has a diaphragm or membrane attached to a coil of wire. The coil rests inside a specially shaped magnet. When sound vibrates the membrane, the coil is vibrated as well. As the coil moves through the magnetic field, a voltage is induced across the coil. This voltage drives a current in the wire that is characteristic of the original sound. *
Electric guitars An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the stri ...

Electric guitars
use magnetic to transduce the vibration of guitar strings into electric current that can then be amplified. This is different from the principle behind the speaker and dynamic microphone because the vibrations are sensed directly by the magnet, and a diaphragm is not employed. The
Hammond organ The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and first manufactured in 1935. Multiple models have been produced, most of which use sliding #Drawbars, drawbars to vary sounds. Until 1975, Hammond organs ...
used a similar principle, with rotating
tonewheel A tonewheel or tone wheel is a simple electromechanical apparatus for generating electric musical note In music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the u ...
s instead of strings. * s and generators: Some electric motors rely upon a combination of an electromagnet and a permanent magnet, and, much like loudspeakers, they convert electric energy into mechanical energy. A generator is the reverse: it converts mechanical energy into electric energy by moving a conductor through a magnetic field. *
Medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

Medicine
: Hospitals use
magnetic resonance imaging Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging Medical imaging is the technique and process of imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of a ...
to spot problems in a patient's organs without invasive surgery. * Chemistry: Chemists use
nuclear magnetic resonance Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a physical phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ...
to characterize synthesized compounds. *
Chucks Chuck Taylor All-Stars or Converse All Stars (also referred to as "Converse", "Chuck Taylors", "Chucks", "Cons", "All Stars", and "Chucky Ts") is a model of casual shoe manufactured by Converse (shoe company), Converse (a subsidiary of Nike, Inc ...
are used in the
metalworking Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearan ...
field to hold objects. Magnets are also used in other types of fastening devices, such as the magnetic base, the magnetic clamp and the
refrigerator magnet A refrigerator magnet or fridge magnet is a small magnet, often attached to an artistic or whimsical ornament (art), ornament, which may be used to post items such as shopping lists, Christmas cards, child art or reminders on a refrigerator door, ...
. *
Compass A compass is a device that shows the cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are perpendicular ( ...

Compass
es: A compass (or mariner's compass) is a magnetized pointer free to align itself with a magnetic field, most commonly
Earth's magnetic field Earth's magnetic field, also known as the geomagnetic field, is the magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. Fo ...
. *
Art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

Art
: Vinyl magnet sheets may be attached to paintings, photographs, and other ornamental articles, allowing them to be attached to refrigerators and other metal surfaces. Objects and paint can be applied directly to the magnet surface to create collage pieces of art. Magnetic art is portable, inexpensive and easy to create. Vinyl magnetic art is not for the refrigerator anymore. Colorful metal magnetic boards, strips, doors, microwave ovens, dishwashers, cars, metal I beams, and any metal surface can be receptive of magnetic vinyl art. Being a relatively new media for art, the creative uses for this material is just beginning. *
Science project A science project is an educational activity for students involving experiments or construction of models in one of the science disciplines. Students may present their science project at a science fair, so they may also call it a science fair proj ...
s: Many topic questions are based on magnets, including the repulsion of current-carrying wires, the effect of temperature, and motors involving magnets. *
Toy A toy is an item that is used primarily by children though may also be marketed to adults under certain circumstances. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life experiences. Different materials like wood, ...

Toy
s: Given their ability to counteract the force of gravity at close range, magnets are often employed in children's toys, such as the Magnet Space Wheel and Levitron, to amusing effect. *
Refrigerator magnet A refrigerator magnet or fridge magnet is a small magnet, often attached to an artistic or whimsical ornament (art), ornament, which may be used to post items such as shopping lists, Christmas cards, child art or reminders on a refrigerator door, ...
s are used to adorn kitchens, as a
souvenir A souvenir (from French, meaning "a remembrance or memory"), memento, keepsake, or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. A souvenir can be any object that can be collected or purchas ...

souvenir
, or simply to hold a note or photo to the refrigerator door. * Magnets can be used to make jewelry. Necklaces and bracelets can have a magnetic clasp, or may be constructed entirely from a linked series of magnets and ferrous beads. * Magnets can pick up magnetic items (iron nails, staples, tacks, paper clips) that are either too small, too hard to reach, or too thin for fingers to hold. Some screwdrivers are magnetized for this purpose. * Magnets can be used in scrap and salvage operations to separate magnetic metals (iron, cobalt, and nickel) from non-magnetic metals (aluminum, non-ferrous alloys, etc.). The same idea can be used in the so-called "magnet test", in which an auto body is inspected with a magnet to detect areas repaired using fiberglass or plastic putty. * Magnets are found in process industries, food manufacturing especially, in order to remove metal foreign bodies from materials entering the process (raw materials) or to detect a possible contamination at the end of the process and prior to packaging. They constitute an important layer of protection for the process equipment and for the final consumer. * Magnetic levitation transport, or
maglev Maglev (from ''magnetic levitation Magnetic levitation (maglev) or magnetic suspension is a method by which an object is levitation, suspended with no support other than magnetic fields. Lorentz force, Magnetic force is used to counteract ...
, is a form of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles (especially trains) through electromagnetic force. Eliminating
rolling resistance Rolling resistance, sometimes called rolling friction or rolling drag, is the force resisting the motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object chang ...
increases efficiency. The maximum recorded speed of a maglev train is . * Magnets may be used to serve as a
fail-safe In engineering, a fail-safe is a design feature or practice that in the event of a specific type of failure The 1895 alt= Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective (goal), objective, and may be viewed a ...
device for some cable connections. For example, the power cords of some laptops are magnetic to prevent accidental damage to the port when tripped over. The MagSafe power connection to the Apple MacBook is one such example.


Medical issues and safety

Because human tissues have a very low level of susceptibility to static magnetic fields, there is little mainstream scientific evidence showing a health effect associated with exposure to static fields. Dynamic magnetic fields may be a different issue, however; correlations between electromagnetic radiation and cancer rates have been postulated due to demographic correlations (see
Electromagnetic radiation and health Electromagnetic radiation can be classified into two types: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation, based on the capability of a single photon with more than 10 electronvolt, eV energy to ionize atoms or break chemical bonds. Extre ...
). If a ferromagnetic foreign body is present in human tissue, an external magnetic field interacting with it can pose a serious safety risk. A different type of indirect magnetic health risk exists involving pacemakers. If a
pacemaker A cardiac pacemaker (or artificial pacemaker, so as not to be confused with the natural pacemaker of the heart The heart is a muscle, muscular Organ (anatomy), organ in most animals, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the cir ...

pacemaker
has been embedded in a patient's chest (usually for the purpose of monitoring and regulating the heart for steady electrically induced beats), care should be taken to keep it away from magnetic fields. It is for this reason that a patient with the device installed cannot be tested with the use of a magnetic resonance imaging device. Children sometimes swallow small magnets from toys, and this can be hazardous if two or more magnets are swallowed, as the magnets can pinch or puncture internal tissues. Magnetic imaging devices (e.g. MRIs) generate enormous magnetic fields, and therefore rooms intended to hold them exclude ferrous metals. Bringing objects made of ferrous metals (such as oxygen canisters) into such a room creates a severe safety risk, as those objects may be powerfully thrown about by the intense magnetic fields.


Magnetizing ferromagnets

Ferromagnetic Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), formi ...
materials can be magnetized in the following ways: * Heating the object higher than its
Curie temperature In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior throug ...
, allowing it to cool in a magnetic field and hammering it as it cools. This is the most effective method and is similar to the industrial processes used to create permanent magnets. * Placing the item in an external magnetic field will result in the item retaining some of the magnetism on removal.
Vibration Vibration is a mechanical phenomenon whereby oscillation Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparentl ...

Vibration
has been shown to increase the effect. Ferrous materials aligned with the Earth's magnetic field that are subject to vibration (e.g., frame of a conveyor) have been shown to acquire significant residual magnetism. Likewise, striking a steel nail held by fingers in a N-S direction with a hammer will temporarily magnetize the nail. * Stroking: An existing magnet is moved from one end of the item to the other repeatedly in the same direction (''single touch'' method) or two magnets are moved outwards from the center of a third (''double touch'' method). * Electric Current: The magnetic field produced by passing an electric current through a coil can get domains to line up. Once all of the domains are lined up, increasing the current will not increase the magnetization.


Demagnetizing ferromagnets

Magnetized ferromagnetic materials can be demagnetized (or degaussed) in the following ways: *
Heat In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these ...

Heat
ing a magnet past its
Curie temperature In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior throug ...
; the molecular motion destroys the alignment of the magnetic domains. This always removes all magnetization. * Placing the magnet in an alternating magnetic field with intensity above the material's
coercivity Image:B-H loop.png, upright=1.5, A family of hysteresis loops for grain-oriented electrical steel, a soft magnetic material. ''B''R denotes ''retentivity'' and ''H''C is the ''coercivity''. The wider the outside loop is, the higher the coercivity. ...

coercivity
and then either slowly drawing the magnet out or slowly decreasing the magnetic field to zero. This is the principle used in commercial demagnetizers to demagnetize tools, erase credit cards,
hard disk A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data stora ...

hard disk
s, and degaussing coils used to demagnetize Cathode ray tube, CRTs. * Some demagnetization or reverse magnetization will occur if any part of the magnet is subjected to a reverse field above the magnetic material's
coercivity Image:B-H loop.png, upright=1.5, A family of hysteresis loops for grain-oriented electrical steel, a soft magnetic material. ''B''R denotes ''retentivity'' and ''H''C is the ''coercivity''. The wider the outside loop is, the higher the coercivity. ...

coercivity
. * Demagnetization progressively occurs if the magnet is subjected to cyclic fields sufficient to move the magnet away from the linear part on the second quadrant of the B–H curve of the magnetic material (the demagnetization curve). * Hammering or jarring: mechanical disturbance tends to randomize the magnetic domains and reduce magnetization of an object, but may cause unacceptable damage.


Types of permanent magnets


Magnetic metallic elements

Many materials have unpaired electron spins, and the majority of these materials are paramagnetic. When the spins interact with each other in such a way that the spins align spontaneously, the materials are called ferromagnetic (what is often loosely termed as magnetic). Because of the way their regular crystalline atomic structure causes their spins to interact, some metals are ferromagnetic when found in their natural states, as ores. These include iron ore (
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it i ...

magnetite
or
lodestone of the Smithsonian Image:Lodestone (black).jpg, Lodestone attracting small bits of iron A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and min ...
),
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

cobalt
and
nickel Nickel is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

nickel
, as well as the rare earth metals gadolinium and dysprosium (when at a very low temperature). Such naturally occurring ferromagnets were used in the first experiments with magnetism. Technology has since expanded the availability of magnetic materials to include various man-made products, all based, however, on naturally magnetic elements.


Composites

Ceramic, or ferrite (magnet), ferrite, magnets are made of a sintered alloy, composite of powdered iron oxide and Barium carbonate, barium/strontium carbonate ceramic. Given the low cost of the materials and manufacturing methods, inexpensive magnets (or non-magnetized ferromagnetic cores, for use in electronic components such as Antenna (radio)#Loop, portable AM radio antennas) of various shapes can be easily mass-produced. The resulting magnets are non-corroding but brittle and must be treated like other ceramics. Alnico magnets are made by casting (metalworking), casting or sintering a combination of aluminium,
nickel Nickel is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

nickel
and
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

cobalt
with
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
and small amounts of other elements added to enhance the properties of the magnet. Sintering offers superior mechanical characteristics, whereas casting delivers higher magnetic fields and allows for the design of intricate shapes. Alnico magnets resist corrosion and have physical properties more forgiving than ferrite, but not quite as desirable as a metal. Trade names for alloys in this family include: ''Alni, Alcomax, Hycomax, Columax'', and ''Ticonal''. Injection molding, Injection-molded magnets are a mixture, composite of various types of resin and magnetic powders, allowing parts of complex shapes to be manufactured by injection molding. The physical and magnetic properties of the product depend on the raw materials, but are generally lower in magnetic strength and resemble
plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or s ...

plastic
s in their physical properties. Flexible magnets are composed of a high-
coercivity Image:B-H loop.png, upright=1.5, A family of hysteresis loops for grain-oriented electrical steel, a soft magnetic material. ''B''R denotes ''retentivity'' and ''H''C is the ''coercivity''. The wider the outside loop is, the higher the coercivity. ...

coercivity
ferromagnetic compound (usually ferric oxide) mixed with a plastic binder. This is extruded as a sheet and passed over a line of powerful cylindrical permanent magnets. These magnets are arranged in a stack with alternating magnetic poles facing up (N, S, N, S...) on a rotating shaft. This impresses the plastic sheet with the magnetic poles in an alternating line format. No electromagnetism is used to generate the magnets. The pole-to-pole distance is on the order of 5 mm, but varies with manufacturer. These magnets are lower in magnetic strength but can be very flexible, depending on the binder used.


Rare-earth magnets

Rare earth (lanthanoid) elements have a partially occupied ''f'' electron shell (which can accommodate up to 14 electrons). The spin of these electrons can be aligned, resulting in very strong magnetic fields, and therefore, these elements are used in compact high-strength magnets where their higher price is not a concern. The most common types of rare-earth magnets are samarium–cobalt magnet, samarium–cobalt and neodymium magnet, neodymium–iron–boron (NIB) magnets.


Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) and single-chain magnets (SCMs)

In the 1990s, it was discovered that certain molecules containing paramagnetic metal ions are capable of storing a magnetic moment at very low temperatures. These are very different from conventional magnets that store information at a magnetic domain level and theoretically could provide a far denser storage medium than conventional magnets. In this direction, research on monolayers of SMMs is currently under way. Very briefly, the two main attributes of an SMM are: # a large ground state spin value (''S''), which is provided by ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic coupling between the paramagnetic metal centres # a negative value of the anisotropy of the zero field splitting (''D'') Most SMMs contain manganese but can also be found with vanadium, iron, nickel and cobalt clusters. More recently, it has been found that some chain systems can also display a magnetization that persists for long times at higher temperatures. These systems have been called single-chain magnets.


Nano-structured magnets

Some nano-structured materials exhibit energy waves, called magnons, that coalesce into a common ground state in the manner of a Bose–Einstein condensate.


Rare-earth-free permanent magnets

The United States Department of Energy has identified a need to find substitutes for rare-earth metals in permanent-magnet technology, and has begun funding such research. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has sponsored a Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT) program to develop alternative materials. In 2011, ARPA-E awarded 31.6 million dollars to fund Rare-Earth Substitute projects.


Costs

The cheapest permanent magnets, allowing for field strengths, are flexible and ceramic magnets, but these are also among the weakest types. The ferrite magnets are mainly low-cost magnets since they are made from cheap raw materials: iron oxide and Ba- or Sr-carbonate. However, a new low cost magnet, Mn–Al alloy, has been developed and is now dominating the low-cost magnets field. It has a higher saturation magnetization than the ferrite magnets. It also has more favorable temperature coefficients, although it can be thermally unstable. neodymium magnet, Neodymium–iron–boron (NIB) magnets are among the strongest. These cost more per kilogram than most other magnetic materials but, owing to their intense field, are smaller and cheaper in many applications.


Temperature

Temperature sensitivity varies, but when a magnet is heated to a temperature known as the Curie point, it loses all of its magnetism, even after cooling below that temperature. The magnets can often be remagnetized, however. Additionally, some magnets are brittle and can fracture at high temperatures. The maximum usable temperature is highest for alnico magnets at over , around for ferrite and SmCo, about for NIB and lower for flexible ceramics, but the exact numbers depend on the grade of material.


Electromagnets

An electromagnet, in its simplest form, is a wire that has been coiled into one or more loops, known as a solenoid. When electric current flows through the wire, a magnetic field is generated. It is concentrated near (and especially inside) the coil, and its field lines are very similar to those of a magnet. The orientation of this effective magnet is determined by the right hand rule. The magnetic moment and the magnetic field of the electromagnet are proportional to the number of loops of wire, to the cross-section of each loop, and to the current passing through the wire. If the coil of wire is wrapped around a material with no special magnetic properties (e.g., cardboard), it will tend to generate a very weak field. However, if it is wrapped around a soft ferromagnetic material, such as an iron nail, then the net field produced can result in a several hundred- to thousandfold increase of field strength. Uses for electromagnets include particle accelerators, electric motors, junkyard cranes, and
magnetic resonance imaging Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging Medical imaging is the technique and process of imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of a ...
machines. Some applications involve configurations more than a simple magnetic dipole; for example, quadrupole magnet, quadrupole and sextupole magnets are used to strong focusing, focus particle beams.


Units and calculations

For most engineering applications, MKS (rationalized) or (Système International) units are commonly used. Two other sets of units, Gaussian units, Gaussian and CGS#Electromagnetic units (EMU), CGS-EMU, are the same for magnetic properties and are commonly used in physics. In all units, it is convenient to employ two types of magnetic field, B and H, as well as the
magnetization In classical electromagnetism Classical electromagnetism or classical electrodynamics is a branch of theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and s ...
M, defined as the magnetic moment per unit volume. # The magnetic induction field B is given in SI units of teslas (T). B is the magnetic field whose time variation produces, by Faraday's Law, circulating electric fields (which the power companies sell). B also produces a deflection force on moving charged particles (as in TV tubes). The tesla is equivalent to the magnetic flux (in webers) per unit area (in meters squared), thus giving B the unit of a flux density. In CGS, the unit of B is the gauss (G). One tesla equals 104 G. # The magnetic field H is given in SI units of ampere-turns per meter (A-turn/m). The ''turns'' appear because when H is produced by a current-carrying wire, its value is proportional to the number of turns of that wire. In CGS, the unit of H is the oersted (Oe). One A-turn/m equals 4π×10−3 Oe. # The magnetization M is given in SI units of amperes per meter (A/m). In CGS, the unit of M is the oersted (Oe). One A/m equals 10−3 emu/cm3. A good permanent magnet can have a magnetization as large as a million amperes per meter. # In SI units, the relation B = ''μ''0(H + M) holds, where ''μ''0 is the permeability of space, which equals 4π×10−7 T•m/A. In CGS, it is written as B = H + 4πM. (The pole approach gives ''μ''0H in SI units. A ''μ''0M term in SI must then supplement this ''μ''0H to give the correct field within B, the magnet. It will agree with the field B calculated using Ampèrian currents). Materials that are not permanent magnets usually satisfy the relation M = ''χ''H in SI, where ''χ'' is the (dimensionless) magnetic susceptibility. Most non-magnetic materials have a relatively small ''χ'' (on the order of a millionth), but soft magnets can have ''χ'' on the order of hundreds or thousands. For materials satisfying M = ''χ''H, we can also write B = ''μ''0(1 + ''χ'')H = ''μ''0''μ''rH = ''μ''H, where ''μ''r = 1 + ''χ'' is the (dimensionless) relative permeability and μ =μ0μr is the magnetic permeability. Both hard and soft magnets have a more complex, history-dependent, behavior described by what are called Magnetic hysteresis, hysteresis loops, which give either B vs. H or M vs. H. In CGS, M = ''χ''H, but ''χ''SI = 4''πχ''CGS, and μ = μr. Caution: in part because there are not enough Roman and Greek symbols, there is no commonly agreed-upon symbol for magnetic pole strength and magnetic moment. The symbol ''m'' has been used for both pole strength (unit A•m, where here the upright m is for meter) and for magnetic moment (unit A•m2). The symbol ''μ'' has been used in some texts for magnetic permeability and in other texts for magnetic moment. We will use ''μ'' for magnetic permeability and ''m'' for magnetic moment. For pole strength, we will employ ''q''''m''. For a bar magnet of cross-section ''A'' with uniform magnetization ''M'' along its axis, the pole strength is given by ''qm'' = ''MA'', so that ''M'' can be thought of as a pole strength per unit area.


Fields of a magnet

Far away from a magnet, the magnetic field created by that magnet is almost always described (to a good approximation) by a dipole, dipole field characterized by its total magnetic moment. This is true regardless of the shape of the magnet, so long as the magnetic moment is non-zero. One characteristic of a dipole field is that the strength of the field falls off inversely with the cube of the distance from the magnet's center. Closer to the magnet, the magnetic field becomes more complicated and more dependent on the detailed shape and magnetization of the magnet. Formally, the field can be expressed as a multipole expansion: A dipole field, plus a quadrupole, quadrupole field, plus an octupole field, etc. At close range, many different fields are possible. For example, for a long, skinny bar magnet with its north pole at one end and south pole at the other, the magnetic field near either end falls off inversely with Inverse-square law, the square of the distance from that pole.


Calculating the magnetic force


Pull force of a single magnet

The strength of a given magnet is sometimes given in terms of its ''pull force'' — its ability to pull
ferromagnetic Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials (such as iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), formi ...
objects. The pull force exerted by either an electromagnet or a permanent magnet with no air gap (i.e., the ferromagnetic object is in direct contact with the pole of the magnet) is given by the Maxwell equation: :F=, where :''F'' is force (SI unit: newton (unit), newton) :''A'' is the cross section of the area of the pole in square meters :''B'' is the magnetic induction exerted by the magnet This result can be easily derived using Force between magnets#Gilbert model, Gilbert model, which assumes that the pole of magnet is charged with Magnetic monopole, magnetic monopoles that induces the same in the ferromagnetic object. If a magnet is acting vertically, it can lift a mass ''m'' in kilograms given by the simple equation: :m=, where g is the gravitational acceleration.


Force between two magnetic poles

Classical mechanics, Classically, the force between two magnetic poles is given by: :F= where :''F'' is force (SI unit: newton (unit), newton) :''q''''m''1 and ''q''''m''2 are the magnitudes of magnetic poles (SI unit: ampere-meter) :''μ'' is the permeability (electromagnetism), permeability of the intervening medium (SI unit: tesla (unit), tesla meter per ampere, henry per meter or newton per ampere squared) :''r'' is the separation (SI unit: meter). The pole description is useful to the engineers designing real-world magnets, but real magnets have a pole distribution more complex than a single north and south. Therefore, implementation of the pole idea is not simple. In some cases, one of the more complex formulae given below will be more useful.


Force between two nearby magnetized surfaces of area ''A''

The mechanical force between two nearby magnetized surfaces can be calculated with the following equation. The equation is valid only for cases in which the effect of fringing is negligible and the volume of the air gap is much smaller than that of the magnetized material: :F=\frac = \frac where: :''A'' is the area of each surface, in m2 :''H'' is their magnetizing field, in A/m :''μ''0 is the permeability of space, which equals 4π×10−7 T•m/A :''B'' is the flux density, in T.


Force between two bar magnets

The force between two identical cylindrical bar magnets placed end to end at large distance z\gg R is approximately:, :F \simeq \left[\frac \right] \left[ + - \right] where: :''B0'' is the magnetic flux density very close to each pole, in T, :''A'' is the area of each pole, in m2, :''L'' is the length of each magnet, in m, :''R'' is the radius of each magnet, in m, and :''z'' is the separation between the two magnets, in m. :B_0 \,=\, \fracM relates the flux density at the pole to the magnetization of the magnet. Note that all these formulations are based on Gilbert's model, which is usable in relatively great distances. In other models (e.g., Ampère's model), a more complicated formulation is used that sometimes cannot be solved analytically. In these cases, numerical methods must be used.


Force between two cylindrical magnets

For two cylindrical magnets with radius R and length L, with their magnetic dipole aligned, the force can be asymptotically approximated at large distance z\gg R by, : F(z) \simeq \frac M^2 R^4 \left[\frac + \frac - \frac\right] where M is the magnetization of the magnets and z is the gap between the magnets. A measurement of the magnetic flux density very close to the magnet B_0 is related to M approximately by the formula : B_0 = \frac M The effective magnetic dipole can be written as : m = M V Where V is the volume of the magnet. For a cylinder, this is V = \pi R^2 L. When z\gg L, the point dipole approximation is obtained, : F(x) = \frac M^2 R^4 L^2\frac = \frac M^2 V^2\frac = \frac m_1 m_2\frac which matches the expression of the force between two magnetic dipoles.


See also

* Dipole magnet * Earnshaw's theorem * Electret * Electromagnetic field * Electromagnetism * Halbach array * Magnetic nanoparticles * Magnetic switch * Magneto * Magnetochemistry * Molecule-based magnets * Single-molecule magnet * Supermagnet


Notes


References

* "The Early History of the Permanent Magnet". Edward Neville Da Costa Andrade, Endeavour, Volume 17, Number 65, January 1958. Contains an excellent description of early methods of producing permanent magnets. * "positive pole n". ''The Concise Oxford English Dictionary''. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. * Wayne M. Saslow, ''Electricity, Magnetism, and Light'', Academic (2002). . Chapter 9 discusses magnets and their magnetic fields using the concept of magnetic poles, but it also gives evidence that magnetic poles do not really exist in ordinary matter. Chapters 10 and 11, following what appears to be a 19th-century approach, use the pole concept to obtain the laws describing the magnetism of electric currents. * Edward P. Furlani, ''Permanent Magnet and Electromechanical Devices:Materials, Analysis and Applications,'' Academic Press Series in Electromagnetism (2001). .


External links


How magnets are made
(video)
Floating Ring Magnets
Bulletin of the IAPT, Volume 4, No. 6, 145 (June 2012). (Publication of the Indian Association of Physics Teachers).
A brief history of electricity and magnetism
{{Authority control Types of magnets Magnetism