From a refrigerator magnet to the magnetic strip on a debit card, magnets allow us to navigate the globe, run our computers, use most machines and drive from place to place effortlessly.
Magnets have concentrations of force at their ends and a weaker force at their centers; one concentration is called north pole and the second is called south pole.
Permanent versus Temporary
Temporary magnets occur when magnetic items are rubbed onto iron, cobalt or nickel, creating a temporary force of attraction toward other like items; permanent magnets, however, do not lose their north/south molecular alignments.
When metal is magnetized, magnetic properties are concentrated at either end of the metal, forming distinct northern and southern polar attractions.
Alignment to Earth's Poles
Magnets that are suspended from a string align themselves to the Earth's magnetic field.
Electromagnets receive their magnetic properties from the electric current flowing through the wires. When the wires are coiled, the magnetic properties concentrate; when the electricity is disconnected, the electromagnet returns to an inert piece of metal.
- Photo Credit Horseshoe Magnet with Iron Fillings by Oguraclutch: Wikipedia.org
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