It can be natural to think that cutting a bar magnet in half will separate the north and south poles, but this is not what happens. Instead, it creates two smaller dipole magnets.
Magnets have small pockets of material called domains. These domains have atoms whose magnetic moments are all aligned in one direction, not just with each other, but also with all of the other domains in the magnet. Arbitrarily, we call the directions the magnetic moments point toward "north" and "south."
When you cut a bar magnet into two pieces, the magnetic moments are still aligned as they originally were. In fact, this is the case for magnets of all shapes, including rings and horseshoes. If cut in two, they will still exhibit the properties of a standard dipole magnet.
Physicists attempting to create a Grand Unified Theory of particle physics have predicted the existence of a magnetic monopole, which is a particle with one magnetic pole and a net magnetic charge. This particle has not yet been detected using modern methods, and is unlikely to be discovered by cutting a standard bar magnet in half.
- Photo Credit magnet attracting dollar signs image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com
How Is an Electromagnet Different From a Regular Bar Magnet?
Magnetism is a natural force that allows magnets to interact with other magnets, and certain metals, at a distance. Each magnet has...
What Are Bar Magnets Used For?
While magnets can came in many forms, bar magnets are always rectangular. They are dark gray or black and are commonly composed...
How to Make a Magnet Weak
Electromagnets are magnets that can be turned on and off. Regular magnets lack this quality. The strength of an electromagnet is also...
How to Cut a Magnet
There are several reasons you might need to cut a magnet. You may need it for arts and crafts, to replace a...
How to Break a Magnet
At times, it may be necessary to break a magnet in half. If you are in need of two smaller magnets, when...
How to Make a Magnet Attract Change
Attracting coins to a magnet can be an entertaining trick, especially for children learning about the properties of magnetism. Most household magnets,...
What Happens When a Dog's Toenail Is Cut to the Quick?
Cutting a dog's toenails regularly prevents scratches, keeps your dog healthy and negates the need for invasive declawing surgeries. When cutting your...