Modern Day Uses for Magnets

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Magnets are used in computers to move delicate parts without contact.
Magnets are used in computers to move delicate parts without contact. (Image: hdd and magnetic head image by Andrzej Thiel from Fotolia.com)

Magnets have been used for thousands of years by humans in varying cultures and parts of the world. While the ancient, Chinese, Greeks and Egyptians used them mainly for therapeutic purposes, today’s world has made use of magnets in industrial machinery, consumer products, computers and even transportation.

Consumer Products

Currently, magnets can be found in an array of consumer goods, such as telephones, computers, cellphones, and doorbells, according to Sci Seek.com. Microphones and headphones use magnets to contain and direct the sound they are collecting or distributing. Also, magnets are used in many delicate electronic devices from iPods to dialysis machines to move very delicate parts which could be broken or damaged by even the lightest touch. These magnets suspend and move hard drive tape and other super-thin materials to operate devices at high speed without damaging or wearing down machine parts.

Industrial Manufacturing

Magnets are used in many areas of the manufacturing industry. In fact, the process used to magnetize the tape for cassettes is also used to magnetize hard drive tape; to create magnetic strips for the back of membership, identification and credit cards; and to create other data-holding formats like DVDs, CDs and memory sticks.

Also, magnets are used in auto manufacturing and aerial manufacturing industries to hold and transport the large metal parts commonly used by vehicles produced in these sectors. Electromagnets are used by cranes to pick up and drop heavy loads and in industrial conveyor systems, says Sci Seek.

Therapy

While unsubstantiated by science, magnets are still used for healing and therapy purposes. Falling under the banner of holistic medicine, magnet therapy is used to treat backaches, headaches, sprains and even depression. Several devices have been developed for therapeutic uses that include magnets, including insoles (for foot ache and athlete's foot), waist bands (for backaches and indigestion) and maternity support slings (to help ease the pain of pregnancy). These devices claim to influence the magnetic field that human beings generate and some even claim to stimulate blood flow, reports Therion Magnetics.

Mag-Lev

Perhaps one of the most promising use of magnets in the modern world, magnetic levitation (MagLev) is a new type of mass transit system that uses magnetic strips along a track to pull train cars at speeds of up to 300 miles an hour, according to an article on the Sci Seek website. While this technology is still in its developmental infancy, there are working magnetic levitation transit devices in London and Japan. In the United States, the government has approved the building of a Mag-Lev track from Las Vegas Nevada to the Disneyland theme park in California.

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