Opposites Attract: How Do Magnets Work?

Are you wondering how do magnets work?

The device you’re using to view this post uses tiny magnets to function. Magnets are also present in a ton of other devices and appliances around you. Magnets are valuable bits of modern technology and are used in all industries.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how magnets work. Read on and learn more.

How Do Magnets Work?

You likely heard the phrase “likes repel and opposites attract.” If you think it came from the idea of magnetism, you’re right. The exact origin of the phrase is Coulomb’s Law from 1785.

Everywhere you look, you’ll find a magnet in some form. All atoms carry electric charges.

When they move, they create an electric current. It makes each atom act like a tiny, invisible magnet.

All magnets have a north pole and a south pole, often color-coded or labeled as such. The typical bar magnet used in classrooms and laboratories has a blue and red end. Do you notice how some poles attract or repel each other?

It all goes back to the idea that opposite poles attract and like poles repel. The reason is the similar poles have magnetic fields resisting each other. Opposite poles have matching field directions, drawing them to each other.

What Are Magnetic Fields?

A magnetic field is an area or space near any magnet. While invisible, this vector field is physical. The electric field of a typical bar magnet is an invisible sphere going around each end.

Applications of Magnets

Did you know you can use magnets to create electricity? It’s how wind turbines, dams, and generators produce electricity. Other than generating power, you can also use magnets to store data in computer hard drives.

Your TV and speakers use magnets to create sound. Each speaker contains a magnet and wire coil. Together, they convert electronic signals into sound vibrations.

In medicine, magnets are in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. The magnets inside help create a detailed picture of your body’s interior. Some cancer treatments also use magnets to generate body heat and kill cancer cells.

What Projects Can You Do With Magnets?

To help you understand magnets deeper, use them and apply what you learned. Older students should consider electromagnetism. Try projects on sound creation or homopolar motor experiments.

Also, do experiments on magnetic strength, electromagnets, and more. For kids, here are some DIY projects to apply magnetic attraction:

  • Magnetic art projects
  • Compass projects
  • Attraction and repulsion projects

Adults can practice their inventiveness by trying advanced magnet-related projects. For such projects, buy stronger and longer-lasting magnets. Consider visiting Stanford Magnet for custom neodymium magnets.

Expand Your Knowledge Today

Now, you know how to answer the question, “How do magnets work?” Use this guide for fun experiment ideas. It applies to both home and school settings.

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