Why do magnets work

Attraction as if by magic: How does magnetism work?

In everyday life they can be very useful - magnets. They can be used, for example, to attach important notes to the refrigerator. But they are not just a replacement for Tesa. Even if you often don't see them, magnets can be found in many things that we need again and again. For example in our cars.

Magnets are bodies that can attract other objects. But that doesn't always work. It is important what material the item is made of. For example, you can use a magnet to attract an iron paper clip. Other substances that make objects magnetizable are nickel and cobalt. The force that works between these bodies is called magnetism.

But how does it work? Materials that can be magnetized consist of many tiny individual parts, the so-called atoms. Smaller particles, the electrons, circle around its core. This movement creates a magnetic field and so-called electromagnets are formed. So you can imagine that a magnet consists of many small magnets that, like compass needles, align themselves in the same direction due to the forces acting on one another. This creates two different poles that make the object magnetic.

North and South Pole

A magnet always has two poles where the magnetic force is particularly strong, a north and a south pole. You probably have to think of snow and polar bears right now. And actually, you're not that wrong about that. The earth is itself the largest magnet in our world and the magnetic north and south poles are named after those of the earth. If you now take two magnets, the same poles repel each other. Only opposites - i.e. North Pole and South Pole - attract each other.

There are different types of magnets. Permanent magnets, which are permanently magnetic, or so-called electromagnets, whose power is generated by electrical current.

Magnetism in the automotive industry

The force of attraction between bodies is also used in cars. Some electromagnets can be found here. For example wherever an electric motor is needed. For the windshield wipers, for closing the trunk and for opening and closing the windows. The starter that starts the car's engine also works via magnetism. Not to be forgotten are the electric cars. Due to the attractive and repulsive forces of magnetic fields, the electric motor can generate rotary movements that cause the car to roll.

Featured image: Adobe Stock // wittayayut

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