What is an electromagnet and permanent magnet

Difference between permanent magnet and electromagnet

There are basically two types of magnets.

Permanent magnets

Under Permanent magnets one understands magnets that were magnetized at some point and have been theirs ever since magnetism have not lost. Alternatively, permanent magnets are also referred to as Permanent magnets. Their strength can vary depending on the type, but it does not reach the strength of electromagnets.


Electromagnets get their magnetism only when one excitement, i.e. an electric current, is present and completely loses it again when the excitation is switched off. Typical electromagnets are e.g .:

  • Coupling magnet $ \ rightarrow $ magnetic snap coupling,
  • Pull magnets $ \ rightarrow $ Lift magnets [scrap yard],
  • Print magnet $ \ rightarrow $ linear magnet,
  • and much more.

Scientists discovered a long time ago that moving charge carriers are surrounded by a magnetic field. This process is shown in the next figure:

Magnetic field of a current-carrying conductor

Right-hand rule

To the direction of themagnetic field lines and des electric current To be able to determine clearly, the application of the right-hand rule is recommended.

In this very simple illustration of a right hand you can see that the thumb is pointing in the direction of the charge carrier movement and the remaining fingers are pointing in the direction of the magnetic field lines. With this method, a clear description of the direction is possible.

Click here to expand In the further course of this course we will of course only deal with electromagnets.