Magnetism

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A compass works by aligning its magnetic needle with the Earth's magnetic field, which is created by the iron core deep inside the planet. A compass is exactly accurate since the Earth's magnetic north differs slightly from Earth's true north.

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  • What is magnetic force?

    Q: What is magnetic force?

    A: The technical definition of magnetic force is the mechanical force exerted from a magnetic field to a magnetic pole that is placed within that particular magnetic field. Magnetic force involves the simultaneous attraction and repulsion that occurs between particles that are electrically charged and are within the magnetic field itself.
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  • Why do magnets attract metal?

    Q: Why do magnets attract metal?

    A: Magnets attract any metals that are made of iron or metals with iron in them. Magnets attract ferrous objects, such as iron, nickel, steel and cobalt.
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  • What is magnetic energy?

    Q: What is magnetic energy?

    A: Magnetic energy is the energy within a magnetic field. This energy results in various metals either repelling or attracting each other.
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  • Why is iron magnetic and wood not?

    Q: Why is iron magnetic and wood not?

    A: Each atom of iron has an unpaired electron whose spin can be lined up to that of the unpaired electron from a neighboring iron atom. The spinning of the charged electron creates a magnetic moment, which in turn can align with an external magnet, thus making iron magnetic. Atoms of wood do not have unpaired electron spins that can line up with a magnet, and so it is non-magnetic.
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  • How can I determine the positive and negative sides of a magnet?

    Q: How can I determine the positive and negative sides of a magnet?

    A: The north and south poles, often called the negative and positive sides, of a magnet are determined by using the directional properties of magnets. The north pole of the magnet is attracted to Earth's geographical north pole, and the south pole is attracted to Earth's geographical south pole.
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  • What causes attraction and repulsion in magnets?

    Q: What causes attraction and repulsion in magnets?

    A: The magnetic field lines of a magnet run from north to south, according to HowStuffWorks. The force leaves the north pole and enters the south pole of another magnet, which creates a closed loop. Magnets attract each other when their lines of force are running in the same direction, and they repel each other when their lines of force travel in opposite directions.
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  • What is the best way to destroy magnetic tapes?

    Q: What is the best way to destroy magnetic tapes?

    A: Magnetic tapes and other magnetic data storage media can be effectively destroyed either by destroying the data on the tapes or by destroying the tapes themselves. Without proper destruction, data is still recoverable by people not authorized to access it.
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  • What can electromagnets be used for?

    Q: What can electromagnets be used for?

    A: Electromagnets are temporary magnets which have a magnetic field only when current passes through them. Some everyday applications of electromagnets include generators, motors, microphones, loudspeakers and cranes. Electromagnets are also used in scientific equipment such as particle accelerators, mass spectrometers and NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectrometers.
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  • What is magnetic levitation?

    Q: What is magnetic levitation?

    A: Magnetic levitation is a method of supporting an object with the repulsive force of magnets and the stability of servomechanisms. The object is thus suspended in the air, counteracting the effects of gravity.
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  • Why do similar poles repel each other?

    Q: Why do similar poles repel each other?

    A: Similar poles repel each other because of magnetic lines of force. A magnetic line of force originates from the north pole of a magnet and ends at its south pole. When the north and south pole ends of a magnetic object are put into close proximity, they form an attraction because the magnetic lines continue together in the same direction. Like poles repel because the lines of force are head-to-head.
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  • How do you magnetize metal?

    Q: How do you magnetize metal?

    A: Metals and materials that contain metal can be magnetized either temporarily or permanently. Creating a temporarily magnetized metal can be achieved by bringing that metal in close contact with an already magnetized metal or by charging it with an electrical current. Permanent magnetization can occur by rubbing the metal with the poles of already magnetized materials or by hitting a metal while it is in a magnetic field.
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  • How do magnets help us in our everyday lives?

    Q: How do magnets help us in our everyday lives?

    A: Magnets are used in a variety of everyday items, including computers, televisions, credit cards and microwave tubes. The seal around most refrigerators and freezers is magnetic, and even some cabinets feature magnetic fixtures to keep them from opening. Howmagnetswork.com adds that a variety of solenoids in home electronics utilize magnets.
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  • Where does electromagnetic radiation come from?

    Q: Where does electromagnetic radiation come from?

    A: Electromagnetic radiation is energy that comes from a wide variety of sources. It comes in a broad spectrum of wavelengths, frequencies and energies. Scientists break the electromagnetic spectrum into several different categories, including electrical energy, radio waves, microwave energy, infrared light, the visible spectra, ultraviolet rays, X-rays and gamma radiation.
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  • What are magnets made of?

    Q: What are magnets made of?

    A: Magnets are made of ferromagnetic materials that have been magnetized. Ferromagnetic materials include nickel, iron, rare earth elements and naturally occurring minerals such as lodestone.
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  • How does a ship's compass work?

    Q: How does a ship's compass work?

    A: Gyroscopic compasses are used aboard transportation such as ships and airplanes. Spinning gyroscopes copy the behavior of a magnetic compass by using a magnetic compass as a reference. A motor keeps the gyroscope spinning, so it continues to point true north despite movement of the frame. A gyroscope adjusts itself quickly even in turbulence and rough seas.
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  • What metals are magnetic?

    Q: What metals are magnetic?

    A: Nickel, iron and cobalt are magnetic metals. Most other metals, including gold, copper, silver and magnesium, are generally not magnetic, although some of these metals might become slightly magnetic if placed in a magnetic field.
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  • Where do you find magnets in a house?

    Q: Where do you find magnets in a house?

    A: In addition to the simple magnets on the refrigerator that hold up photos, coupons or shopping lists, magnets (often electromagnets) are also found in virtually any electric device or appliance with a motor, transformer, relay or solenoid.
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  • What makes a magnet stronger?

    Q: What makes a magnet stronger?

    A: You can strengthen magnets by placing them in water, stacking them on top of each other or recharging them. The method of making a magnet stronger depends on the type of magnet you have, explains HowStuffWorks.
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  • What are the pros and cons of Maglev technology?

    Q: What are the pros and cons of Maglev technology?

    A: In comparison with existing modes, Maglev technology is a better way of moving people and freight because it has a long service life and is faster, safer, cheaper and less congested. Maglev also saves energy because of its high efficiency and lack of pollution emission. However, Maglev guideways cost more than the conventional railway tracks. The lack of existing infrastructure is also a disadvantage.
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  • How do I describe how a compass needle aligns itself?

    Q: How do I describe how a compass needle aligns itself?

    A: A compass needle is made of magnetized material and points toward Earth's north magnetic pole no matter which direction the compass faces. Therefore, it is an excellent low-tech tool with which to find direction. Earth has a powerful magnetic field that emanates from the axis of rotation. Magnets are created from materials whose electrons all point the same direction and are attracted to an opposite charge.
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  • How do magnetic compasses work?

    Q: How do magnetic compasses work?

    A: A compass works by aligning its magnetic needle with the Earth's magnetic field, which is created by the iron core deep inside the planet. A compass is exactly accurate since the Earth's magnetic north differs slightly from Earth's true north.
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