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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 do magnets work?

    Q: How do magnets work?

    A: A magnet is an object or material that can produce a magnetic field of its own. That magnetic field is responsible for the property of magnets to attract or repel other magnets, and pull objects that are ferromagnetic, like iron. Electrons are the reason behind the production of magnetic fields and magnetism. In permanent magnets, spinning of electrons creates the magnetism.
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  • Why is the Earth like a magnet?

    Q: Why is the Earth like a magnet?

    A: Earth is like a giant magnet in several ways. Not only does it have a magnetic north and south pole that act similarly to the poles on bar magnets, but the planet is surrounded by a strong magnetic field, which is electrically charged and able to interact with magnetized matter.
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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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 an electromagnetic spectrum?

    Q: What is an electromagnetic spectrum?

    A: The electromagnetic spectrum gives the range of all the different kinds of electromagnetic radiation. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but it covers only a small portion of the spectrum.
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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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  • Why does the Earth have a magnetic field?

    Q: Why does the Earth have a magnetic field?

    A: The Earth's molten core rotates at a high speed, which generates the planet's magnetic field. While this field changes in intensity and location over time, it provides valuable protection against solar winds.
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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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  • How do you make an electromagnet?

    Q: How do you make an electromagnet?

    A: An electromagnet can be constructed by wrapping an iron or steel bar with a current-carrying wire. When used as the core of an electromagnet, the ferromagnetic properties of iron or steel allow the magnetic domains to align. Wrapping a nail or other steel item with insulated wire, which is then hooked up to an electrical current, will magnetize the core. When powered, electromagnets function just like permanent magnets.
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