The unsung heroes of the modern era are magnets but many of us have no idea what are magnets made of or how they work. 

Magnets are playing an important role in our daily life. None of the devices like fans, refrigerators, or MRI Scans would work if there were no magets. 

What are Magnets?

Magnets are objects made of rocks or metals that have strong magnetic fields around them. It is because of this field magnets can either attract or repel other objects.  These magnetic fields are concentrated towards the ends (poles) of magnets. 

What are Magnetic Poles?

The magnetic poles are the two ends of magnets. Those are the “North” and the “South” poles. We can feel the magnetic field when you bring two pieces of magnets together. The force can either be attracting or repelling.
If the two poles of the magnets are identical(North-North or South-South), they repel each other. If the poles are opposite(North-South or South-North), they attract each other. 
What are Magnets Made Of? 


What are Magnets Made of?
Image: Unsplash

Magnets have a fascinating history and can be thought of as a physical manifestation of electromagnetic force.

Magnets not only appear but also behave mysteriously.

Unseen forces draw magnetic materials together or push them apart with the flip of a single magnet. The attraction or repulsion is proportional to the strength of the magnets.

The Earth is a magnet in itself. There are other types of magnets that exist other than steel magnets.
Magnets are made of ferromagnetic metals, which are a class of metals. Nickel and iron are examples of these metals. Each of these metals has the unique attribute of being uniformly magnetic.

When we ask how a magnet works, we’re merely asking how the object we call a magnet exerts the magnetic field. The response is fairly fascinating.

There are tiny magnetic fields called domains in every substance. The majority of the time, these domains are not related to one another and face opposite directions.

A strong magnetic field can align the domains of any ferromagnetic metal, resulting in a larger and stronger magnetic field. The majority of magnets are manufactured in this manner.

The primary distinction between permanent and temporary magnets is whether they are permanent or temporary. As the domains return to their normal positions, temporary magnets lose their bigger magnetic field. The most frequent method of producing magnets is to heat them to their Curie temperature or above.

The temperature at which a ferromagnetic metal acquires magnetic characteristics is known as the Curie temperature. For a short time, heating a ferromagnetic material to its specified temperature will make it magnetic. Heating it beyond this threshold can make the magnetism permanent.

Soft and hard metals are two different types of ferromagnetic materials. After being magnetized, soft metals lose their magnetic field over time, but hard metals are more likely to become permanent magnets.

Not all magnets are created by humans. Some magnets, such as lodestones, are found in nature. This material was utilized to create the first compasses in ancient times.

Magnets have become an integral part of every electric motor and turbine since the discovery of the relationship between magnetism and electricity. Computer data has also been stored using magnets. Now data can be saved on computers because of the new type of disk known as a solid-state drive.

Magnets and Magnetism

A magnet is any object that generates a magnetic field and interacts with other magnetic fields. Magnets have two poles, one positive and one negative. Magnet field lines move from the positive pole (also known as the north pole) to the negative pole (also known as the south pole).
The interaction of two magnets is referred to as magnetism. The positive pole of a magnet and the negative pole of another magnet attract each other because opposites attract.

When electricity travels over a wire, the third form of a magnet is created. The magnetic field is amplified by wrapping the wire around a soft iron core.
The magnetic field becomes stronger as the electricity is increased. The magnet is activated when electricity runs through the wire. When electrons aren’t flowing, the magnetic field collapses.

Biggest Magnet of the World

The Earth is, in fact, the world’s largest magnet. The Earth’s solid iron-nickel inner core spins like a dynamo in the liquid iron-nickel outer core, producing a magnetic field.

The weak magnetic field behaves like a bar magnet slanted 11 degrees from the axis of the Earth. The south pole of the bar magnet is at the north end of this magnetic field.

Due to the attraction of opposite magnetic fields, the north end of the magnetic compass points to the south end of the Earth’s magnetic field near the north pole (or, to put it another way, the Earth’s south magnetic pole is actually near the geographic north pole, though it’s often labeled as the north magnetic pole).
The magnetosphere that surrounds the Earth is created by the Earth’s magnetic field. The northern and southern lights, known as the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis, are caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere.

The iron minerals in lava flows are likewise affected by the Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field of the Earth is aligned with the iron minerals in the lava.

As the lava cools, the aligned minerals “freeze” into place. Magnetic alignments in basalt flow on both sides of the mid-Atlantic ridge provide evidence for reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field as well as plate tectonics theories.

Ashwin Khadka is a PhD Scholar in Nano Energy and Thermofluid Lab in Korea University, Republic of Korea under Korean Government Scholarship Program. He has a Masters Degree in Physics from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a science enthusiast, researcher and writer.