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Magnet animationSmall magnet animation


When you have finished this page, try the Magnetism Quiz.

Magnetism is the force where objects are attracted or repelled to one another. Usually these objects are metals such as iron.

Magnetic Poles, Forces, and Fields

Every magnet has two poles. This is where most of its magnetic strength is most powerful. These poles are called north and south or north-seeking and south seeking poles. The poles are called this as when a magnet is hung or suspended the magnet lines up in a north - south direction. When the north pole of one magnet is placed near the north pole of another magnet, the poles are repelled. When the south poles of two magnets are placed near one another, they also are repelled from one another. When the north and south poles of two magnets are placed near one another, they are attracted to one another.

The attraction repelling of two magnets towards one another depends on how close they are to each other and how strong the magnetic force is within the magnet. The further apart of the magnets are the less they are attracted or repelled to one another.

When a magnet is broken into little pieces, a north pole will appear at one of the broken faces and a south pole. Each piece, regardless of how big or small, has its own north and south poles. The are around a magnet can also behave like a magnet. This is called a magnetic field. The larger the magnet and the closer the object to the magnet, the greater the force of the magnetic field.

Magnetic Materials

The term magnetism is derived from Magnesia, the name of a region in Asia Minor where lodestone, a naturally magnetic iron ore, was found in ancient times. Iron is not the only material that is easily magnetized when placed in a magnetic field; others include nickel and cobalt.

Magnets can also be formed that are called electromagnets. A simple electromagnet is formed with a battery and copper wire coiled around a metal rod such as a nail. There is evidence that there is an electrical basis for magnetism.



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