Humans hold an innate fascination over magnets, even now that they are used in some of the most common household devices. While the forces magnetic materials produce may still seem mysterious, today science has plenty of answers about magnets, how they work, and the ways in which they can be used. Here are a few of the most important (and interesting) facts.
1. Very Few Magnets Are Permanent: When most people think of magnets they think of the permanent kind, the metallic magnets with molecules that are properly arranged to create a north-south alignment. These are called permanent magnets because their magnetic forces do not change (although if the metal is changed through heat, it will lose its properties). Most magnets in modern technology are temporary, created through electromagnetic fields generated by electricity.
2. Not All Magnets are Created Equal: Not all permanent magnets create the same type of magnetic field. Magnetic fields vary considerably based on the size of the magnetic, and what materials it is made out of. Scientists have hunted for ways to create stronger magnets for years. Most common versions are made with steel and iron. Other elements are used to create stronger versions. The strongest come from rare earth elements, such as neodymium.
3. Magnets and the Earth Are Closely Connected: The earth functions as a vast magnet, and the magnetic field its poles create influence the poles of every magnetic on the planet. The reason each magnet has its own north-south alignment is because it is, in a small way, mimicking the field of the earth. Interestingly, not all planets have magnetic fields – they need the right inner core materials to produce them. Mars, for example, has no magnetic field.
4. Most Modern Devices Use Some Kind of Magnet: It would not be easy to find a device in your home that does not use a magnet or some kind of magnetic field in operation. Every motor uses generated magnetic fields to work. Most valves, switches and similar electrical devices also use magnets to operate.
5. Magnets CAN Be Dangerous for Computers: One place you will not find many magnets is around computer hard drives. A strong magnet can alter the stored data in the hard drive, deleting it completely. The good news is that modern hard drives are made with shields to protect them against this problem – and it takes a very strong magnetic force to affect data anyway.
6. Magnets are Used for Pain Relief: For years magnets have been applied to the human body in order to help people manage pain. Magnets have been used to treat backaches, arthritis, headaches, and many other types of annoying pain. As the treatments have moved more into the mainstream, more research has been conducted on magnetic effects. So far, the research has not shown any direct benefits, but some people still report pain relief.
7. Magnet Therapy Research Continues: The unknown benefits of magnets in pain relief has not stopped researchers from working with magnet therapy in other areas. Magnetic fields have been shown to have an effect on the brain and are being used in advanced treatments of nervous system disorders and other similar problems.
Editor’s Note: Jared Reese is a professional blogger that provides information on industrial magnets. He writes for CMS Magnetics, where you can find the best magnets for sale online.