Magnetism. What is it?

We say we know what magnets are, but are we really aware of what magnetism means? Probably the best known and classic application in which we benefit from magnetic forces is the compass. In the end, even our own land is a big magnet. In fact, the phenomenon of magnetic attraction was first discovered in Greece. In the city of Magnesia it was observed in stones from 500 BC and was described by Thales of Miletus. The city gave its name to magnetism as a consequence.

With such a fascinating phenomenon, it is not surprising that it has been researched numerous times over the years. However, there was a lack of clarity about the difference and connection between electricity and magnetism. It was not until 1864 that physicist James Clerk Maxwell officially established Maxwell's equations, which mathematically describe electric and magnetic fields.

How does magnetism work?

There are several forms of magnetism: diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism. Ferromagnetism (iron comes from the Latin word ferrum) is the most common magnetic form in our daily lives. Electromagnetic interactions are responsible for this phenomenon. The resulting field lines, which form the magnetic field, are not visible, but you can clear them with iron filings or record them graphically so that you can visually explain the magnetism.

There are so-called permanent magnets that are constantly magnetized, just like electromagnets. In the latter, the magnetic effect is caused by the external influence of electricity. If you turn off the current flow, the magnetism decreases. This happens faster or slower depending on the material, and the remaining magnetic force is called remanence.

The electrical currents that provide the magnetism to the permanent magnets are due to the movement of the electrons in the atoms. On the one hand, they rotate in orbits and, on the other hand, over themselves. The combination of this movement can give rise to a magnetic moment, but this is a very simplified explanation.

As you can see, there are different types of magnets, each of which has different properties and modes of operation. Magnets are used in many different areas, in electric motors, televisions, speakers or other electronic devices, which also means that not all magnets are equally suitable for every application. Therefore, you should always get enough advice to make sure you choose the right magnet for your needs. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our specialized staff. We will gladly inform and help you without obligation.

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