Magnets are one of the wonders of modern society. While you might think that a magnet is just something that holds up photos on your refrigerator, they are actually much, much more important for everyday tasks.
Magnets are components in almost every tech device that you use. Magnets make up MRI scanners, microphones, headphones, alarms, bells, computers and cell phones. Most of the pieces of technology that we use daily wouldn’t work without magnets.
What are magnets made of?
Magnets are composed of a special combination of metals, called ferromagnetic metals. These metals have the ability to attract other metals, which is a property called magnetism. While there are many different types of ferromagnetic metals (and even some gasses!), most over-the-counter magnets are composed of a combination of cobalt, iron and nickel.
There are two primary types of magnets: permanent magnets and temporary magnets. Permanent magnets are magnets that will maintain their strength for a long period of time, decaying very slowly or not at all. Temporary magnets are magnets that do not remain magnetized. They are typically made of softer metals than permanent magnets, made from soft metals.
In addition to permanent magnets and temporary magnets, there are also electromagnets and superconductors. Electromagnets are tightly coiled pieces of wire that require an electric current to become magnetic. A superconductor is similar, it’s also a tightly wound piece of wire but the wire is missing a core. This allows the superconductor to become highly magnetic, making this category the strongest magnet of all. Most MRI machines, cars and motors utilize electromagnets or superconductors.
DID YOU KNOW?
Speks are neodymium rare earth magnets. We coated them in polymer paint or electroplated metal, making them resistant to rust and tarnish.
How do magnets work?
Magnets are made from certain metals, or electric currents, that create a force which attracts or repels other metals. This force is called a “magnetic field” which forces the particles of other metal objects.
Not all magnets are created equal, some are much stronger than others. This is because different magnets react differently to certain metals, creating a varying degree of repellant or attractant force.
What are magnets used for?Many magnets are man-made and are used to power everyday devices such as computers and refrigerators, but there are also natural magnets in the earth: the north and south pole. Engines utilize magnets to create electricity, because when a magnet is moved next to a metal wire, electricity is produced.
In addition to powering many common devices, magnets also have unique properties that help maintain unexpected areas of human life. Magnets are also used in vending machines to sort coins, but strangest of all, magnets are used to repel sharks from humans.
According to the National Geographic, fishermen will attach magnets to their nets in order to decrease the likelihood of shark encounters. Sharks have sensory poles on their head which allows them to easily find and hunt fish. The magnets repel these senses, disguising the nets from the sharks.
But if you’re not a fisherman or a mechanic, you can also use magnets in order to have fun. Curious about how? Check out all of our Speks products.