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Friday, February 24, 2012

Magnets are pretty impressive things when you actually think about it. A seemingly innate lump of metal that can pull other ferromagnetic materials towards itself with an invisible force is actually the stuff of science fiction. Except it's a reality and you probably have one stuck on your fridge, that's pretty cool. Here are some facts about magnets that you might not know...

1. Since I've already mentioned fridge magnets let's start there. Did you know that the fridge magnet is common all over the world? And on average they're seen over 20 times a day. This is remarkable considering that despite this you still manage to forget to pick up some milk.
2. From the minute to the massive. The earth is no different from the magnet on your fridge. Yup, although it is obviously considerably bigger the properties are essentially the same, just in the case of the earth scaled up somewhat. I imagine if the magnetic field of your fridge magnet expanded out into space as the earth's does it would probably have a significant impact on your ability to make waffles for breakfast.
3. Despite this the magnetic field of the earth is actually about 1000 times weaker than that of a fridge magnet. Who'd have thought? Maybe it wouldn't hinder the production of breakfast quite as much as I originally thought.
4. If you take a magnet and slice it into two you end up with two smaller magnets, each with their own South and North Pole. Not dissimilar to worms.
5. If you can't bring yourself to sever your beloved magnet in two then simply get a piece of metal and rub the magnet you have against it. It will turn the metal into a magnet too. The process is called magnetisation.
6. When someone talks about a magnetic field this refers specifically to the area around a magnet in which objects become attracted. This is also the same when you push to magnets together. They leap to one another because they've moved into one another's magnetic field.
7. Heating a magnet past what is known as its Curie temperature destroys the magnetic domains meaning that it loses all its magnetic properties. You can also 'hammer' a magnet to rid it of its properties. This process will randomise the fields and will significantly reduce the strength of the magnetic field, but will not completely destroy it.
8.Magnets are a vital as component parts. They're used in:

·       Bank cards
·       Audio equipment
·       Televisions and monitors
·       Electric guitars
·       Electric motors
·       Medical diagnostic equipment
·       Compasses
·       And loads of other stuff...

9.In history magnets were first discovered by the way of lodestones. These are naturally magnetic composites of iron ore. Lodestones were used as part of the first compasses ever created. Descriptions of lodestones and their properties were recorded in China, Greece and India over 2500 years ago.
Magnets I think it is safe to say are kind of amazing.

Author Bio:
Trevor Carr is a science nerd and proud of it, he is also more than happy to research all manner of things, including fridge magnets for the online novelty retailer Find Me A Gift.

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