Magnetic Materials



Magnetism describes the ability of magnets to attract (pull towards) and repel (push away) other magnets without touching them.

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  • Magnets have a north pole and south pole
  • If a north pole and south pole of two magnets are close enough to each other, they will attract each other
  • This is an example of a non-contact force
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  • If one magnet is turned so that both south poles (or both north poles) are close together, then the magnets will repel each other
  • Opposite poles on a magnet attract and like poles on a magnet repel. 
  • This is an example of a non-contact force
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Poles of a magnet

A magnets poles are where the magnetic forces are the strongest

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Magnetic Materials

Iron, nickel and cobalt are the only pure metals that can be turned into a magnet. These metals are known as "magnetic materials"

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Properties of iron as a magnetic material

  • Magnetic materials, like iron, don't always act as magnets.
  • For example, a normal piece of iron won't attract or repel another piece of iron
  • But magnetic materials, like iron, are attracted to a magnet if they are close enough to the magnet
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Properties of magnetic materials 2

  • Magnetic materials can be attracted by a magnet, but can't be repelled by a magnet
  • Only two magnets can repel each other
  • Non-magnetic materials will never be attracted to magnets.
  • Permanent magnets are always magnetic, even when they are not near other magnets
  • Permanent magnets produce their own magnetic field
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Induced magnetism

A magnetic material will temporarily become a magnet when it is close to a permanent magnet. There is always an attractive force between an induced magnet and a permanent magnet.

  • Induced magnets are magnetic materials that become magnets when they are in a magnetic field
  • When moved away from the permanent magnet, the magnetic material will stop being a magnet
  • This is called induced magnetism
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Poles in Induced Magnetism

  • The permanent magnet induces temporary poles in the magnetic material and these align so that the magnetic material is attracted to the permanent magnet
  • If the north pole of the magnet is next to the magnetic material, then a south pole will be induced in the part of the material closest to the magnet.
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