Home Physics Chemistry Physical Science Earth Science Math for Science Documents Quiz Links Free-Write
 Magnetism is the attraction of a magnet for another object. Any magnet, no matter what its shape, has two ends called magnetic poles. A pole is the area of a magnet where the magnetic effect is strongest. One pole of a magnet is called the north pole, and the other pole is called the south pole. Magnetic poles that are alike repel each other Magnetic poles that are unlike attract each other. The region of magnetic force around a magnet is known as its magnetic field. The magnetic field allows magnets to interact without touching. Magnetic field lines map out the magnetic field around a magnet. Magnetic field lines spread out from one pole, curve around a magnet, and return to the other pole. This is how the magnetic fields interact when they are attracted to each other. This is how the magnetic fields interact when they repel each other. Magnetism is caused by the spin of an atoms electrons (negatively charged particles of the atom) as they orbit the nucleus of the atom. In most materials, the magnetic fields of the atoms point in random directions. These unorganized magnetic fields cancel out one another. In certain materials, the magnetic fields point in the same direction. A cluster of billions of atoms that all have magnetic fields that are lined up in the same way is known as a magnetic domain. In a magnetized material all or most of the domains are arranged in the same direction. A material can be a strong magnet if it forms magnetic domains. A material that shows strong magnetic effects is said to be a ferromagnetic material. Iron is a common ferromagnetic material. A magnet can be made from an unmagnetized ferromagnetic material by placing the material in a strong magnetic field or by rubbing it with one pole of a strong magnet. A magnet made of a material that keeps its magnetism is called a permanent magnet. A permanent magnet can become unmagnetized. Impact (drop it, or hit it very hard) Heat