Baird, Christopher S. Department of Chemistry and Physics, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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- Types of magnets
- Permanent magnets
- Induced magnets
- Induced electromagnets
- Magnetic materials
- Ferromagnetic materials
- Paramagnetic materials
- Diamagnetic materials
- The forces between magnets
- History and applications
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A physical object that creates a magnetic field through which it exerts forces on other magnets and on moving charged particles. A magnet creates a magnetic field in the space surrounding it. This magnetic field exerts forces on other magnets and on particles with electric charge if they are in motion. These magnetic forces can be attractive or repulsive and can also generate electric currents. The simplest magnet is a magnetic dipole, which consists of a north magnetic pole and a south magnetic pole (Fig. 1). Fundamentally, magnetic monopoles do not exist. This means that a magnet always occurs as a magnetic dipole or as a collection of magnetic dipoles; even if a permanent magnet is cut in half, the two halves will each be magnetic dipoles. Magnetism is a component of electromagnetism, which is one of the four fundamental interactions of the universe. See also: Dipole; Electric charge; Electric current; Electromagnetic field; Electromagnetism; Fundamental interactions; Magnetic monopoles; Magnetism
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