If you have ever played with magnets, you will know it is fun. They attract metal and they can attract or push away other magnets. It is almost like magic. But there is a scientific explanation for all of this.
Magnets are objects that produce an area of magnetic force called a magnetic field.
The magnetic fields of magnets cannot be seen with the naked eye, but you can use iron filings to show it. Place a paper over the magnet and sprinkle the iron filings over the paper. You will see that patterns will follow and before long it will look like on the picture - this shows the magnetic field. You can read more about it here.
Only certain materials like iron and steel are attracted to magnets. Things like glass and plastic and wood are not attracted to it. Even some metals like copper, silver and gold are not attracted. We say that a material is magnetic or non-magnetic.
- What force does a magnet create?
- What will happen if a magnetic object is in that field?
- What is a magnetic object?
- Give examples of a magnetic and non-magnetic materials.
- Which poles of a magnet will attract each other? Which will repel each other?
- Why does the Earth have a magnetic field?
The magnetic field around the Earth is responsible for deflecting the solar winds that comes from the Sun. The magnetic field of Earth also plays a roll in determining direction on a compass. You can read more here about how a compass works.
If an electric current runs through a surrounding coil of a magnet, it creates an electromagnet. This can also be used to generate electricity in dams.