07 Feb

What are magnets and poles of magnets?

Magnets are objects that are able to attract magnetic materials and repel other magnets. This is known as Magnetism. Magnetism is able to produces push (repel) and pull (attract) forces. Repulsion can only happen is both objects are magnets.

A magnet is able to attract nickel, iron, cobalt and steel. These metals are magnetic materials. However, these metals are not magnets as they cannot repel each other. Magnets can come in different shapes and sizes. There are metals that cannot be attracted by magnets like gold and silver. They are non-magnetic. Non-metals are also non magnetic. Magnetism of a magnet is able to pass through non-magnetic materials.

The ends of a magnet are called poles. All magnets have two poles and they are called the North and South Pole. The attraction of a magnet is the strongest at its poles. A magnet always points in the north-south direction when hung freely to rest or when floating freely on water.

Like Poles are poles that are the same, N-N or S-S. They repel each other. Unlike Poles are poles that are opposite of each other, N-S and S-N. They attract each other.

We have a rod made of magnetic material and a magnet. We want to check if the rod is a magnet. We bring both ends of the rod close to the magnet. If one end of the rod attracts the magnet while the other end repels the magnet, the rod is a magnet. However, if the rod attracts both ends of the magnet than, the rod is not a magnet.

We use this method to test if an object is a magnet. Not all magnetic material made objects are magnets.

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