Magnetic: A Complete Guide to Magnetic Force and Fields

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 20, 2022
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Magnetism is a class of physical phenomena that are mediated by magnetic fields. Electric currents and the fundamental magnetic moments of elementary particles give rise to a magnetic field, which acts on other currents and magnetic moments.

All materials are influenced to some extent by a magnetic field. The most familiar effect is on permanent magnets, which have persistent magnetic moments caused by ferromagnetism.

What is magnetic

The Power of Magnetic Force

Magnetic force is the force that is exerted on a charged particle moving in a magnetic field. It is a force that is perpendicular to the velocity of the charged particle and the magnetic field. This force is described by the Lorentz force equation, which states that the force (F) acting on a charge (q) moving with a velocity (v) in a magnetic field (B) is given by the equation F = qvBsinθ, where θ is the angle between the velocity of the charge and the magnetic field.

How is Magnetic Force Related to Electric Current?

Magnetic force is closely related to electric current. When an electric current flows through a wire, it creates a magnetic field around the wire. This magnetic field can exert a force on other objects in its presence. The magnitude and direction of the force depend on the strength and direction of the magnetic field.

What Materials are Influenced by Magnetic Force?

Magnetic force can influence a large number of materials, including:

  • Magnetic materials such as iron, steel, and nickel
  • Conducting materials such as copper and aluminum
  • Mobile electrons in a conductor
  • Charged particles in a plasma

Examples of Magnetic Force in Action

Some examples of magnetic force in action include:

  • Magnets attracting or repelling each other
  • Stickers that stick to a refrigerator or door because they are fitted with a magnet
  • A rod of steel being pulled towards a strong magnet
  • A wire carrying an electric current being deflected in a magnetic field
  • The steady movement of a compass needle due to the Earth’s magnetic field

How is Magnetic Force Described?

Magnetic force is described using units of newtons (N) and teslas (T). The tesla is the unit of magnetic field strength, and it is defined as the force acting on a wire carrying a current of one ampere placed in a uniform magnetic field of one tesla. The magnetic force acting on an object is equal to the product of the magnetic field strength and the charge of the object.

What Type of Fields are Related to Magnetic Force?

Magnetic force is related to electromagnetic fields. An electromagnetic field is a type of field that is created by the presence of electric charges and currents. The magnetic field is one component of the electromagnetic field, and it is created by the motion of electric charges.

Do All Objects Experience Magnetic Force?

Not all objects experience magnetic force. Only objects that have a net charge or are carrying an electric current will experience magnetic force. Objects that have no net charge and are not carrying an electric current will not experience magnetic force.

What is the Relationship Between Magnetic Force and Conducting Surfaces?

When a conducting surface is placed in a magnetic field, the electrons in the surface will experience a force due to the magnetic field. This force will cause the electrons to move, which will create a current in the surface. The current will, in turn, create a magnetic field that will interact with the original magnetic field, causing the surface to experience a force.

What is the Relationship Between Magnetic Force and the Magnitude of the Velocity of an Object?

The magnetic force acting on an object is proportional to the magnitude of the velocity of the object. The faster an object is moving, the stronger the magnetic force will be.

The Fascinating History of Magnets

  • The word “magnet” comes from the Latin word “magnes,” which refers to a special type of rock found in Turkey on Mount Ida.
  • The ancient Chinese discovered lodestones, which are natural magnets made of iron oxide, over 2,000 years ago.
  • English scientist William Gilbert confirmed earlier observations about the properties of magnets in the late 16th century, including the existence of magnetic poles.
  • Dutch scientist Christian Oersted discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism in 1820.
  • French physicist Andre Ampere expanded on Oersted’s work, studying the relationship between electricity and magnetism and developing the concept of the magnetic field.

Development of Permanent Magnets

  • In the early years of magnetism, researchers were interested in producing stronger and more powerful magnets.
  • In the 1930s, researchers at Sumitomo developed an alloy of iron, aluminum, and nickel that produced a magnet with a higher energy density than any previous material.
  • In the 1980s, researchers at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow introduced a new type of magnet made of a compound of neodymium, iron, and boron (NdFeB), which is the strongest magnet technologically available today.
  • Modern magnets can produce magnetic fields with strengths of up to 52 mega-Gauss-oersteds (MGOe), which is enormous compared to the 0.5 MGOe produced by lodestones.

The Role of Magnets in Energy Production

  • Magnets play a crucial role in the generation of electricity, particularly in the production of power from wind turbines and hydroelectric dams.
  • Magnets are also used in electric motors, which are found in everything from cars to household appliances.
  • The interest in magnets arises from their ability to produce a magnetic field, which can be used to generate electrical power.

The Future of Magnets

  • Scientists are studying new materials and developments in magnetism, including the use of rare earth metals and alloys.
  • The neo magnet is a new type of magnet that is stronger than any previous magnet and has the potential to revolutionize the field of magnetism.
  • As our understanding of magnets continues to expand, they will play an increasingly important role in technologically advanced societies.

Exploring the Fascinating World of Magnetism

Magnetism is a property that certain materials possess, which allows them to attract or repel other materials. The types of magnetism include:

  • Diamagnetism: This type of magnetism is present in all materials and is caused by the motion of electrons in the material. When a material is placed in a magnetic field, the electrons in the material will produce an electric current that opposes the magnetic field. This results in a weak repulsion effect, which is usually not noticeable.
  • Paramagnetism: This type of magnetism is also present in all materials, but it is much weaker than diamagnetism. In paramagnetic materials, the magnetic moments of the electrons are not aligned, but they can be aligned by an external magnetic field. This causes the material to be weakly attracted to the magnetic field.
  • Ferromagnetism: This type of magnetism is the most familiar and is what most people think of when they hear the word “magnet.” Ferromagnetic materials are strongly attracted to magnets and can maintain their magnetic properties even after the external magnetic field is removed. This is because the magnetic moments of the electrons in the material are aligned in the same direction, producing a strong magnetic field.

The Science Behind Magnetism

Magnetism is produced by the motion of electric charges, such as electrons, in a material. The magnetic field produced by these charges can be described as a set of lines that form a magnetic field. The strength of the magnetic field varies depending on the number of charges present and the degree to which they are aligned.

The structure of a material also plays a role in its magnetic properties. In ferromagnetic materials, for example, the magnetic moments of the molecules are aligned in the same direction, producing a strong magnetic field. In diamagnetic materials, the magnetic moments are randomly oriented, resulting in a weak repulsion effect.

The Importance of Understanding Magnetism

Magnetism is an important property of matter that has many practical applications. Some of the ways in which magnetism is used include:

  • Electric motors and generators: These devices use magnetic fields to produce motion or generate electricity.
  • Magnetic storage: Magnetic fields are used to store data on hard drives and other types of magnetic storage media.
  • Medical imaging: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the body.
  • Magnetic levitation: Magnetic fields can be used to levitate objects, which has applications in transportation and manufacturing.

Understanding magnetism is also important for scientists and engineers who work with materials. By understanding the magnetic properties of a material, they can design materials with specific magnetic properties for different applications.

Exploring the Magnetic Fields in Materials

The strength of a magnetic field is defined in units of ampere per meter (A/m). The intensity of the magnetic field is related to the density of the magnetic flux, which is the number of magnetic field lines passing through a given area. The direction of the magnetic field is defined by a vector, which points in the direction of the magnetic force on a positive charge moving in the field.

The Role of Conductors in Magnetic Fields

Materials that conduct electricity, such as copper or aluminum, can be affected by magnetic fields. When an electrical current flows through a conductor, a magnetic field is produced that is perpendicular to the direction of the current flow. This is known as the right-hand rule, where the thumb points in the direction of the current flow, and the fingers curl in the direction of the magnetic field.

The Specific Types of Magnetic Materials

There are two specific types of magnetic materials: ferromagnetic and paramagnetic. Ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, nickel, and cobalt, have a strong magnetic field and can be magnetized. Paramagnetic materials, such as aluminum and platinum, have a weak magnetic field and are not easily magnetized.

The Electromagnet: A Powerful Device Driven by Electricity

An electromagnet is a type of magnet that is created by running an electrical current through a wire. The wire is usually wrapped around a core made of iron or another magnetic material. The principle behind an electromagnet is that when an electric current flows through a wire, it creates a magnetic field around the wire. By wrapping the wire into a coil, the magnetic field is strengthened, and the resulting magnet is much stronger than a regular permanent magnet.

How are Electromagnets Controlled?

The strength of an electromagnet can easily be controlled by changing the amount of electric current that flows through it. By increasing or decreasing the amount of current, the magnetic field can be weakened or strengthened. The poles of an electromagnet can even be reversed by reversing the flow of electricity. This makes electromagnets very useful in a wide range of applications.

What are Some Fun Experiments with Electromagnets?

If you’re interested in the science behind electromagnets, there are many fun experiments you can try at home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a simple electromagnet by wrapping a wire around a nail and connecting it to a battery. See how many paperclips you can pick up with your electromagnet.
  • Build a simple motor using an electromagnet and a battery. By flipping the polarity of the battery, you can make the motor spin in the opposite direction.
  • Use an electromagnet to create a simple generator. By spinning a coil of wire inside a magnetic field, you can generate a small amount of electricity.

Overall, the existence of electromagnets owes its usefulness to the fact that it can be easily controlled by electricity, making it a vital component in many devices and applications.

Magnetic Dipoles: The Building Blocks of Magnetism

Magnetic dipoles are the basic building blocks of magnetism. They are the smallest unit of magnetism and are composed of tiny magnets called electrons. These electrons are present in the molecules of a material and have the ability to create a magnetic field. A magnetic dipole is simply a loop of current that is composed of positive and negative charges.

The Function of Magnetic Dipoles

Magnetic dipoles play an active role in the structure and function of many compounds. They are commonly present in the typical wire and circuit, and their presence is directly related to the magnetic field strength. The magnetic field strength is given by the area of the loop and the current flowing through it.

The Importance of Magnetic Dipoles in Medical Science

Magnetic dipoles have a lot of importance in medical science. They are used to create tiny magnets that can be used to diagnose and treat various medical conditions. The use of magnetic dipoles in medical science is called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI is a sound and safe medical technique that uses magnetic dipoles to create images of the inside of the body.


So, magnetic means something that attracts or repels a magnet. It’s a force that’s related to electricity and magnetism. You can use it to hold things on a fridge or make a compass point north. So, don’t be afraid to use it! It’s not as complicated as it seems. Just remember the rules and you’ll be fine.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.