Evan's Space

Wonders of Physics

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Steel is used to make permanet magnet

Steel is a hard magnetic material. When magnetized, it is not as strong as soft iron. But steel retains its magnetism, hence it is used to make permanent magnets e.g compass need, speaker, fridge door.

Iron is a soft magnetic material. It can be easily and strongly magnetised. But it loses its magnetism easily. Hence it is used to make temporary magnet e.g. Electromagnet.

Do remember that compass is like a freely suspended magnet. It is made of steel!

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Magnetic field around a magnet and an electromagnet

Electromagnet is like a ‘temporary magnet’. When a current flows through the solenoid, it will be magnetised. When the current is switched off, the eletromagnet loses its magnetism.

To make the electromagnet stronger,

1) Increase the number of turns in the solenoid.
2) Increase the size of the current.
3) Insert a soft iron core in the solenoid.
– iron is a soft magnetic material
– it can be magnetised easily
– it can be demagnetised easily

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How a compass behaves near a magnet

A compass is made up of a steel needle which is a permanent magnet. Hence the tip of the arrow is the North seeking pole while the other end is the South seeking pole.


The compass needle will point in the direction of the magnetic field line.


View the video to see how a actual compass will behave under the influence of a magnet.

<p>Magnet _ Compass from evantoh on Vimeo.</p>