Permanent magnet is a material that has their own magnetic field. It is an object that creates its own persistent magnetic field when it is magnetized. Permanent magnet exists in nature in the form of lodestone, which are used as magnetic compass. The most common magnets in use are the refrigerator magnet, speaker magnet, magnetic mariners compass magnet, ones used in magnetic motors etc. Permanent magnets can also be made artificially by passing strong direct current through an insulated coil of wire in which the material to be magnetized is placed. The materials that can be magnetized which are also strongly attracted to a magnet are called as ferromagnetic materials. These include iron, steel, nickel, cobalt, alloys of rare earth metals, etc. They are also used for making permanent magnets. Steel is slow to magnetize but retains magnetism for long as it has low susceptibility to magnetism but has high retentiveness.
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Ferromagnetic materials can be divided into:
1. Magnetically soft materials such as annealed iron, that can be magnetized but do not tend to stay magnetized.
2. Magnetically hard materials that tend to stay magnetized always.
Permanent magnets are made from hard ferromagnetic materials such as alnico and ferrite when they are subjected to a special processing in a powerful magnetic field during manufacture for aligning their internal micro crystalline structure, which makes them hard to demagnetize.
Magnetic materials posses two poles of opposite effect denoted as North and South because of their self orientation to the earth. The poles of the magnet sustains even when the magnet is cut into two. The two poles exist just like the electric charges, the positive charge and the negative charge. Similarly the same poles repel each other and opposite poles attract each other. The magnetic flux just like the static electric charge is able to invisibly extend over space and pass through objects such as paper and wood with little effect upon their strength.
Magnetic flux density also called as magnetic B field, is a vector field. The magnetic B field vector at a given point has 2 properties.
1. The direction along the orientation of a compass needle.
2. The magnitude or strength which is proportional to the how strongly the compass needle orients along that direction.
The strength of the magnetic field is given in tesla.
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The magnet's magnetic moment also called as dipole moment, is a vector that denotes the magnet's overall magnetic properties. In a bar magnet the direction of the magnetic moment points from the magnet's South Pole to its North Pole. The magnitude relates to how strong and how farther away these poles are. A magnet produces both its own magnetic field and also responds to magnetic fields. The strength of the magnetic field it produces at any given point is proportional to the magnitude of its magnetic moment. When a magnet is subjected to an external magnetic field produced by another source, it is subjected to a torque tending to orient the magnetic moment parallel to the field. The amount of this torque is proportional to both the magnetic moment and the external field. A magnet may also be subjected to a force driving it in one direction or another according to the positions and orientations of the magnet and the source.
The Models of Magnetism
Two different models for magnet exist, magnetic pole model and atomic current model.
1. In the magnetic pole model, the magnet is being referred to as having two distinct poles North and South. It is merely a way of referring to the two different ends of a magnet. The magnet does not have distinct North or South particles at the opposing sides. When a bar magnet is broken into two pieces, the result will be two bar magnets each of which has both a North and a South pole.
2. In the atomic model, all the magnetization is due to the effect of microscopic, atomic, circular bound currents or Ampere currents throughout the material. For a uniformly cylindrical bar magnet, the net effect of the microscopic bound current is to make the magnet behave as there is a macroscopic sheet of electric current flowing around the surface with local flow direction parallel to the cylinder axis.
The magnetism of a permanent magnetic field is produced by an electric charge in motion. The magnetic field of the permanent magnet is the result of the electrons within the atoms of iron spinning uniformly in the same direction. This kind of uniform spinning of the electrons in the atom is dictated by the electron binding in that material's atoms. So depending upon the atomic structure of the material, only certain types of materials can react to the magnetic fields and only fewer have the ability to permanently sustain a magnetic field.
The overall magnetic behavior of a material can vary depending upon the structure of the material, particularly its electron configuration.
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Different Magnetic Materials
Different types of behaviors have been observed in different materials:
Ferromagnetic and ferrimagnetic materials are attracted to a magnet strongly. These materials can retain magnetization and become magnets. Ferrimagnetic materials include ferrites, magnetite, lodestone etc.
Paramagnetic substances such as platinum, aluminum, and oxygen are weakly attracted to either pole of a magnet. This attraction is hundreds or thousand times weaker than that of the ferromagnetic materials.
Diamagnetic materials those which are repelled by the poles. Diamagnetic materials include carbon, copper, water, and plastic are weakly repelled by a magnet. All substances not possessing one of the other types of magnetism are diamagnetic.
Common Uses of Magnet
Magnetic recording media. Recording media such as VHS tapes has a reel of magnetic tape. The information that makes up the video and sound is encoded on the magnetic coating on the tape.
Credit, Debit, and ATM Cards. All these cards have a magnetic strip on one side.
Television and computer monitors. Tube type TV and computer screens contain an electromagnet to guide electrons to the screen.
Speakers and microphones. Most speakers employ permanent magnets and current carrying coil to convert electric energy to mechanical energy.
Electric motors and generators. Some electric motors work depending on a combination of an electromagnet and a permanent magnet. It converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Electric guitars. These guitars use pickups to transduce the vibration of guitar strings into electrical current that can be amplified.
Magnetic compass. A magnetic compass uses a permanent magnet to align itself with a magnetic field, the earth’s magnetic field.
Demagnetizing A Permanent Magnet
For demagnetizing a permanent magnet, a certain required magnetic field must be applied and the threshold to demagnetize depends upon the coercivity of the material. Hard materials have high coercivity value whereas the soft materials have low coercivity.
Magnetized ferromagnetic materials can be demagnetized by
Heating a magnet past its curie temperature, the molecular motion destroys the alignment of the magnetic domains.
Placing the magnet in an alternating magnetic field with intensity above the material’s coercivity and slowly drawing the magnet out and decreasing the magnetic field.
Hammering or jarring, the mechanical disturbance will randomize the magnetic domains.