Magnetism in Software

Creating Quick Response Code in Software Magnetism

CHAPTER
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Magnetism
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THE STUDY OF MAGNETISM IS A SCIENCE IN ITSELF. ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC phenomena interact; a detailed study of magnetism and electromagnetism could easily fill a book. Magnetism was mentioned briefly near the end of chapter 2. Here, the subject is examined more closely. The intent is to get you familiar with the general concepts of magnetism, insofar as it is important for a basic understanding of electricity and electronics.
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The geomagnetic field
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The earth has a core made up largely of iron, heated to the extent that some of it is liquid. As the earth rotates, the iron flows in complex ways. It is thought that this flow is responsible for the huge magnetic field that surrounds the earth. The sun has a magnetic field, as does the whole Milky Way galaxy. These fields might have originally magnetized the earth.
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Geomagnetic poles and axis
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The geomagnetic field, as it is called, has poles, just as a bar magnet does. These poles are near, but not at, the geographic poles. The north geomagnetic pole is located in the frozen island region of northern Canada. The south geomagnetic pole is near Antarctica. The geomagnetic axis is somewhat tilted relative to the axis on which the earth rotates. Not only this, but it does not exactly run through the center of the earth. It s like an apple core that s off center.
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The solar wind
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The geomagnetic field would be symmetrical around the earth, but charged particles from the sun, constantly streaming outward through the solar system, distort the lines of flux. 134
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Magnetic force 135 This solar wind literally blows the geomagnetic field out of shape, as shown in Fig. 8-1. At and near the earth s surface, the lines of flux are not affected very much, and the geomagnetic field is nearly symmetrical.
The geomagnetic field is distorted by the solar wind.
The magnetic compass
The presence of the geomagnetic field was first noticed in ancient times. Some rocks, called lodestones, when hung by strings would always orient themselves a certain way. This was correctly attributed to the presence of a force in the air. Even though it was some time before the details were fully understood, this effect was put to use by early seafarers and land explorers. Today, a magnetic compass can still be a valuable navigation aid, used by mariners, backpackers, and others who travel far from familiar landmarks. The geomagnetic field and the magnetic field around a compass needle interact, so that a force is exerted on the little magnet inside the compass. This force works not only in a horizontal plane (parallel to the earth s surface), but vertically at most latitudes. The vertical component is zero only at the geomagnetic equator, a line running around the globe equidistant from both geomagnetic poles. As the geomagnetic lattitude increases, either towards the north or the south geomagnetic pole, the magnetic force pulls up and down on the compass needle more and more. You have probably noticed this when you hold a compass. One end of the needle seems to insist on touching the compass face, while the other end tilts up toward the glass. The needle tries to align itself parallel to the magnetic lines of flux.
Magnetic force
Magnets stick to some metals. Iron, nickel, and alloys containing either or both of these elements, are known as ferromagnetic materials. When a magnet is brought near a piece
136 Magnetism of ferromagnetic material, the atoms in the material become lined up, so that the metal is temporarily magnetized. This produces a magnetic force between the atoms of the ferromagnetic substance and those in the magnet. If a magnet is brought near another magnet, the force is even stronger. Not only is it more powerful, but it can be repulsive or attractive, depending on the way the magnets are turned. The force gets stronger as the magnets are brought near each other. Some magnets are so strong that no human being can ever pull them apart if they get stuck together, and no person can bring them all the way together against their mutual repulsive force. This is especially true of electromagnets, discussed later in this chapter. The tremendous forces available are of use in industry. A huge electromagnet can be used to carry heavy pieces of scrap iron from place to place. Other electromagnets can provide sufficient repulsion to suspend one object above another. This is called magnetic levitation and is the basis for some low-friction, high-speed trains now being developed.
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