Monday, December 23, 2013

5 amazing facts about magnets

5 awesome facts that make magnets slightly more interesting!

Magnets, despite their amazing applications and interesting nature, can be perceived as being quite a dull subject; a lump of metal that can stick to another lump of metal. Hardly shaking-at-the-bones science but their application, uses and overall nature can make this quite a fun subject.

I'm Mark and I write all the content material for Rotary, the UKs leading magnet specialists. I also enjoy writing educational material and I've compiled my favourite facts about magnets.

Whether you’re looking for 5 top facts to entertain the kids, or on your lunch break looking for something interesting to read, we have put together our favourite facts about magnets!

  1. The Chinese invented the first magnetic compasses during the Qin Dynasty, around 221 to 206 B.C, for use by fortunetellers. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that the Chinese developed compasses for navigational purposes.
  2. The phrases opposites attract because of the way magnets work. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole. It’s only possible for a magnet to fuse with another magnet if their opposite poles are touching.
  3. If you find a strong magnet, be careful not to put it anywhere near computer hard drives, credit cards or video and audiotapes. Why? Magnets that are strong enough have the ability to completely erase the data that is stored on these devices. It’s considered good practice, however, that if you want to throw away a hard drive, then firstly format it, run strong magnets over it then smash it to bits!
  4. Heated iron can’t be magnetized! The thermal energy from heating it up makes the atoms in the material jiggle. When atoms jiggle, it’s difficult for them to line up properly, so heated iron actually loses it’s magnetism. The point at which this occurs is the Curie Point, named after Pierre Curie. Who’s he? A physicist that discovered this.
  5. Feeding or inserting magnets into cattle might sound extremely horrendous but it’s actually common practice. When cows graze, they might ingest bits of wire and nails left in fields by careless workers. These shards of metal can cause huge health problems if they become lodged into the lining of the stomach. Not only that, but the cow can’t eat properly and stops producing milk. To prevent this, magnets are carefully placed in cows stomach to attract any pieces of metal. Crazy, eh?

Magnets are incredibly useful and range from simply play things right through to being the very crux of expensive medical machinery. But how was this simple and effective bit of metal found? Legend has it that a chap named Magnes, some 4,000 years ago, got his foot stuck to a rock because of the nails in his shoes. Named after him, they called this rock Magnetite. As legend and folklore grew, many thought magnetite contained magical powers; heal and frighten evil spirits. It was also believed to dissolve ships made of iron!

So the next time you see a magnet jut lying around, remember how extremely simply it is but how extraordinarily useful it can be!

Mark is the Head of Content at Rotary, Sheffields leading engineering company. Mark writes beautiful copy and wonderful flowing scripts to ensure that Rotary convey the message they strive hard to achieve. Following Mark over at

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