Physics

Magnets and Magnetism



Tweet
Glenn O'Dell's image for:
"Magnets and Magnetism"
Caption: 
Location: 
Image by: 
©  

This article is written to ask a simple question, and maybe offer an even simpler answer.
WE all know that water falls, or at least runs downhill. We all know how to use a simple gyroscopic toy and that it will do some pretty weird things when spinning.We know about levers.Archimedes said it.
"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."
Talk about the big picture.
We all think we know how electric works,or at least we're pretty sure we do. We know about the space shuttle and we all know about the planets and gravity.
And we all think we know about magnets to. Most refrigerators have a half dozen or more holding things up until kingdom comes.
OK! So water falls from a higher to a lower place, as long as the water lasts that is. And we've learned how to use that fact to create billion and billions of watts of energy. We use that to create electric, by using the the emf effects we think we understand We use artificial and permanent magnets to do that. Mathematically we can figure out how to do that following the rules of conservation to make it work. WE know how to put fuel in our tanks and that when the gauge reads empty it's time to get more. Even the space shuttle has a fuel tank. In fact, several. And when the tank is empty everything stops.
And! Oh ya! How about solar power. I love that one! Make the panel, put it in the sun, and you've got mail! Unless the clouds come out! Then what? OK! Wind power, unless no wind.
Every one has finite use and finite abilities. ATOMIC! You live with it. The efficiency is crappy and the waste products not nice to live with.
And all the time that simple little magnet just keeps hanging there. Every machine ever conceived of or built by man has one major stumbling block. They need a power source to work. Some sources are more finite and some more replaceable or renewable. Every machine requires power to work, or they stop working. Not the magnet! What is the magic of the magnet?
Oh sure. WE all know about them. Don't we? One end is positive and the other negative. Lines of force called flux surround them. Push like kind ends together and they repel. And opposites attract. All the time, every time. And they just keep doing it with no end in sight. But why?
Twenty years ago they were simple steel or iron. Now some are so sophisticated that its a secret what they are made from. But they're smaller and stronger, and permeate our lives in ways no one even dreamed of just a decade ago. Forget the ones on the frig for now. The newer ones have created smaller and stronger motors that use less energy to do more work. And the things we do with them. WE look inside ourselves and see what was only sci a few years ago. Super conductors with magnetic properties as yet still not completely understood. Oh sure. We've learned how to put them to use. But where does the energy come from?
Oh? By the way. That little magnet on your frig? The frig will fall apart, you'll move more than once, and you'll probably die, before that little magnet will stop working.
This article isn't supposed to definitively explain why they work, just ask why we haven't found out yet.
But let's get back to that simple little magnet on the frig.
Newton told us that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. We can only change it in form.It's called the law of conservation. We know what form that energy is taking.We call it Magnetism. And we know that conservation tells us that we can not get more energy, or work, out of a system than we put in. So there sits the magnet on the frig, absolutely defying gravity, working it's little heart out year after year.
But our understanding of it is almost like an average person driving a car.WE know how to start and use it and when and where to put the gas and oil in. But most of us don't have the slightest idea what really makes it work.
And magnetics is all around us all the time. The sun has a magnetic field, the earth embedded in its folds of force. The earth has one too, with the moon inside its effects. And the earth has a magnetic north that differs from true north. And believe me! That causes some very real problems. But we even learned how to overcome that too. Oh! By the way. That same magnetic field makes all life on earth possible. If it were gone, so would we be. It stops all those nasty little things coming from space from getting to us and frying everything in sight.
If you look up a man called Michael Faraday you might find some very interesting things about magnetics.With links to even more astounding things. Like for instance; the Chinese knew about it as far back as the sixth century BC. But even then it took until 1088 AD before there is the first written record of a magnetic compass. I guess we should be proud about how much we've learned in the last century. But the question still begs an answer. Where does the power come from?
Nothing we know about has the ability to just keep on working. Oh Wait! The energizer bunny!
OK. So the bunny thing is stupid. But it does serve to illustrate how we can think about things sometimes. WE just take too many things for granted. Obviously magnetics is a far greater force than gravity. Just look at what it can do that overcomes gravity for us.WE have portable magnets strong enough to support a car high in the air. We can levitate objects with them. Just look up maglev.
IN the case of electro magnets we have learned how to use electricity to create magnetism and use it to our benefit. In fact it's the basis of our civilization today. Just turn the electric off and find out how long we last. But that lowly little magnet will still be hanging from that frig. But the magnet isn't the problem. In fact! It might just be the answer.
Before gas and oil, and the machines to use them, we used animals or muscles to do our work for us, using well established mechanical laws. We used steam for a number of years too. Then we tamed electricity. Look up Tesla and The Second Industrial Revolution. Then along came E=mc squared. That gave us the atom and, well? You know how well that's turned out. So what's next? How about that simple little magnet? Yep! We're back to the little magnet.
We see light in a very narrow band. But what we don't understand is that even light is electro magnetic in nature. Magnetics is very deeply embroiled in the fabric of our lives in so many ways it would take volumes to expound on it.
Now! I'm a novice myself. And more knowledgeable people than me have a lot better educations. But common sense just makes me keep on looking at that little magnet. I look at it and can almost see the lines of force we've all been shown that exist with a piece of paper and some iron filings. I've seen the illustrations of the earth's magnetosphere and know how it keeps us alive. So it's very obvious that a lot of work is being performed. I believe in the concept that there is no such thing as perpetual motion. And I know we use the Newtonian laws every day of our lives.And you can't break those laws! So if that little magnet isn't, and can't, break Newtonian physics. There is something right in front of my eyes that eludes me. But just because it eludes me explaining it, that doesn't mean it isn't there. In fact! That alone eggs me along.
It's easy to understand that the magnet can attract to any magnetic material. That's just common sense. But today they have magnets that show effects on non magnetic materials as well. Look up super conductors and super magnets. They can suspend organic materials in space. That's right! Levitation of non metallic. And it's almost pure scifi what happens when you rotate one strong magnetic field inside another, or three! We've learned how to replace electromagnets in motors and created the first permanent magnetic motors. And along the way we've increased the efficiency of all electronic circuits, even transistors. In a small way we've started to capture the true potential of that little magnet. We've even built magnets that are many miles in diameter, and we call them accelerators.
So what happens when we truly understand the source for that little magnet. Magic! Just like electricity was to those early people who first used it. And just maybe the magic has already happened. If your curious? Look up over unity, or meg, for motionless electromagnetic generator,or Lutec. Then use your imagination. That's what happened to Edison.

Tweet
More about this author: Glenn O'Dell

From Around the Web




ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS