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Bar magnet #1 HTML5


A magnet is made of hard magnetic material that attracts ferromagnetic materials (iron, nickel…). It has two opposite poles, called the north and the south, which generate the magnetic field. This field enters the magnet’s south pole, and exits at the north pole, creating lines of force along which iron filings or the needle of a compass will align themselves.

The magnetic field created by a magnet acts at a distance, and can be observed using an array of compasses. A single click shows how those lines of force are arranged around the magnet. Note that these lines are attached to the magnet.

Click and drag the magnet around the screen.

Click on 'lines of force' to make them visible.

Learning goals

  • To visualize the action at a distance created by a magnet.
  • To show how the lines of force reveal the geometry of this magnetic field. All the compass needles remain parallel to the lines of force.
  • To show that the lines of force are intrinsic to a magnet.

Learn more

In 1820, the Danish physicist C. Oersted realized that magnetism was created by the movement of electrons: electric current running through a wire could turn a nearby compass needle, in a…

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