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What are some applications of permanent magnets?
Dec 24, 2018

Scientists use four basic ways to categorize magnets, based on how their magnetic force is used.

These applications are the simplest use of magnets. A simple refrigerator magnet is a perfect example—a picture or slogan on a small piece of laminated cardboard with a small bar magnet glued to the back which attracts to a metal refrigerator door.

The magnet’s ability to convert electric force into mechanical force. Electric motors are good examples of using magnets to convert electric energy into mechanical force. While electromagnets are more commonly used for electric motors,  permanent magnets can be used as well. A magnet is placed in a conductive substance, and then the magnetic field yielded by the magnet turns another piece of equipment, which rotates the motor rapidly.

The magnet’s ability to convert mechanical force into electric force. Generators predominately use this ability. In contemporary times, electromagnets are more often used for power generating turbines, but permanent magnets still play a part.  Very simply, two permanent magnets are placed opposite one another, with like sides facing. Their repelling forces rotate a turbine, which then turns a piece of equipment known as an armature. This churning armature generates electricity, which can then be transferred to other purposes.

The magnet’s ability to affect ion beams. Cathode-ray tubes, a type of vacuum tube for focusing electrons, use permanent magnets for aiming purposes. A ring of permanent magnets, alternating north and south poles, is on the end of an electron gun’s yoke, and these ringed magnets can be rotated to focus the beam for better reception or tighter focus.

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