Table of Contents

What is Magnetism?

  • Imagine an invisible force: Magnetism is a fundamental force in nature, just like gravity or electricity. It acts like an invisible force that pulls or pushes certain materials.
  • Tiny spinning friends: This force arises from the way tiny particles called electrons behave within atoms. Electrons spin, and their spin acts like a tiny magnet.

Why is Magnetism Important?

  • Electricity’s partner: Magnetism plays a crucial role in electricity. Electric currents create magnetic fields, and vice versa. This connection is what allows generators to produce electricity and electric motors to function.
  • Tech wiz: Magnetism is essential in many technologies we use daily. From the speakers in your headphones to the hard drives in your computer, magnetism helps store and transmit information.
  • Everyday hero: Even simple things like compass needles rely on magnetism to interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and point north.

Fundamentals of Magnetism

A. Properties of Magnets


Magnets - Labster

  • North and South Poles: The two ends of a magnet are known as its poles – north and south.
  • Attraction: Unlike poles attract each other.
  • Repulsion: Like poles repel each other.

Magnetic Field Lines:

What are magnetic field lines?

  • Invisible lines that show the direction and strength of a magnetic field.
  • Iron filings align along these lines, offering a visual representation of the magnetic field.

Magnetic Domains

Magnetism: [Basics + Properties + Causes + Facts) - Science4Fun

  • Small regions in a magnetic material where atomic magnets align.
  • Permanent Magnets: Domains are fixed in alignment.
  • Temporary Magnets: Domains can be aligned temporarily, like in electromagnets.

Permanent and Temporary Magnets

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  • Tiny magnetic regions within a material.
  • In permanent magnets, these domains are aligned, making them magnetized.
  • In temporary magnets, they can be aligned temporarily, losing their magnetism over time.

B. Types of Magnets

Permanent Magnets:

Permanent Magnets | Magnetism and Electromagnetism | Electronics Textbook

  • Examples: Lodestone (natural magnet), Neodymium (strongest type).
  • Maintain their magnetism over long periods.

Temporary Magnets:

Uses of electromagnets: magnetic fields in the service of mankind - Orbital  Today

  • Electromagnets: Created by passing electric current through a coil; magnetism can be turned on or off.

Hard and Soft Magnets

What's the difference between hard and soft magnetic materials? - Power  Electronic Tips

  • Hard Magnets: Retain magnetism longer (e.g., permanent magnets).
  • Soft Magnets: Lose magnetism easily (e.g., electromagnets).

C. Magnetic Materials


  • Diamagnetic: Weakly repelled by a magnetic field.
  • Paramagnetic: Weakly attracted to a magnetic field.
  • Ferromagnetic: Strongly attracted and can retain magnetism.

Interaction with Magnetic Field:

  • Diamagnetic and Paramagnetic: Display weak interactions with magnetic fields.
  • Ferromagnetic: Strongly attracted and can become magnetized.

D. Electromagnetism

Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction:

FREELY ELECTRONS: Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction

  • Electricity and Magnetism: Intertwined phenomena.
  • Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction: Shows how a changing magnetic field can induce an electric current.

Basic Principle:

  • When a conductor moves through a magnetic field or there’s a change in magnetic field around a conductor, it induces an electric current in the conductor.

Applications of Magnetism

A. Electricity Generation

  1. Working Principle: Generators use the interaction between rotating magnets and coils to induce an electric current.
  2. Types of Generators:
    • AC Generators: Produce Alternating Current where the direction of current changes periodically.
    • DC Generators: Produce Direct Current where the current flows in one direction.

B. Electric Motors

Electric Motors

  1. Conversion Principle: Electromagnets in motors convert electrical energy into mechanical motion.
  2. Electromagnet Principle: When an electric current flows through a coil, it produces a magnetic field. This field interacts with a permanent magnet to cause rotation.

C. Magnetic Recording

Magnetic Tape Recording

  1. Concept Introduction: Magnetic recording is used in hard disks and tapes to store data.
  2. How it Works: Data is encoded as magnetic patterns on the surface of the disk or tape.

D. Medical Applications

The Role of Magnets in the Medical Field | Stanford Magnets

  1. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Used for medical diagnosis to produce detailed images of organs and tissues.
  2. Working Principle: MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create images based on magnetic properties of body tissues.

E. Other Applications

  1. Compasses: Navigation tool that uses magnetic needle aligned with Earth’s magnetic field.
  2. Loudspeakers: Convert electrical signals into sound waves using electromagnetic principles.
  3. Maglev Trains: Transportation system that uses magnetic levitation to float and move trains without contact with rails.


In conclusion, magnetism is a fundamental force in nature with a vast array of applications that touch nearly every aspect of modern life. From the electricity powering our homes to the medical technology used to diagnose illnesses, magnetism plays a crucial role.

Here are some key takeaways on magnetism:

  • It manifests through magnetic fields, invisible lines of force that exert attractive or repulsive forces on other magnets or materials.
  • The interaction between electricity and magnetism is a cornerstone principle, allowing us to generate electricity and create powerful electromagnets.
  • Different materials exhibit varying magnetic properties, categorized as diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic.
  • Understanding magnetism is essential for various fields, including physics, engineering, and medicine.


Magnetism is a mysterious force exerted by magnets. It allows them to attract or repel certain materials, most noticeably iron and steel. Imagine an invisible field surrounding the magnet, pushing and pulling on these special materials.

There isn’t a universal classification into 3 types, but materials can be grouped based on how they interact with a magnetic field:

  • Diamagnetic: These materials weakly repel magnets, like a tiny shield against the magnetic force. Examples include water and wood.
  • Paramagnetic: These materials are slightly attracted to magnets, like being gently pulled in. Examples include oxygen and aluminum.
  • Ferromagnetic: These materials are strongly attracted to magnets. They have the strongest magnetic interaction because they can easily align with the magnet’s field. Iron, nickel, and cobalt are classic examples.

Tiny particles within atoms called electrons are the key. Their movement creates a magnetic field. In permanent magnets, these electrons are lined up in a specific way, giving the magnet a lasting magnetic force. Temporary magnets have electrons that can be jumbled or aligned, affecting their magnetic properties.

  • Permanent magnets: These hold onto their magnetism even without any external influence. Examples include lodestone (a naturally magnetic rock) and neodymium (a powerful man-made magnet).
  • Temporary magnets: These only exhibit magnetism under certain conditions. The most common example is an electromagnet. When you turn on an electric current through a coil of wire, it creates a magnetic field. Once the current stops, the magnetism disappears.

MCQs on Magnetism

1. Which type of magnet has only one magnetic pole?

a) Bar magnet
b) Horseshoe magnet
c) Monopole magnet
d) Electromagnet

Answer: c) Monopole magnet

2. What is the region around a magnet where its magnetic influence can be felt called?

a) Magnetic core

b) Magnetic atmosphere
c) Magnetic aura
d) Magnetic field

Answer: d) Magnetic field

3. What happens when like poles of two magnets are brought close together?

a) They repel each other
b) They attract each other
c) No interaction
d) They rotate

Answer: a) They repel each other

4. Which material can be easily magnetized?

a) Plastic
b) Wood
c) Iron
d) Glass

Answer: c) Iron

5. What happens when a magnet is cut into two pieces?

a) Both pieces become weaker magnets
b) Both pieces lose their magnetism
c) Only one piece remains magnetic
d) None of the above

Answer: a) Both pieces become weaker magnets

6. Which type of magnet loses its magnetism after some time?

a) Permanent magnet
b) Temporary magnet
c) Electromagnet
d) Monopole magnet

Answer: b) Temporary magnet

7. What is the main component used in an electromagnet?

a) Copper wire
b) Iron core
c) Aluminum coil
d) Plastic casing

Answer: b) Iron core

8. What does the Earth’s magnetic field protect us from?

a) Solar winds
b) Earthquakes
c) Tsunamis
d) Volcanic eruptions

Answer: a) Solar winds

9. Which instrument uses a magnet to find directions?

a) Telescope
b) Thermometer
c) Compass
d) Microscope

Answer: c) Compass

10. What does the direction of a magnetic field indicate?

a) Speed of the magnet
b) Strength of the magnet
c) Direction in which a north-seeking pole of a compass needle points
d) All of the above

Answer: c) Direction in which a north-seeking pole of a compass needle points

11. Which metal is used to make permanent magnets?

a) Aluminum
b) Gold
c) Nickel
d) Silver

Answer: c) Nickel

12. What is the SI unit of magnetic field strength?

a) Tesla
b) Joule
c) Watt
d) Ohm

Answer: a) Tesla

13. Which pole of a magnet points towards the geographic north pole of the Earth?

a) North-seeking pole
b) South-seeking pole
c) Both
d) Neither

Answer: a) North-seeking pole

14. What is the opposite of the north pole of a magnet called?

a) North pole
b) South pole
c) Neutral pole
d) Opposite pole

Answer: b) South pole

15. Which type of magnet is not naturally magnetized?

a) Permanent magnet
b) Temporary magnet
c) Electromagnet
d) All of the above

Answer: c) Electromagnet

16. What happens when a magnet is placed near a piece of iron?

a) Iron becomes a magnet
b) Iron repels the magnet
c) Iron attracts the magnet
d) Iron loses its magnetic properties

Answer: c) Iron attracts the magnet

17. Which phenomenon explains the production of electric current due to a change in magnetic field?

a) Magnetic repulsion
b) Electromagnetic induction
c) Magnetic shielding
d) Magnetic resonance

Answer: b) Electromagnetic induction

18. Which of the following materials is least attracted to a magnet?

a) Steel
b) Cobalt
c) Aluminum
d) Nickel

Answer: c) Aluminum

19. What is the temperature at which a ferromagnetic material loses its magnetic properties called?

a) Melting point
b) Boiling point
c) Curie point
d) Freezing point

Answer: c) Curie point

20. Which law states that the magnetic flux through a closed surface is zero?

a) Gauss’s law for magnetism
b) Ohm’s law
c) Faraday’s law
d) Lenz’s law

Answer: a) Gauss’s law for magnetism

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