Let Google Translate This Blog For You

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magnets, Motors and Machines

Most of us growing up as children played with magnets- and some of us as adults still do. Magnets carry a certain mystery, a certain romanticism and air of mysticism to them. We see how they interact in the world, with each other and with iron bearing metals and we wonder how.  For hundreds of years we humans have played with magnets, yet science still has a fairly minimal grasp on the why of what makes magnets behave as they do. Today we have stronger magnets than ever before and the amount of flux, or magnetic force in these magnets make them many times more powerful and sometimes dangerous than we have ever known magnets could be. The magnetic flux intensity in a tiny commercial or industrial magnet today can be thousands of times stronger than in magnets from just 20 years ago. 
  A magnet is a metal or ceramic object that has a natural and continuous magnetic field around it.  Any ordinary piece of iron containing metal can become a magnet though simply by winding that chunk of metal with insulated wire and passing electric current through the wire. This concept of the 'electromagnet' gives us wonderful machines and devices such as motors, generators, alternators, transformers, ignition coils and speakers that turn the electrical music signals from our MP3 player into vibrating air that we hear as sound.  Its motors that I want to focus on for the next few paragraphs here...