Magnets are incredibly important in our daily lives. These interesting objects are used in many applications. Your electric toothbrush, headphones, and your bicycle dynamo all wouldn’t work without magnets. Magnets seem to be a complicated invention. Yet, nothing is further from the truth. You can even make your own magnet. How? We’ll explain everything you need to know in detail!
Humanity stumbled upon magnetism in early history. The phenomenon was first discovered about 600 years before Christ. A couple of centuries later, the first compass was invented! It still took until 1825 before the electromagnet was built. William Sturgeon, a smart physicist from England, is the inventor of this mechanism.
This ingenious invention has laid the basis for many of the magnets we use nowadays. But, you don’t need to be a physicist to build your magnet in 2023. Let’s look at how it’s done.
Make your own magnets
Making your own magnets isn’t difficult at all. You will need a couple of tools and follow some exact steps, though. Are you still a minor? Make sure to get one of your parents or an adult involved.
What do you need?
- A long nail or screw
- Copper wire
This is how to make a magnet
The nail or screw will be the basis for your magnet, as it is a magnetizable object. This simply means that it can be made magnetic. Next, the copper wire is important. Strip both ends of the wire you are about to use. Leave the remainder of the wire covered. For minors, let an adult strip the wire for you.
Wrap the copper around the nail or screw covering its full length. This might take some time, but please take this step seriously as it is the key to success. Keep going until the entire nail or screw is covered. Ready? Place the ends of the wire on the two contact points of the battery. Tape them into place.
If you follow the exact steps above, your nail or screw will have become magnetic. You can now try magnetism on smaller objects. Consider smaller nails, screws, or paperclips. Would you rather watch a video on how this works? Follow along with this YouTube video by Quest Junior.
What do you learn from making a magnet?
There are two important kinds of magnets. We call them permanent magnets and electromagnets. The magnet you created is an electromagnet. Why? By using the battery, an electric current flows through the wire along the magnetizable object. In this case, the iron piece, your nail or screw, has become magnetic.
The physical explanation of how this works is quite complicated. The piece of iron contains atoms that have magnetic moments. When these magnetic moments come into contact with electricity, the iron becomes temporarily magnetic. When you turn the electricity off, the magnetism disappears. Which is actually a very practical aspect of an electromagnet.
The electromagnet you just made, is a kind of prototype of the advanced magnets used for household appliances. That’s cool, right? Even the electric bicycles that are becoming more and more commonplace also use such electromagnets.
How do fishing magnets work?
Fishing magnets are permanent magnets made of high-quality neodymium. Fishing magnets are used to hunt for underwater treasures. Water and electricity don’t get along very well, and that’s why fishing magnets are permanent magnets. Additionally, you don’t want your fishing magnet to lose its magnetic strength. With neodymium this won’t happen. Making a professional fishing magnet is much more complicated, and manufacturing is best left to the professionals.