Are Magnets Useful?

Are Magnets Useful?

We simply love magnets at MagnetPartner, so of course, we believe that magnets are one of the most wonderful and interesting things in the whole wide world. But just because we believe this, you may not, which is why we will walk you through how magnets are used in our modern world. 1

Are magnets useful? Yes, magnets are very useful. Magnets have a lot of applications in our modern world. Not only does many things in a household depend on magnets and magnetism, but the industry also uses magnets in a surprisingly wide scale. Magnets can also be a good way to learn kids about magnetism and science.

Are you curious about what kind of applications magnets are used in our everyday life? And maybe you want to know more about how magnets are used in modern industry?

If I’m right, you need to keep reading, because we will be explaining all this during this post. We will also give you five ways to learn your kids about magnetism and magnets, which surely will help them in their physics class!

Use of magnets - Daily life

Even though you may not realize it, most of today's modern homes contain a lot of magnets in different applications. First of all, there is the obvious one, which is refrigerator magnets. You know, the kind you use for hanging notes, papers and drawings on the outside of your fridge.

If you own a pocket compass, this also contains a magnet. It’s the magnet that makes the needle point towards north.

The dark strip on the backside of your credit card is actually a magnetic stripe, which contains data about your card details. It kinda works like a hard drive on a computer.

Some of the less obvious are vacuum cleaners, blenders, and washing machines. Now, you’re probably thinking: Where is the magnet in these devices? Well, they all contain electric motors, which runs by a magnetic principle.

To mention a few more, your phone, doorbell, children's toys and maybe even your shower curtain contain magnets.

While we’re on the topic with kids and magnets, here are 5 ways kids can use and learn about magnets and magnetism.

  • Vending Machines

The first way to learn your children about magnets is sure to be a big hit! You can teach them about magnets by using a vending machine, and reward them with something from the machine at the same time.

They way magnets are used in vending machines is to separate the coins. The magnets application is to sort out the real coins from metal disks on slugs. Magnets can also sort out real paper money from copies. This is possible because paper money contains magnetic dust in the ink.

Overall, magnets are used for sorting out “real” money from other things that might have the shape and/or weight of money.

  • Compass

This is a classic. A compass uses magnetism to point the needle towards the north. You can let your children create their own magnet with only a bowl, water, a needle, and a cork.

First, you fill the bowl with water. Then you rub the needle against a strong magnet. After, you simply need to place the needle on the floating cork, and it will point towards the north, just like a compass.

  • Refrigerator magnets

Your refrigerator is also a great way to show how magnetism and magnets work. Not only can you attach magnets to the door because it is made of steel, but you can also explain how the door on the fridge can stay closed.

This also happens with the help of magnets. The frames on the side, top, and bottom of the door are equipped with magnetic stripes, which attaches to the fridge, making it close tightly.

  • Electric Motors

Magnets are the key ingredient in an electric motor and generators. How? Because moving a metal wire while a magnet is near produces electricity. Electric motors and/or generators use things like steam or running water to spin the wires in a magnetic field, which creates the electricity.

Next time your child turns on the light or the TV, you can tell them how magnets helped på producing electricity.

Use of magnets - Industry

As mentioned before, magnets are relatively widely used in modern industry. One of the applications where magnets are used is in magnetic sweepers. Magnetic sweepers are used for reducing the cost for maintenance, eliminate flat tires at airports, docks, and other work sites.

Magnets are also very effective in terms of sorting one type of material from another. For example, magnets are widely used in the mining industry to separate metal from ore.

Food manufacturers also use magnets in their manufacturing. They use it magnets to avoid iron particles from mixing with the food they produce.

This is kinda the same method as the vending machine application. Magnets are very useful to sort one thing from another!

Magnets in electronic devices

Magnets are actually used to store data on hard drives. It’s a little complicated to explain how, but here is the short and fairly simple explanation:

Magnets need to determine the direction of the magnetic material on a hard disk in a sort of groups, which represents data. After, the computer loads the determined direction of each “group” of magnetic material, which is how a computer reads data.

Fun fact: Speakers inside computers also uses magnets. This happens with a wire coil and a magnet. These two things convert electronic signals into sound vibrations, which is what you can hear!

Things you can use a magnet for

We’ve already covered how you can use magnets and magnetism with your kids. Now, it’s time for some tips for the grown up.

  1. Avoid drilling
    Are you tired of drilling a hole every time you need to hang something up? Then a magnet is an answer to your problems. With magnets, you only really need a magnetic surface, and then you can hang up and take down all the things you want, without drilling a single hole.

  2. Hack for picking up metal
    Have you ever knocked over a box of nails or another type of small steel? If you do, you probably know the
    struggle of picking every single one of them up. I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

    With a magnet, you can easily pick every last one of them up, without having to touch a single nail. Just grab a magnet, and simply take it near the nails, and the magnet will attach every last one of them. A true lifesaver for every handy-man or woman out there.

  3. Keep’em in the box
    After you’ve successfully used the above tip, you can actually use magnets to avoid the very same situation. If you put a magnet on the back of your box of nails, the nails will stay in the box because of the magnetism.

  4. Enclose
    I think it’s safe to say that we have all tried opening a bag of cereal or chips and forgotten or failed to enclose it tightly. You know what this means. The cereal and chips get soft and therefore bad.

    This can be avoided fully with the use of magnets! You simply need to fold the opening of the bag and enclose it with two magnets. This makes your cereal and chips last longer, and you don't have to worry about having to eat all at once.

  5. Check before drilling
    Have you ever been in a situation where you need to hang something on the wall? You found the perfect spot for your tv or painting, and now you start drilling the hole, but you quickly realize that you have engaged a steel bar.

    Now you have a hole in your wall, that isn’t deep enough to use! This could be avoided if you checked the location with a magnet beforehand.

    You simply have to take a magnet, preferably a strong one and place it at the place where you want to drill a hole. If it sticks to the wall or you feel some magnetism, there is a steel bar at the spot!