What is a temporary magnet?
The topic of magnets is a very intriguing one, to say the least. While scientists have not yet been able to explain the phenomenon of magnetic force and why it exists, there is plenty of information out there that can be taken in on the topic, including the different types of magnets and their unique characteristics.
What are temporary magnets? Temporary magnets are much different than the everyday magnet that you might be used to, due to the fact that they rely on outside forces in order to create their own magnetic field. In other words, temporary magnets need stronger magnets to help them carry out magnetic functions.
Temporary magnets are generally made of very soft materials, whereas most other magnets are considered to be hard. The main point to take away from the definition of a temporary magnet is that it can’t retain its magnetism without assistance from another source.
When magnets are being discussed, it is important to understand that there are several categories to consider. The specific type of magnet that we will focus on today is the temporary magnet. While you might be able to infer what a temporary magnet is just by hearing the name, there is actually a lot more to it than that.
Keep reading to find out everything that you need to know about temporary magnets, from their characteristics to functions, as well as how they compare to other types of magnets.
What is a Temporary Magnet?
When you hear the term temporary magnet, it might not seem very difficult to make an educated guess on the general meaning. However, the concept of a temporary magnet is much more detailed and complex than most people might assume off of the first impression.
In this article, we will be breaking down the definition of a temporary magnet, with detailed samples and data tables to give you a better understanding of the topic. To begin, let’s take a look at the main concept of what a temporary magnet is.
- Can only create magnetic field through presence of a stronger magnet
- Need assistance from larger force in order to exert strength on other objects
A temporary magnet is only able to create its own magnetic field while in the presence of a stronger magnet. In other words, these types of magnets need assistance from a larger force in order to be able to attract other objects and magnets.
What Can Be Considered a Temporary Magnet:
- Electromagnet (dependent on electric current to function)
- Magnetic objects that can temporarily become magnets
Temporary magnets can come in a variety of different forms. For example, you have the electromagnet, which depends on an electric current to flow through the coils inside of the magnet in order for it to react with nearby objects.
This is one of the more obvious examples that we can refer to while on the topic of temporary magnets, due to the concept of how it works, being that electromagnets will not work without the presence of a stronger electric current.
The electromagnet can be considered an artificial magnet, because it is created by a network of electric wires, instead of a more organic magnetizing process. It still is, nonetheless, the perfect instance of a temporary magnet.
On the other hand, you can think of some of the most basic materials that you might use everyday as temporary magnets. This includes any kind of magnetic metal substance that can essentially be turned into a magnet for a short period of time, hence the term “temporary” magnet.
Since temporary magnets are only able to exert this kind of force in certain controlled situations, the object in question will not retain its strength after the effects of the stronger magnet have worn off.
While it would be almost impossible to name every single object and material that can be considered a temporary magnet, it is important to note that temporary magnets can be created through the strength of a stronger magnetic field.
To be more specific, this is generally done by bringing the object in question into direct contact with a stronger, more permanent magnet.
This is a process that we will get into later on in this article, but the main point to take away from this topic is that temporary magnets can be quickly created as well as destroyed.
When the external force is removed from the temporary magnet, it is no longer magnetic. Therefore, temporary magnets are dependent on the presence of a stronger magnetic field, rather than having one just as strong on their own.
Permanent Magnets Vs. Temporary Magnets
When it comes to magnets, there are two main categories: classified as permanent and temporary. While the details and characteristics of temporary magnets were described in the previous section, permanent magnets are worth mentioning as well.
In order to give you a better understanding of what exactly a temporary magnet is, we will be conducting a direct comparison between temporary and permanent magnets. Take a look at the table down below to get a general idea of how they compare, and keep reading for more of the details.
|Temporary Magnets||Permanent Magnets|
|Do not have the ability to retain their magnetic force on their own||Always retain their magnetic field/force|
|Require another magnetic field to have power||Do not require force from another magnet to have power|
|Magnetic materials are considered to be hard||Magnetic materials are considered to be hard|
|Able to function through magnetic force or electric current (stops working in the absence)||Usually created with another strong magnetic force (magnet becomes permanent as a result)|
As you can probably guess by just reading the names, a permanent magnet is essentially the opposite of a temporary magnet, for obvious reasons.
We now know that temporary magnets are generally weaker than their counterparts, and require the presence of a stronger magnetic force in order to function properly. So, as you might already be wondering, what exactly are permanent magnets?
Permanent magnets are given the name “permanent” due to the fact that the electrons inside of the given object have been permanently magnetized. This means, on a more atomic level, that the electrons inside will not change directions, and will continue to provide this level of magnetism indefinitely.
These two magnets are much more different in the way that they work, aside from the names that we refer to them as. The materials that make up a temporary magnet are much softer in comparison to the much harder permanent magnet.
To give you a better idea of what a permanent magnet is, think about the most basic disc magnet that goes on your refrigerator. Upon examination, you will notice that the material is extremely hard and solid.
Throughout the remainder of this section, refer to this image when you hear the term permanent magnet, in order to get the best understanding of the concept.
Moving on, the strength of a temporary magnet pales in comparison to that of a permanent magnet, as mentioned in the previous section. To be more specific, temporary magnets will only possess ionic energy when in contact with a much stronger magnetic field.
This is achieved through a stronger magnetic force or an electric current moving through a set of coils inside of the temporary magnet. In the same way that this gives the magnet a powerful force, it is taken away completely in the absence of this current.
In summary, temporary magnets have lower magnetic fields that ultimately become intertwined with stronger ones, before being removed from the alternate field.
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Types of Temporary Magnets and what they are used For
After discussing all of the basic information about temporary magnets, along with how they compare to permanent magnets, there is an additional topic that we will be going over in this section, which is the types of temporary magnets and what they are used for.
The basic types of temporary magnets are actually not that hard to find, believe it or not. In fact, you might use temporary magnets in your daily life more than you might realize.
For example, the iron that is often made to create the metal that is used for objects like hammers, nails, and paperclips are the perfect display of what temporary magnets are.
At this point, you might be wondering how these temporary magnets are actually used. You might be surprised to learn how they can manipulate other objects and function as a helpful tool in order to create the most simple materials we use every day.
Take a look down below to find an organized list of the functions that some of the larger scale temporary magnets can carry out on a daily basis.
Here are some of the things that temporary magnets can do:
- Help separate different types of metal-based materials
- Used in electromagnets to conduct electricity in motors
- Used in cranes to move much larger and weaker magnetic metals
As you can see, temporary magnets help to improve our lives and to help us out with a much easier job when it comes to handling metal work in factories and car maintenance.
While these types of temporary magnets are used on a much larger, industrial scale, the magnets themselves can be found in various places throughout our daily lives, some of which we might not even notice.
Temporary magnets are even used for communication purposes as well. To be more specific, these types of magnets reside in the old fashioned telephone, along with the most up to date versions of smartphones.
Smartphones, in particular, have electromagnetic energy that is provide throughout the magnets integrated into the initial hardware design, also known as temporary magnets.
Aside from these examples, there are more common temporary magnets that you might have around your house somewhere, most of which you might never expect to be considered a magnet in any circumstance.
The lists down below will give you the details on what can be classified as a temporary magnet, as well as a complete outline of actual temporary magnets.
- Objects made of iron/steel
- Can be transformed into temporary magnets using stronger magnet
A Complete List Of Temp Magnets:
- Iron Nails
- Metal Bolts
- Kitchen Utensils (forks, knives, etc.)
- Paper Clips
- Thumb Tacks
In addition to having some of these objects laying around where you live, they can be transformed into temporary magnets for a short period of time. This is generally achieved by using a stronger, permanent magnet in order to give off some of the magnetic force, transferring it into the object in question.
Keep reading on to the next section to get a detailed outline of how temporary magnets are made, along with some easy to follow instructions that will let you in on how you can complete a simple science experiment in your own free time in order to test out this theory.
How Temporary Magnets Are Created
As mentioned in previous sections, temporary magnets are created through a stronger magnetic force that essentially transforms an object into a magnet for a short period of time.
However, this force will not remain inside of the object after the external magnetic field is no longer present. Instead, the object will simply revert to its original form when the power has worn off.
You can think of a temporary magnet as something that operates through battery power. When you charge an electronic object and it runs out of battery, you will no longer be able to use it.
In order to restore it back to working condition, you would need to charge the battery by plugging it in to a power source.
For the purpose of this example, the temporary magnet can be thought of as the battery powered object, which is essentially “recharged” by the stronger magnetic field.
Although the temporary magnet might be able to operate on its own for a while after leaving the presence of the larger magnet, the theoretical “battery” will eventually run out, leaving it virtually useless without a recharge.
With that being said, we will continue to go over more details about temporary magnets in this section. More specifically, you will learn how temporary magnets are created in the most general of circumstances.
Take a look at the list down below to get a general idea of how a temporary magnet is created from a normal magnetic object.
Here is how you can create a temporary magnet with another object:
- Assemble your materials
- Move the object against the magnet in one direction several times (not back and forth)
- Repeat this step for several minutes
- Take the object away from the magnet
The first thing that must be done while trying to create a temporary magnet with another object is to assemble your materials. This will include a permanent magnet, like something you can find on your fridge, an object such as a paper clip, and some more metallic objects for testing after you have completed the steps.
Move the paper clip against the magnet in one single direction several times. It is important that you move the paper clip in a one-stroke motion only, not back and forth.
Once you have established a good rhythm in the same direction, you will need to repeat this step for several minutes. In doing this, the paper clip will begin to intertwine with the magnetic field that is being given off by the much stronger permanent magnet, just like the process that was previously outlined.
When this is completed, you will be able to move the paperclip away from the magnet and test it on other magnetic objects. Following the process of turning this object into a temporary magnet, it will function just like the one that you took off of your refrigerator.
The only difference with this one will be that the magnetic force will wear off at one point or another. If you try this experiment at home, test your new temporary magnet for a while after you go through all of the steps. Does it work just like a regular magnet? How long does it last?
These are important questions to ask yourself when you are trying to gain an in-depth understanding of how temporary magnets are made as well as how they work. After all, there is no better way to learn about a temporary magnet than to see one with your own eyes.
As you can see, there are plenty of individual components and factors that go into the definition of a temporary magnet. From the traditional electromagnet to the paper clip that you have on your desk, these types of magnets are more present in our every day lives than we might realize.
The most important talking points that should be noted from this entire discussion are the characteristics of a temporary magnet, as well as its comparison with the alternative permanent magnet.
Temporary magnets are some of the most versatile objects, while also being limited by the stronger magnetic field that they depend on in order to carry out their magnetic functions. Without the presence and assistance of an external force, the temporary magnet is just another everyday object.