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Why does opposites attract?

The science behind

All magnets have a north and a south pole. To achieve attractive magnets, one must ensure that the magnets' opposite poles face each other, meaning north faces south and vice versa.

The simplest way to explain this is with a compass: the needle always points north, regardless of how you turn the compass, and to find north, you must rotate the dial so the arrow points at N. If the needle rotates with the dial and stays in the same place, your compass is broken, as the needle should point towards the true north pole and not move with the dial.

It's somewhat similar with magnets. They don't exactly point towards the Earth's north pole but always have the north pole at one end and the south at the other, no matter how you turn them. Their direction doesn't change because you turn them. And if you want to join 2 magnets together, they must have the north in the same direction + south in the same direction. And that only happens if you put north against south and vice versa. In other words, you'll want a north direction and a south direction on the combined magnet formed by all the magnets you've connected against each other.

It's a bit convoluted to describe, but we hope it makes sense. It's important for us to make magnetism understandable for everyone, as you can do so much with magnets, and our goal is to make it less technical and more accessible, so more people dare to embark on magnet projects.

How to achieve repulsion: North facing north or south facing south,will cause your magnets to repel each other. You can read much more about this in our FAQ about repelling magnets.

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