Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When magnets attract to each other or repel. Should I use Coulombs law? If not, why not? Some would say that I shouldn't because: "Coulomb's law deals with static charges and force due to them. Whereas magnetism is force due to moving charges!"

What do you all think?

share|improve this question
    
Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/17309/2451 –  Qmechanic Mar 7 '13 at 19:34

2 Answers 2

You can't use the formula in Coulomb's law to compute the force between two magnets

  1. because that would describe magnetic monopoles, which do not exist in nature (one of Maxwell's equations, $\vec{\nabla}\cdot \vec{B}=0$ expresses this fact), and more importantly,
  2. because this formula is incorrect. The force between two magnets should look like the formula I just linked to, which does not scale as $\frac{1}{r^2}$ with distance.
share|improve this answer

One way for finding the field of a magnet is to model it (as a polarized material inside volume $V$ ) with magnetic dipoles , as lots of dipoles near each other , and then sum the produced fields of all dipoles at the desired point.

To find the field of a dipole, You can model it as two (to date, fictitious) magnetic monopoles and use coulomb force law to find its magnetic field or its interaction with other dipoles. The method gives correct result, But the problem with this , is that the situation does not describe the reality .( magnetic poles have not been observed to date)

To put it another way, theoretically , in classical electrodynamics , Maxwell's equations let (and encourage) you define a magnetic charge density. And then , in the static case ( electro- and magneto- static) the complete solution for magnetic field will be given by coulomb's law for magnetic charge.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.