For questions that utilize the concept of magnetic fields (commonly denoted by the letter B), or for questions whose answers likely involve magnetic fields. More specific than the [tag:magnetism], as questions about the phenomenon & theory of magnetism do not necessarily involve the discussion of ...

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41
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8answers
3k views

How can Magnets be used to pick up pieces of metal when the force from a magnetic field does no work?

I learned that the force from magnetic fields does no work. However I was wondering how magnets can be used to pick up pieces of metal like small paperclips and stuff. I also was wondering how magnets ...
33
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is Earth's climate so stable?

Earth wasn't always the only water-world in the solar system. Mars also appear to have started out wet but, as conditions changed, Mars lost its oceans. So, how has Earth managed to avoid a ...
24
votes
6answers
5k views

Does a magnetic field do work on an intrinsic magnetic dipole?

When you release a magnetic dipole in a nonuniform magnetic field, it will accelerate. I understand that for current loops (and other such macroscopic objects) the magnetic moment comes from moving ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do we deal only with large scale magnetic fields in astrophysics, and not electric fields?

In astrophysics there is a lot going on about strong, large scale magnetic fields: in stars (prominences), magnetic dynamos, compact accretors collimating jets, etc. There's even a special ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the magnetic field inside hollow ball of magnets?

Setup: we have a large number of thin magnets shaped such that we can place them side by side and eventually form a hollow ball. The ball we construct will have the north poles of all of the magnets ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is there no Gravitational Magnetic Field?

We think that the electric field and gravitational field operate similarly with their corresponding charges/masses. With just a difference that the electric field is sometimes attractive and sometimes ...
15
votes
5answers
945 views

Does a magnetically suspended frog feel weightless?

Magnetic levitation has been used to suspend frogs in midair. I was wondering: Does the animal still feel gravitational pull? I mean: Does the frog feel like an astronaut on the ISS, or does he feel ...
15
votes
1answer
917 views

How intense a magnetic field would it take to keep an hypothetical iron-made moon orbiting around it?

The intention of the question is to provide an example of the weakness of gravity. I imagine a horseshoe magnet located at the Earth's centre (remove the Earth), and a ferromagnetic moon. How ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

Can the magnetic lines of force of two or more magnets intersect each other?

Basic property of magnetic lines of force is that, they can never intersect each other. Among the two points given below, which one is correct? Magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect ...
12
votes
2answers
350 views

How are the northern lights produced?

Although I've never seen it myself, I hear the northern lights are a sight to be seen! I know they're related to the Earth's magnetic field but I don't know much more about them. What is the physical ...
12
votes
7answers
9k views

What are the fields produced around a current carrying conductor?

If you consider a current carrying conductor, every instant an electron enters the conductor, another electron will be leaving the conductor. Thus, the current carrying conductor will not be charged ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are magnetic fields so much weaker than electric?

In EM radiation, the magnetic field is $ 3*10^8$ times smaller than the electric field, but is it valid to say it's "weaker". These fields have different units, so I don't think you can compare them, ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Is Biot-Savart law obtained empirically or can it be derived?

Well, there's already a question like this here so that my question could be considered duplicate, but I'll try to make my point clear. Is there a way to derive Biot-Savart law from the Lorentz' Force ...
11
votes
6answers
618 views

Are metals more heavy due to the Earth's magnetic field?

Non-metal objects are attracted to the Earth due to gravity. So the weight of non-metal objects can be only dependent on their mass. On the other hand metals can be attracted to the Earth's magnetic ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What prevents this magnetic perpetuum mobile from working?

As a child, I imagined this device, which may seem to rotate indefinitely. I have two questions. Is this perpetual motion machine already known? If it is, could you please give some references? What ...
10
votes
2answers
19k views

Effects of a very large magnetic field on the human body

Ever since reading about the NHMFL I have always wondered about this and asked several people without getting a good satisfactory answer. My question is, considering the simplest case let's say a ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to levitate a toy maglev train using only permanent magnets as long as the train stays in motion?

I am fascinated with magnets, and specifically the idea of magnetic levitation. I recently purchased a Levitron toy maglev train and have enjoyed finding the perfect sweet spot at which it levitates, ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How do permanent magnets manage to focus field on one side?

The actuator of a hard drive head consists of two very strong neodymium magnets, with an electromagnetic coil between them. If you take that apart, the magnets attract each other very strongly. ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Do all known planets and moons have magnetic field?

In this Wikipedia article it is stated, that magnetic field of Earth is caused by currents in her core. The same origin is for Jupiter magnetic field. For Moon (article) there is a magnetic field, ...
9
votes
3answers
253 views

Is magnetic levitation a good way to vibrationally isolate a speaker from its support?

I recently heard about this company planning to sell a magnetically levitating bluetooth speaker. I understand that the levitation is partly motivated by visual aesthetics, but on the website the ...
9
votes
1answer
297 views

Can a compass be used in a submarine?

This question is motivated by several "myths" I have heard recently - I want to know if there is a problem with using a compass inside a submarine. I can see two different issues, so I'm wondering if ...
9
votes
1answer
528 views

Would an octahedral magnet work as a magnetic bottle?

First, let me see if I understand all this: Charged particles are curved by magnetic fields, so if the magnetic field is strong enough, the particles "follow" the magnetic field lines, in N or S ...
8
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the difference between an electric and a magnetic field? [closed]

This question is a consequence of another question of mine which is about spin. Here is my spin question. What is the difference between these two fields? How do they occur? Am I right if I say that ...
8
votes
2answers
116 views

Does the geomagnetic field rotate?

The Earth rotates about it's own axis. Do the geomagnetic field lines rotate due to this rotation or not?
8
votes
1answer
493 views

Is it possible to kill a human with a powerful magnet?

I'm asking in terms of physics. Can powerful magnetic induction rearrange spins of my body in such way I will die? How? Or maybe it can rip all iron from me, which would make my blood cells useless? ...
8
votes
2answers
279 views

What is the mechanism by which magnetic fields do work?

I've seen some conflicted answers to this question in texts and on the web, in the case of a dipole, for example. Do magnetic fields do work directly, or is it their induced electric fields that do ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is my restaurant silverware magnetized? [closed]

Why is my restaurant silverware magnetized? Specifically, if I lay all three flat on the table, and touch the bottoms of the handles together, I can pull the knife with the handle of the spoon. I ...
7
votes
2answers
11k views

How does Hendo hoverboards achieve the self-propelling motion? What is the MFA?

From what I understand of the idea behind Hendo hoverboards, they use four disc shaped hover-engines to generate a self-propelling motion. I also understand that it uses Lenz's law and eddy currents. ...
7
votes
2answers
259 views

Can a magnet magnetise an object with greater strength than it possesses?

Trivial thought ... Materials may be broadly superconductive, diamagnetic, paramagnetic, ferromagnetic. An object is magnetized by repetitive motion of a magnetic field across it's surface Say a ...
7
votes
2answers
173 views

How specifically does an MRI machine build an image from received radio waves

Unlike the excellent Wikipedia page on ultrasound imaging, the one on MRI only explains the principle theory behind MRI - that oscillating strong magnetic fields cause water molecules to emit ...
7
votes
1answer
196 views

When the sun's magnetic field reverses, how can “the north pole (have) already (…) reversed, and (we are) waiting for the south pole to catch-up”?

I was reading a popular news account of the sun's upcoming magnetic field reversal at http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0807/Sun-s-magnetic-reversal-means-big-changes-for-the-solar-system-video, ...
7
votes
2answers
730 views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
7
votes
3answers
322 views

Why is magnetic field vector perpendicular to magnetic force vector? [duplicate]

So recently in physics class, we learned about the magnetism right hand rules. One of them states that the index finger points in the direction of the velocity of a particle, the middle finger ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Magnetic force doesn't do work and therefore can't change the KE of a particle?

I am having a real hard time understanding the principles behind a question I've come across during test prep. Here is the question: Q: A proton and an electron are traveling in the uniform ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

Is it possible to determine astronomically/astrophysically whether other planets have ever encountered polarity reversal?

We know of geomagnetic flip in Earth's history by studying geologic data. Given other planets in the system also possess a magnetic field leads to the assumption that such polarity reversal may not be ...
6
votes
2answers
127 views

How does the Sun's magnetic field continue to exist at such high temperatures?

The temperature at the surface of the Sun is apparently well above 5000 C; I'm assuming the layers beneath the surface may be even hotter. At school, we learned that heating a metal beyond a certain ...
6
votes
3answers
667 views

How do I calculate electric fields due to currents of magnetic dipoles?

Short version of my question: Do dipole currents cause fields? I think currents of aligned magnetic dipoles cause an electric field, but I don't know how to calculate this field except in the ...
6
votes
1answer
33 views

Spikes on ferrofluid?

What exactly are the spikes, or peaks and valleys, caused by in pictures such as these Wikipedia states that "From the point of view of magnetic energy, peaks and valleys are energetically ...
6
votes
1answer
253 views

Reluctance of torus shaped iron core with embedded wire loop

Imagine a circular wire loop (r = 50mm), the wire has an assumed diameter of zero, which is embedded in a torus shaped iron core with a circular cross-section of R = 10mm. A current in that loop ...
6
votes
4answers
296 views

Explanation of Lorentz-Force

In high-school level books (for example the german standard text: "Dorn-Bader") I have often seen an explanation of the Lorentz force as on the following picture: The textbooks consider the ...
6
votes
4answers
245 views

Intuition behind Faraday's Law?

Faraday's Law seems more like an observation than an explanation. Sure, a changing magnetic current causes emf, but why? How does a changing magnetic field cause electrons to move in the direction of ...
6
votes
1answer
76 views

Does a celestial system exhibit a collective magnetic field?

Sol exhibits a magnetic field, most of the planets in orbit around Sol exhibit a magnetic field - strong and weak both. Does the solar system as a whole exhibit a magnetic field? Does the paradigm ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the divergence of a magnetic field equal to zero?

We know due to Maxwell's equations that: $$\vec{\nabla} \cdot \vec{B}=0$$ But if we get far from the magnetic field, shouldn't it be weaker? Shouldn't the divergence of the field be positive? If ...
5
votes
1answer
174 views

How much power would be needed to make a substitute for natural Earth magnetic field?

Imagine the Earth's magnetic field will take a "maintainance pause" for 1000 years and there is gigant 10 years "doomsday countdown timer" ticking in the sky. The magnetic field will be just normal ...
5
votes
1answer
650 views

If the Moon had gravity as good as the Earth and a magnetic field could it have supported life?

If the Moon had gravity as good as Earth and a magnetic field could it have supported life? Because if the Moon had gravity, it could have retained water more than is present today on the surface. ...
5
votes
3answers
273 views

Tokamaks and the reason they are still not efficient

I'm curious about why tokamaks are inefficient as generators. In laymans terms, what is the main reason(s) tokamaks still cannot be used as generators? My limited understanding of tokamaks tells me ...
5
votes
2answers
994 views

Magnetic field lines

When I searched the net about magnetic field lines, Wikipedia told something about contour lines and that magnetic materials placed along a magnetic field has some specific loci, which i did not ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

Why Inox Steel doesn't interact with magnets?

My dad has a HUGE magnet on his workshop. I love magnets, and when I saw it, I asked him what it was for. His reply was: "I don't know why, but inox steel bolts don't get attracted to it, so I use ...
5
votes
1answer
177 views

Magnetic field lines and knots

As I was reading the book The Trouble With Physics, I encountered a small paragraph which seemed bit confusing. The paragraph goes as follows: Picture field lines, like the lines of magnetic field ...
5
votes
1answer
288 views

Calculate electric field induced by a changing magnetic field

I want to plot the electric field (as a vector field plot) which is induced by a changing magnetic field for some simple cases. Suppose for example that the magnetic field changes linearly (or ...