If I break a magnet, I get two magnets. Now I could repeat this with one the two halves. If I keep going, eventually the magnet will be smaller than the size of an atom, so, one of two things should happen before reaching that point:

  1. I separate the two poles
  2. I cannot break the magnet anymore

I know 1. is impossible, since we cannot separate the two poles, so I am guessing the process need to stop at some point. At what point will I be unable to break my magnet, and why?


for a "classic" magnet consisting of iron, the process stops when you get down to a single atom. If you split that into a pair of smaller atoms, neither is going to be a magnet anymore.

  • $\begingroup$ what do you mean by "smaller" atoms? $\endgroup$ – user Sep 1 '18 at 1:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I mean taking the iron atom and pulling its nucleus apart to make two separate, smaller nuclei- for example, 2 aluminum nuclei- and dressing them with the correct number of electrons. Those aluminum atoms cannot be magnetized and will not be attracted to a magnet. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Sep 1 '18 at 2:04

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