I have two magnets, a weak one and a very strong one. The weak one is a cheap toy magnet, and the strong one is a ceramic magnet.

Normally, I would expect that if I orient the magnets so that the two south poles are facing each other, then they would repel each other. However, in this case, they repelled each other at first, but when I pushed them close enough together, they attracted and stuck together. The same happened with the two north poles. What would explain this behaviour?

(I used a compass to check that I had tried all possible orientations.)

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    $\begingroup$ What I couldn't tell from your text was what happened when you tried north-south and south-north. Did they behave the same way (repel at first but attract once they're close enough) or did they just attract each other? If you can add that to the question it would be helpful. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Jan 26, 2019 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel they behaved normal plus the weird behavior $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2019 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Luna I've cast a reopen vote, which should put it into the review queue for others to decide if they agree. (It's up to them.) I'd still like to understand your last comment better though - what does "normal plus the weird behavior" mean exactly? Does it mean that when you put the north pole and the south pole together they repelled, or did they attract? $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Jan 29, 2019 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ You are more likely to get more answers if you don't accept the first one. People are less likely to give answers if they think it's been answered already. I think Clem's answer is basically correct, but it's possible that someone else will explain it in more detail. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Jan 31, 2019 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ Can you show photos of magnets connected by the same polls? $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2019 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


The strong magnet reoriented the magnetic dipoles in the weak magnetic, so what had been an N pole became an S pole.

  • $\begingroup$ I did use a non magnetic thin metal rod to push it and the weak flipped $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate? Like, how does it happen and why the change is not permanent? $\endgroup$
    – stafusa
    Aug 14, 2020 at 7:35

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