# Does Moving a Magnet in Free Space Radiate?

• sahil_time
In summary, a magnet will emit radiation if it is moved back and forth, as long as the frequency of the radiation is equal to the frequency of the oscillation of the magnet.
sahil_time
If i move a magnet back and forth in free space, will it radiate?

If it does not then why?

Yes.

Yes.

Why is it not used for practical purposes? Is it because it cannot produce high energy radiation?

there is a magnetic field out around a magnet regardless of if it is moving or not

Why is it not used for practical purposes?

its used for many many different things ... electric motors just to name one

Is it because it cannot produce high energy radiation?

what hi energy radiation ? ... a magnet produces a magnetic field

cheers
Dave

davenn said:
its used for many many different things ... electric motors just to name one

But that is due to change in flux linkage, imagine a magnet in absolute free space. If i were to

then move it back and forth, will it emit radiation just like an antenna?

Move a magnet past a coil of wire (or move a coil past a magnet - the choice is yours) and a current flows in the wire. This is the basis of electricity production... essentially all thermal power stations and wind farms generate electricity using this process (solar PV panels don't).

Energy taken from a moving magnet is used for practical purposes all over the world (but in case you're thinking you'd like to get some of that free energy, remember you're only taking out at an absolute maximum the same amount of energy you put into move the magnet in the first place.)

Far from this not being used for practical purposes, I'm honestly having trouble thinking of a phenomenon in the modern world put to more frequent practical use.

But now I don't get it - you're thinking of something like, say, the Earth - a big magnet moving in space? It has a magnetic field around it that moves with the earth. It doesn't "emit radiation" due to its magnetic core any more than it emits gravitational "radiation". Maybe on a quantum level you're thinking of force carrying particles that we haven't yet identified? Can you explain what kind of practical use you're talking about... propelling a spaceship by jiggling a magnet about or something?

Okay, i think the question has been a little vague i guess. Let me rephrase.

--An electron, if moved back and forth, emits radiation. This is the basis of antenna theory.

--In contrast, any neutral metal will not radiate if moved back and forth because it is neutral and

hence does not produce a magnetic field.

--Now, if a magnet, which although has neutral charge on the whole, but has a magnetic field,

is moved back and forth, will it radiate?

I'm not really in my field (no pun intended) but I'd answer that antenna theory starts with an isolated negative charge (if we're using an electron) with a net negative charge spreading out into the universe. A magnetic pole is never isolated - you only ever (so far) see dipole magnets. By analogy you couldn't create an antenna by shaking a piece of net-charge-neutral metal. Happy to be out-argued.

sahil_time said:
if a magnet, which although has neutral charge on the whole, but has a magnetic field,

is moved back and forth, will it radiate?

sahil_time said:
Why is it not used for practical purposes? Is it because it cannot produce high energy radiation?

The frequency of the radiation will be equal to the frequency of the oscillation of the magnet, of order 1 Hz. I don't think there is any practical use for such low-frequency radiation. Furthermore the total radiated power will be extremely low.

1 person
Thank you everyone :)

Okay, i think the question has been a little vague i guess. Let me rephrase.
--An electron, if moved back and forth, emits radiation. This is the basis of antenna theory.
--In contrast, any neutral metal will not radiate if moved back and forth because it is neutral and
hence does not produce a magnetic field.

Electrons oscillate back and forward in a conductor when an AC current is applied
the acceleration of that charge generates an electromagnetic field which will be radiated

--Now, if a magnet, which although has neutral charge on the whole, but has a magnetic field,
is moved back and forth, will it radiate?

again, the only thing being radiated is a magnetic field

The_Duck said:

The frequency of the radiation will be equal to the frequency of the oscillation of the magnet, of order 1 Hz. I don't think there is any practical use for such low-frequency radiation. Furthermore the total radiated power will be extremely low.

there's only a magnetic field, not an electromagnetic field because there is no AC current flowing to generate one

Dave

Last edited:
davenn said:
Electrons oscillate back and forward in a conductor when an AC current is applied
the acceleration of that charge generates an electromagnetic field which will be radiated
again, the only thing being radiated is a magnetic field

there's only a magnetic field, not an electromagnetic field because there is no AC current flowing to generate one

Dave

But the fact that there is a varying magnetic field must imply a varying induced electric field, surely.
∇E = -dB/dt
any change that is 'forced' onto one field (as is waggling a magnet around) will induce a change in the other.

It would be interesting to know whether anyone has gone to the trouble of spinning one of these new fangled super magnets at very high speed (100s of kHz would not be impossible) to see if the resulting RF field can be detected at a distance.

There is a changing magnetic dipole, so there is RF (assuming you call a few Hz RF) radiation. As sophiecentaur points out, the changing magnetic field induces an electric field.

$$<P> = \frac{\mu_0 d_0^2 \omega^4}{12 \pi c^3}$$

Where the magnetic dipole is ##d = d_0 \cos(\omega t)##.

Note that for a bar magnet being shaken this is very small. Everything in the numerator is small, and everything in the denominator is big.

1 person
Plugging in numbers, I get something like 10-37 watts radiated by shaking a bar magnet back and forth.

OK
I see where you are coming from
So you are saying that the field outside the magnet is then cutting back through the magnet as the magnet moves within the field and thus generating a current which in turn is generating an EM emission

and OK so its freakin' tiny, nothing like what the OP was indicating or hoping for

Dave

davenn said:
OK
I see where you are coming from
So you are saying that the field outside the magnet is then cutting back through the magnet as the magnet moves within the field and thus generating a current which in turn is generating an EM emission

and OK so its freakin' tiny, nothing like what the OP was indicating or hoping for

Dave

No i guess, the magnet's movement induces closed electric loops in space everywhere, that is

what Maxwell's equation suggests ∇XE = -∂B/∂t. The fact that if a magnet moves back and forth

, there will be flux change everywhere, and hence an electric field given by ∇XE = -∂B/∂t.

Also consequently, there will be a magnetic field due to the induced electric field, it will be

∇XH = -∂D/∂t . Where J = 0. So everything self propels to create RF.

Am i right?

## 1. What is the principle behind the radiation of a moving magnet in free space?

The principle behind the radiation of a moving magnet in free space is based on electromagnetic induction. When a magnet moves, it creates a changing magnetic field which in turn induces an electric field. This electric field then propagates as an electromagnetic wave, radiating energy into the surrounding space.

## 2. How does the speed of the moving magnet affect the radiation?

The speed of the moving magnet directly affects the frequency of the radiated electromagnetic waves. As the magnet moves faster, the frequency of the waves increases. However, the amplitude or intensity of the radiation remains constant.

## 3. Is the radiation produced by a moving magnet different from that produced by an electric current?

Yes, the radiation produced by a moving magnet and an electric current is different. While both create electromagnetic waves, the frequency and direction of the waves are different. The radiation from a moving magnet is in the form of circularly polarized waves, while that from an electric current is in the form of linearly polarized waves.

## 4. Does the strength of the magnetic field affect the amount of radiation produced?

Yes, the strength of the magnetic field directly affects the amount of radiation produced. A stronger magnetic field will induce a stronger electric field, resulting in a higher intensity of radiation. However, the frequency of the radiation remains unchanged.

## 5. Can the radiation from a moving magnet be harmful to living organisms?

No, the radiation produced by a moving magnet is in the form of non-ionizing electromagnetic waves, which are not harmful to living organisms. These waves do not have enough energy to break chemical bonds or cause any damage to cells. However, strong magnetic fields can pose a risk to individuals with certain medical devices such as pacemakers or metal implants.

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