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Energy of a magnet/iron system (eg. gauss rifle)

  1. Dec 2, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I want to calculate the energy of a system of iron pieces and a magnet on an axis. The configuration can be thought to be like this: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2011/12/drawingskey1.jpg

    2. Relevant equations
    dE = 1/2B^2/µdv

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I tried very hard to find a source which explain the calculations of magnet+iron systems but I really couldn't find anything useful. I want to learn to calculate the change in potential energy between the two systems shown in the image above (and possibly more complicated configurations)
    I can imagine that the magnetic field wants to go through the iron, making the field stronger when iron is closer to the magnet but i can not even begin to calculate how much.
    This may or may not be a problem that can be solved by hand (I am posting this here because I thought this was a homework type question) Reasonable assumptions, and idealizations probably must be made. Shapes of the magnets and iron can be changed for easier calculations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2014 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Calculating the potential energy of magnets and magnetic things is messy - you can do a finite element analysis, but this is nothing you want to do just for a toy.
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