Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How does magnetism arise in permanent magnets?

  1. Jan 11, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone!

    As I understand it, magnetism can be explained by special relativity when charges are moving - length contraction in different frames of reference leads to coulomb forces between the charges in these frames.

    But how does magnetism in a permanent magnet arise? Are there currents flowing in the metal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    In a permanent magnet the field comes from the individual electrons moving around the atoms. Materials are magnetic when the electron configuration is such that these individual magnetic moments add up rather than cancel out.
  4. Jan 11, 2008 #3
    I remember it deals with the minute fields (called domains) all lining up in the same direction to compound and create a big magnetic field.
  5. Jan 11, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  6. Jan 12, 2008 #5

    Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks a lot!

    The most important thing I've learned so far in university physics is to think a few steps further. Sometimes you need a little help in doing so. This forum is great
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook