How does magnetism arise in permanent magnets?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
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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.
 
  • #3
88
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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
Thanks

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
 

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