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If you cut a magnet in two, why do you get two magnets?

  1. Apr 2, 2009 #1
    Maybe cut isn't the best word, but you get what I mean.

    Surely if all the negative polar molecules move to one side of the magnet and the positive polar molecules move to the other side, and you cut the magnet in the middle, you shouldn't get two more magnets?

    I'm still only doing high school physics, so the answer might be blindingly obvious.. :shy:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Polar molecules are electric charge polarized not magnetic charge polarized. The magnetization of a ferromagnetic material is due to the small magnetic fields of each atom being aligned in one direction.

    Think of the analogy of cars in a parking lot. In a non-magnetic material the cars are turned around randomly. Turn them on and you see an equal number of head-lights and tail-lights from any given direction. Now if you align all the cars then in one direction you only have headlights and in the opposite direction you only have tail lights. Cut the parking lot in half and each half has the same property.
  4. Apr 2, 2009 #3
    Oh, that makes sense. Thank you! :biggrin:
  5. Apr 3, 2009 #4
    That is beautiful. Thank you James!
  6. Apr 3, 2009 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, that's great! :!!)
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