Hi everyone, I have a question about the mechanics of the magnetic field alignment process. If you suddenly subject some iron filings to a magnetic field, they align along the magnetic field lines. I'd like to know how this happens step by step. I understand that the iron filings which were originally magnetically neutral need to magnetize and etc, although I can't seem to find a reason for that to happen. I also did I search about this topic before posting and I found a really interesting debate that may be somewhat related from 2004 (very old by web standards) on magnetic fields and work. The accepted fact was that the magnetic field cannot do any work on a charged particle (as stated in multiple textbooks). However... a fluctuating magnetic field certainly can, as seen in induction motors or generators of all kinds. It is somewhat more complicated by the fact that the magnetic field appears to be a 'secondary' field created through moving charges (i.e. fluctuating electric fields). Then there was an unrelated debate about magnetic dipoles I am also addressing in another thread. I think there was also confusion about work concepts. In anycase, my conclusion is that a magnetic field can certainly "do work" on another magnetic element the same way mass can "do work" on another mass element through gravity and a charge can "do work" on another charge element through the electric force. What do you think?