# Magnets lines of force are electrons?

Gold Member
Magnets "lines of force are" electrons?

So I understand that a magnetic field is defined by the lines of force that go from the north to the south pole....what are these forces? The flow of electrons back and forth...?

Electricity is electrons moving relative to their ions (the protons in the conductor). Lets just say there is a positive charge nearby within the electric field, it will tend to follow the motion of the electrons.

Now from the reference frame of the external positive charge, the electrons are not moving, but rather the ions are moving. So the ions have more relativistic mass over the electrons and a positive electrostatic force becomes present to the moving positive charge. This charge will then be pushed away from the current.

This is what we measure as the magnetic field. It is a relativistic correction to the electrostatic field.

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Hmm, I guess it's somewhat hard to grasp that "ions are moving" in a solid matter...I'm gonna have to think about it more.

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus

In response to the OP's original question, the lines of force for a magnet are NOT electrons. If anything they would be photons that carry the electromagnetic force, but a better way to look at it is that the lines of force are simply a visual way of representing the magnetic field of a magnet. In reality you would have effectively "infinite" lines of force.

sophiecentaur
Gold Member
2020 Award

A long long time ago, lines of force were explained to me as the paths that a 'free North Pole" would take on its journey to from the North to the South pole of a magnet. They aren't really there but they are a useful picture to hold in the mind. The field is strong where the lines are close together and weak where they are far apart.
This by no means a complete description of a field but it may help.

Gold Member

In response to the OP's original question, the lines of force for a magnet are NOT electrons. If anything they would be photons that carry the electromagnetic force, but a better way to look at it is that the lines of force are simply a visual way of representing the magnetic field of a magnet. In reality you would have effectively "infinite" lines of force.

I see. So in other words, "scientists aren't sure what they are, but if it helps you understand, think they're photons!"

I dig that :)

I see. So in other words, "scientists aren't sure what they are, but if it helps you understand, think they're photons!"

I dig that :)

Good grief. There aren't any lines. They are cartoon drawings. See what sophiecentaur had to say in the previous post.

Born2bwire
Gold Member

It may just be easier to understand that the electric field describes the force between charged particles. The magnetic field relates an additional force that occurs between charged particles when they are in relative motion. These force fields are vector fields. This means that at every point in space the force field is describe by a magnitude and direction. These force line drawings are a way of visualizing this vector field in an easily comprehensive manner. Because of the way that many objects will align along the direction of an applied magnetic force, the visualization of the field lines can be created physically using iron filings or compasses.

The way I understood a magnet was that the way all of the holes in between the electrons faced one way while the electrons faced another way creating the repelling and attracting forces. Since protons attract each other the holes allowed the protons to interact more then they usually would in other material.

sophiecentaur
Gold Member
2020 Award

I should do a bit of Googling to sort out your knowledge, Kainchild.
You seem to have a rather 'alternative' view of it. :-)

The way I understood a magnet was that the way all of the holes in between the electrons faced one way while the electrons faced another way creating the repelling and attracting forces. Since protons attract each other the holes allowed the protons to interact more then they usually would in other material.

You are thinking of a natural magnet. A rock that has magnetic properties. Rather than holes it is usually referred to as intrinsic spin of the electrons.

Or any permanent magnet, in fact.

Yea, that is the word I was looking for.

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sophiecentaur
Gold Member
2020 Award

Or any permanent magnet, in fact.

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus