Magnet with iron filings to show magnetic field

Magnets are a crucial part of electrical advancements in technologies. But where would one find a magnet in 13th Century England?

Where to find a magnet?Edit

While rare, you can find magnetic materials naturally occurring in the world. These natural magnets are called lodestones. They are usually made out of Ferrite(Fe2o3) or Magnetite (Fe3o4), which means that they are iron-based.

How to make a temporary magnet?Edit

A magnet can be made easily using a magnetic material (such as iron) and an existing magnet. What if there are no existing magnets to use?! There are a few ways to make both temporary and permanent magnets without an initial magnet.

  • Take an iron rod (such as a nail) and align it north-south with the magnetic poles of the Earth. Strike the iron repeatedly into essentially randomize the magnetic alignment. With the nail pointing north-south, the random magnetic fields will tend to all point in one particular direction or another. After banging on the north-south iron bar for a while, it will have attained a temporary magnetic charge.
  • You can also make a magnet by running an electrical charge through a piece of iron. This would prove simple if you had an existing magnet, but luckily a battery is simple to make and put into use. Wrap a length of Copper wire around an iron rod (20-30 times). Attach each end of the copper wire to a battery, one to the positive and one to the negative. Once both ends are connected, the iron rod has become an electromagnet.

How to make a permanent magnet?Edit

  • Permanent magnets are much trickier to make. Early "artificial" magnets were made out of Steel which were super-heated (glowing red) and then exposed to an electromagnet and hammered while it cooled.

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