A magnet is an object that has the property of attracting certain materials (such as iron). It produces an electric field, which is the force responsible for attracting certain materials (iron, nickel, cobolt and some rarer materials) and repelling other magnets. Magnets are common in everyday life, from refrigerator magnets through to powerful magnets used in MRI scanners. In fact, they have many important uses and are found in a number of everyday devices. Natural magnets do exist in nature, but the magnets we are most familiar with are produced in large factories. Let’s find out how magnets are made.
How are magnets made?
The first step in the process is to create a mold for the magnets. This mold is created in the shape that is required by the manufacturer. Magnets come in many shapes, but the horseshoe shape is very common. The next step is to take a number of metals (such as aluminum, copper, cobalt, sulfur, nickel, iron and titanium) that are placed in a furnace until the mixture turns into molten metal mixture. This metal mixture is poured into the molds and these are sent to a separate room to cool. The molds are then broken and workers separate the, now cool, metal pieces with a magnet. These are not yet magnetic. These metal pieces are then heated again and a weak magnetic charge is delivered to them (this makes sure the magnetisation is properly oriented). They are then polished to ensure they are smooth. After this they are magnetised with a strong electromagnetic device and after this they hold a strong magnetic charge. At this point they are ready for packaging and shipping to customers.
The following video shows magnets being made in a large factory: