Flux Lines of Various Magnets
Name: Barbara G.
We have been looking at the flux lines of bar and disk
magnets in our 8th grade Science class. One of the students asked what
the flux lines would look like for a triangular magnet. If the poles
were the larger top and bottom surfaces, it seems pretty
straightforward. But - can you have two of the three sides be the north
and south poles. If so what happens at the edge where the two poles meet
and what happens along the third side? Does the vertice look like a
concentrated area of flux? Does the third side show a flux pattern like a
long, very thin bar magnet?
I do not know how to draw it on the computer, but I can easily describe it.
Imagine a standard bar magnet with the north pole at the left and the bar
magnet at the right. The flux lines come out the north pole to the left,
circle around and enter the south pole from the right, and then passing
through the magnet back to the north pole. "Stretch" the picture vertically
in your mind, expanding the bar magnet into a square. The lines will look
very similar to those of a bar magnet, just more spread out within the
magnet. Now "squeeze" the top edge of the magnet in slowly. The image
passes from a square to a trapezoid to a triangle. As the sides rotate,
some of the loops around the bottom will find it easier to go around the
top. I would expect field lines around the top to be closer together than
loops around the bottom. Within the magnet, many of the field lines will
curve, more so near the top than near the bottom.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012