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Name: Taylor
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Question:
Do magnets have the same attracting force as repelling force?



Replies:
Overall, the answer is yes. However, there are ways to "trick" the magnet by changing its SHAPE. For example, if you have a disc magnetized north and south in the direction of the two circular faces and you and you attach it to a refrigerator, it is very difficult to pull it off. On the other hand, if you carefully attach the same magnetized disc to a refrigerator on its side it is much easier to remove. So you might conclude that it is "less" magnetized in the flat direction (that is, the radial direction). The same principles apply to the attracting and repelling of two magnets. The magnetism is not the same in all directions, depending on the shape of the magnet, but when the magnetism is measured in all directions, the total attracting and repelling forces add up to be the same.

Vince Calder


Taylor,

For structures that are simple and symmetric, like a bar magnets, they attract and repel each other with the same amount of force. Which it is depends on how the magnets are oriented. For most magnets, however, this does not need to be true.

A magnet is "powered" by how many atoms line up together. Most atoms are magnetic. In many materials, these atoms do not line up. The magnetic properties of the atoms cancel each other. In some materials, such as iron, the atoms will line up. The magnetic properties of the atoms work together.

Of course, they do not all line up. In fact, you can ruin a metal magnet by dropping it to the floor several times. Sometimes the atoms are aligned more at one end of a magnet than at the other. Sometimes the magnet is irregular. It is possible to make a metal triangle into a magnet. The shapes and alignments within magnets are important in determining the force between magnets.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College


Yes they do, so long as a few things are done.

The magnets and their poles need to be the same size, shape, and made in the same ways. If there is variation in any of these, then the magnetic fields produced will be slightly different for the two poles of the magnets.

Michael S. Pierce
Materials Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory



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