What Can Magnets Be Used For?

Magnets are very versatile tools and, as such, have found so many different uses over the years. From being used to locate and collect lost metal objects to being used for more complex equipment and devices, the uses of magnets have varied in scale and in complexity over the years.

In this article, we would be classifying their uses into two: uses based on attracting metals and uses that aren’t.

4 Uses of Magnets Based on Attracting Metals

1. Collecting Metal Objects

Since their earliest discovery, magnets have always been used for collecting metals. Whether for separating iron dust from sand or being used by carpenters to collect spilled nails and screws, this is one use of metals that has probably existed for as long as magnets themselves have.

2. Locating Lost Metals

Magnets can also be used to locate lost pieces of metals and pull them out of whatever nook or cranny they might have found their way into. This technique has been used on both small pieces of metals like coins, utensils, and pins, as well as to detect and unearth larger pieces of metals buried in the soil.

3. Attaching Substances

Take a quick look at your refrigerator. Are there any notes or pictures attached to it? If your answer is yes, then you can bet that was done with some magnet or the other. Since magnets can stick to the surface of any metallic surface, they come in contact with; they are usually used to attach things to metallic surfaces. This is exactly the case with the pictures and notes attached to your refrigerator.
A similar thing is usually done to keep cabinet doors shut. By attaching pieces of metals to the cabinet door and attaching a magnet to the cabinet itself, when the cabinet is closed, it stays shut until a sufficient enough force is used to pull it open. This is the same principle that works to keep refrigerator doors shut and magnetic watch straps secured.

4. Lifting Heavy Metal Substances

Since magnets can be used to attract and hold metals, powerful (electrical) magnets are used to lift much heavier metal objects like cars and metal beams for easier and more secure transportation.

As stated earlier, not all uses of magnets are limited to simply attracting metals. Some applications are more complex than that. Below are some of these applications.

4 Uses of Magnets Not Related to Attracting Metals

1. Creating Compasses

Ever wondered what compasses are made of? Here’s a hint ─ magnets. Compasses usually contain a needle which serves as the pointer. This needle is made of a magnet. Since magnets always point to the north (due to the earth’s magnetic field), the needle on the compass can easily be used to determine what direction is north, and from there, the other cardinal points.

2. Convert Electrical Signals into Sound

Magnets are a vital component of most modern devices. From TVs to phones to laptops to headsets, sound speakers, and radios, magnets are used in these devices to convert electrical signals into sounds. This is how audio is usually played on these devices.

3. Convert Forms of Energy

Generators also contain magnets, and just like the case of phones and laptops, they are used to make conversions, except this time, they convert the mechanical energy generated by the generator's motors into electricity.

Magnets are not limited to converting mechanical energy to electrical energy, however. There are several other systems that use magnets to do the exact opposite or transform entirely different energies all together.

4. Storage of Data

Magnets are also a vital part of many storage devices like the hard disks in computers. In these storage devices, data is usually stored in magnetic elements and can be read later by the computer. This is the same principle that governs how information is stored on debit and credit cards. The dark stripes at the back of these cards are of magnetic nature. These stripes can then be read by the appropriate machines.

So there you have it, magnets are not only limited to being used for the purpose of attracting metals. There is a bit more to them and what they can be used for. The more we use these interesting devices, the more we find out about them! Who knows, we might even discover some more outstanding uses in the future!

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