Magnetic Attraction and Repulsion Magnitudes
Do magnets have the same attracting force as
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.
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
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
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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Update: June 2012