Physics » Magnetism and Faraday's Law » Permanent Magnets

Poles of Permanent Magnets

Permanent Magnets: The Poles of Permanent Magnets

Because the domains in a permanent magnet all line up in a particular direction, the magnet has a pair of opposite poles, called north (usually shortened to N) and south (usually shortened to S). Even if the magnet is cut into tiny pieces, each piece will still have both a N and a S pole. These magnetic poles always occur in pairs. In nature, we never find a north magnetic pole or south magnetic pole on its own.

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In nature, positive and negative electric charges can be found on their own, but you never find just a north magnetic pole or south magnetic pole on its own. On the very small scale, zooming in to the size of atoms, magnetic fields are caused by moving charges (i.e. the negatively charged electrons).

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