Physics » Magnetism » Ferromagnets and Electromagnets

Summarizing Ferromagnets and Electromagnets


  • Magnetic poles always occur in pairs of north and south—it is not possible to isolate north and south poles.
  • All magnetism is created by electric current.
  • Ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, are those that exhibit strong magnetic effects.
  • The atoms in ferromagnetic materials act like small magnets (due to currents within the atoms) and can be aligned, usually in millimeter-sized regions called domains.
  • Domains can grow and align on a larger scale, producing permanent magnets. Such a material is magnetized, or induced to be magnetic.
  • Above a material’s Curie temperature, thermal agitation destroys the alignment of atoms, and ferromagnetism disappears.
  • Electromagnets employ electric currents to make magnetic fields, often aided by induced fields in ferromagnetic materials.



materials, such as iron, cobalt, nickel, and gadolinium, that exhibit strong magnetic effects


to be turned into a magnet; to be induced to be magnetic


regions within a material that behave like small bar magnets

Curie temperature

the temperature above which a ferromagnetic material cannot be magnetized


the use of electrical currents to induce magnetism


an object that is temporarily magnetic when an electrical current is passed through it

magnetic monopoles

an isolated magnetic pole; a south pole without a north pole, or vice versa (no magnetic monopole has ever been observed)

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