Why does iron become a magnet when you stroke it with a magnet?

Question by яαиdoм єpicиess: Why does iron become a magnet when you stroke it with a magnet?
It’s for my Science homework and what we did was stroke a magnet and an iron nail to make it magnetic. The iron nail then attracted a bunch of paperclips which held for 30 seconds exact. (meaning we made the iron nail a strong magnet just by stroking it)
So how does the nail become magnetic and why? Thanks 🙂

Best answer:

Answer by Andrew Smith
Each piece of iron contains many tiny segments ( magnetic domains ) that are magnetized already.

But they point in many different directions so they effectively cancel each other out.

By stroking the bar we are using energy to line up some of these domains thus creating a net magnetic field.

Note that we didn’t really create magnetism, we just organized it.

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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Roger S May 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    It has to do with moving electrons. A moving electron creates a magnetic field around it. The magnetic fields of electrons can add or subtract according to the direction the electrons move in. If they all move in 1 direction, the fields add together. The Iron atoms in a magnet are sort of like a comb. The other piece of iron was like hair. The comb will pull all the hair in one direction. The same thing happens to the electrons in the piece of Iron which is magnetized. Because moving electrons create magnetic fields, a wire carrying DC current can also create a magnetic field. This is how an electromagnet works.

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