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Physics report on magnets.

Extracts from this document...



  • Magnets

Magnets were the ‘magical stones’ we loved when we were young.  They produce a magnetic field which is invisible which somehow attracted other magnets or magnetic materials.  But, how do magnets actually work?  

Firstly, a magnet is made up on a North-seeking pole and a South-seeking pole, with points in the direction of North and South respectively.  Properties of magnets include its ability to attract other magnetic materials, and they also have 2 poles where the resultant attractive force appears to be concentrated.  Additionally, when freely suspended, magnets come to rest with the North Pole pointing in the North and South Pole pointing in the South.  Also, like poles repel and unlike poles attract.  

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Arrows represent magnetic domain

In magnetic substances, atoms behave like tiny atomic magnets.  With a group of atomic magnets pointing in the same direction, all domains are aligned in the same direction.  In an unmagnetized magnetic material, the domains point in random directions.  Thus, in a magnet, we can imagine little “compasses” pointing in the same direction.    


  • Friction

As with all mechanical toys, and also as it is handmade, there are certain flaws and errors in our construction of the toy.  Improperly fitted parts or loose parts can affect the efficiency of our catapult and one of the biggest areas of energy loss in a catapult is the pivot points, which we tied the chopsticks together with pieces of string.


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In this case of the catapult, the kinetic energy is said to be equal to the potential energy.  The potential energy is stored, then when the catapult is released, potential energy will change to kinetic energy which then allows the catapult to work and fling the object.  This all happens without any change in amount of energy theoretically as we seek to exclude other types of energy which may and will be produced while operating the catapult, for example, sound and heat energy.  With this catapult, we show that The Law of Conservation of Energy is true theoretically.    

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

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