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Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Substances

The substances which are strongly attracted by magnets are called magnetic substances.
For example, iron, cobalt, nickel and their alloys are magnetic substances.

The substances which are not attracted by a magnet are called non-magnetic substances.
For example, wood, paper, water, copper, glass, gold, silver, etc., are non-magnetic substances.

Types of Magnets
Magnets are classified into two types namely,
  1. natural magnets and
  2. artificial magnets.
Natural magnets: Natural magnet occurs as an ore of iron called magnetite. Magnetite has magnetic properties and does not occur in any regular shapes. It behaves like a weak magnet.
Description: Description: 97351.png

Natural Magnet (Lodestone)


Artificial magnets: Magnets find a very large number of applications. Different applications need magnets of different shapes and strength. The artificially prepared powerful magnets of different shapes are called artificial magnets. Artificial magnets have regular shapes and required magnetic strength. Artificial magnets are named on the basis of their shapes. Some of the artificial magnets with their names are shown in Figure.


Description: Description: 97360.png
Artificial Magnets

Properties of a Magnet

Attractive Property When we move a magnet over iron filings, they get attracted to the magnet. This is called attractive property of the magnet. This property is used in separating magnetic substances from non-magnetic substances, e.g., in refining iron ore to separate iron from other impurities.


Description: Description: FIG-10.3.tif
Iron Filings Attracted to a Horse-shoe Magnet


Directive Property A freely suspended bar magnet always comes to rest pointing to north–south direction. This property is known as the directive property of the magnet. Sailors use this property for identifying the directions on the high seas and during nights.


Description: Description: FIG-10.4.tif
A Freely Suspended Bar Magnet


Inductive Property When a piece of iron is placed in contact with the magnet, the piece of iron also behaves like a magnet and is capable of attracting iron filings. This means that magnetism is induced in this piece of iron.

Once the iron piece is moved away from the magnet, it loses its magnetism.
Description: Description: FIG-10.5.tif
Induced Magnetism


The process in which a piece of magnetic material acquires the magnetic properties temporarily due to the presence of another magnet near it is called magnetic induction.

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