They get their "power" from different things. In the case of natural
magnets they get their power from the spinning of the earth.
Power is not a good term to use, because it is likely to be confused
with energy. Their power is a magnetic alignment that creates a static
field when may well extend well beyond the magnet. When the field is
static, no energy is used.
Moving the field takes energy and the movement of the filed creates an
opposing energy. That is why moving a wire through a magnetic field will
move electrons (electricity) in the wire.
OK guys, that is overly simplified, but that is the idea.
Not really. It's from the alignment of the individual minute magnetic
fields of the orbiting electrons in the individual atoms. A fairly
nice discussion is at
In a random chunk of ferromagnetic material, the microscopic magnetic
domains have a random orientation yielding very little or no net
magnetic force. Introduction of an external field can cause the
alignment of these domains. Once removed, in some materials (termed
"hard" magnet materials) a significant fraction of these domains will
retain this alignment, thus creating a permanent magnet.
As you allude to, there is also, of course, electromagnetism which is
induced by a varying external field.
Magnetism is a fascinating area of exploration for young (and old, too,
for that matter)...
When heat treating high carbon tool steel to harden and temper it,
you can tell when the proper temperature has been reached by
holding a magnet to it. At that point, called the Curie point, the
domains fall apart and the magnet no longer sticks.
Just last week I learned a neat simple demo you can do with high energy
I used a 1/2" diameter by 1/2" long magnet, but it could as well have
been two or three thinner 1/2" diameter magnets stuck together.
When dropped into an upright foot long length of 1/2" copper water pipe
the magnet, which fits quite loosely inside the pipe, takes several
seconds to decend through that length of pipe.
What's happening is that the moving magnet's field induces a current
into the copper pipe and that current flowing through the copper creates
an opposing magnetic field which wants to keep the magnet where it is,
thus slowing its fall.
It's a simplified example of the resistance you can feel with your
fingers if you spin the shaft of a small permanent magnet DC motor with
and without it's power terminals shorted.
You can hold a piece of wire in your hands with an analog volt meter
clipped on each end. Pass it through the N & S poles of a magnet fairly
rapidly. You'll see the needle jump for a bit.
Why do this? Well, it gets the kids attention. Not as much as tossing a
small piece of dry ice in water though. Using water with food coloring in
it then drinking the water afterwards makes the tykes seriously wonder
Even though this is not the right place to ask the question, my take is the
The alignment of the orbits of the electrons in a "magnet" are such that
when introduced to another ferrous object, that object is forced to align
its electrons which creates a vector force in a manner equal & opposite to
A magnet doesn't "have power" - it simply possesses properties that attract
ferrous materials to it. Sort of like elemental valencies that complement a
full shell in chemistry, but the force is magnetic, not electrostatic. The
magnetic "force field" it creates actually is net vector zero, and the
attractive force is equal & opposite to whatever is holding the magnet. So
to do the work, you need to work.....
It's not a simple explanation for a nine year old whichever way you look at
it, in fact some university physics students would have problems explaining
Apparently you never had magnets as a child and
know nothing about magnets, the power does run
out. Electro-magnetism is one force, another is
gravity. Here is your question, name two other
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