Industrial Uses of Magnets

From Lodestone being used as a mariner's compass to magnetic therapy - Magnets have come a long way. Magnets are used in various industries all over the world in various forms.

In Medicine and Health

Magnetic Therapy

Old Chinese texts dating back to 2000 B.C. make references to the application of lodestones at acupuncture sites. Similarly, Hindu scriptures of the 40th century mention the treatment of diseases with lodestones. Electric eels and fish were used by Romans to treat arthritis and gout, and medieval doctors reported that magnets could cure melancholy, arthritis and baldness. Somewhere along the line, cynicism stepped in and medical science refuted the use of magnets. However, magnetic therapy was revived in the late 19th century and today Tectonic magnets are regularly used by golf, baseball and football sports celebrities for pain relief. Magnets are also placed on insoles of shoes, and designed in a manner so as to access acupressure points on the soles of the feet. This provides great relief to the feet and rejuvenates them on long walks. Magnetic mattress pads are also believed to be very relaxing for the body and especially aid insomniacs. Magnetic beds apparently calm the nervous system and bring emotional and physical relaxation to the body. MRIs and X-rays: While magnetic therapy has been awarded the status of alternate medicine, not even the most stringent scientists can deny the use of magnets in X-rays and MRIs. In the 1900's Edward M Purcell and Felix Bloch, both American physicists, developed a way to measure the magnetic field of the nuclei. This discovery led to MRI also known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging. While X-rays still remain the most popular method for a quick look under the skin, MRI machines that are used in hospitals make use of the way that tissues inside our bodies respond to magnetic fields in order to see more details than X-rays can. Brain scans and heart scans are no longer to be feared.

In Electronics

Televisions

Televisions have magnets inside of them that make them work. These cathode ray tubes have an electron gun in the neck of the tube that shoots a stream of electrons toward the screen. Normally these electrons travel in a straight line and strike the screen at a central spot, but powerful electromagnets in the tube's neck deflect the electrons toward the top or bottom and left or right sides of the tube. The inside of the screen has a special coating that glows when the stream of electrons strikes it. In this way, magnets help us see images on the TV screen.

Computer Disks

Computer storage disks are coated with an iron material that stores tiny magnetic fields in a pattern, and that is how we store data on the computer disks. Computer screens also use magnets in a manner similar to televisions.

Video Tapes

Video tapes also use a similar material with iron compounds that allows magnetic fields to be stored in patterns on the tape.

In Industry

Magnetic Sweepers

Magnetic sweepers are used in industries to help reduce maintenance costs and eliminate flat tires at the airports, loading docks and all other types of work sites.

Sorters

Magnets can also be used for sorting magnetic material from non-magnetic material. Magnets are used in the mining industry to separate metals from ore. Food manufacturers use magnets to prevent small iron particles from mixing with the food. Similarly vendors use magnets to separate coins from other junk.

Miscellaneous

Maglev Trains

Maglev trains operate without wheels as the 'float' above the track due to magnetic repulsion between electromagnets in the track and underside of the train. Maglev trains can travel very fast, up to 480 km/b (300 mph). These Maglev trains were launched in Japan, in 1997, and clocked at an incredible 343 miles an hour!

Credit Cards and Other ID Cards

Magnets are also used to make the everyday credit cards and other forms of ID that we use.

Around the House

Magnets are used around the house in innumerable things some of which are: Headphones, Stereo Speakers, Computer Speakers, Telephone Receivers, Phone Ringers, Microwave Tubes, Doorbell Ringer Solenoid, Refrigerator Magnets to hold things, Seal around refrigerator door, Plug-in battery eliminators, TV deflection coil, TV degaussing coil, Computer monitor deflection coil, Computer hard drive recording and reading head, Dishwashing water valve solenoid, Shower curtain weights, Power supply transformers and many many more!

Separation

Various kinds of magnetic conveyors, plates, separators, pulleys and grates are used to separate impure, ferrous material from high volume industrial flow. Similar magnets are also used to recover ferrous objects form ocean depths.