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Question 229

What materials are magnets made of?
They are mostly iron, cobalt, or nickel, which are intrinsically magnetic metals. But to help them retain their magnetic alignments, permanent magnets have other elements in them, too. Iron is magnetic at the microscopic scale, but that magnetism is broken up into lots of tiny regions that all point in random directions. To make a whole piece of iron magnetic, something must help those tiny regions stay pointing in the same direction. The good permanent magnets have structures that keep all the tiny regions pointing in one direction.

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