Magnetic Myths: Fact or Fiction

 In Magnets, Magnets and Science

Magnets almost seem magical. They have mystified humans for centuries and are still widely used in science experiments and magic shows today. This has led to a lot of myths and misconceptions about magnets and their properties throughout history. Sometimes it’s Hollywood bending the truth, sometimes is outdated information and other times it’s pure fabrication. Whatever the source, science can be used to explain the myth and determine if it’s fact or fiction.

Common Myths about Magnets

At US Magnetix, we get our fair share of magnet questions and many of them stem from common myths and misconceptions. We’re here to set the record straight about a few of the most common myths we here.

Bigger Equals Stronger

Myth: Just because it’s bigger, doesn’t mean it’s stronger when it comes to magnets. The strength of a magnetic is not solely determined by size. The material, shape and surface area are also factors. Strength can also be affected by things such as temperature, water, moisture and other magnets.

Magnets Can Erase Data

Fact (in theory at least): Magnets can interfere with certain types of electronic devices and data storage. However, you do not need to worry about everyday magnets erasing your hard drive or interfering with your credit card. The magnetic fields produced by most magnets, even super strong ones, are not nearly strong enough to cause any significant damage.

Magnets Stick to Any Metal

Myth: While all magnetic materials are metal, not all metals are magnetic. Magnets are only attracted to ferromagnetic materials or metals with high levels of iron, such as steel, nickel, and cobalt. Other metals including aluminum, zinc, copper, gold, and brass are not magnetic and magnets do not stick to them.

Magnets Can Stop Bullets

Myth: One of the less believable ones to start with, this myth comes from a James Bond film where an electromagnet hidden in a wristwatch is used to deflect bullets. It makes for an exciting movie but is not possible. It was even tested in an episode of MythBusters.

Magnets Can be One-Poled

Myth: All magnets have a north and south pole. There is no such thing as a one-pole or monopole magnet, with either only a north or south pole. There is no physical boundary within the magnet for the south or north end. If you cut a magnet in half, you simply have a smaller magnet with two poles.

Magnets Lose Strength Over Time

Fact: The keyword here being over time, but yes, magnets do lose magnetism. The rate of loss depends on the type of magnet, the quality of the magnet and the conditions in which it’s used. Poorer quality magnets and ones used in harsh conditions tend to lose strength more rapidly, but even so many magnets maintain their magnetism with no noticeable loss in strength for decades or even centuries.

The Earth’s Magnetic Poles Can Reverse

Fact: Pole reversal can and has occurred on Earth. It’s estimated to have happened about one hundred times in the last three billion years. The change is gradual and can result in a large decrease in total field intensity. Not enough to cause the end of the world, but it can allow coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun to get through creating holes in the ozone layer.

Buy Magnets Online

At US Magnetix, we’re here to help you with all your magnetic needs whether you are looking to bust your own magnetic myth or need help finding the right magnet for your project or design. We carry a variety of promotional magnets and industrial magnets, including super strong neodymium magnets. Shop our online magnet store now or reach out to us online. We have years of experience and expertise in helping you decide which magnetic product is right for you.


Start typing and press Enter to search

Magnetic CalendarWinter-Proofed House