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Bar magnets

Bar magnets

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A plotting compass contains a small bar magnet. This means the compass needle will point in the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Using a plotting compass

The strength, shape and direction of a magnetic field around a bar magnet change from one point to another. The strength depends on the distance from the magnet.

Magnetic fields around a bar magnet

When two bar magnets are aligned with unlike poles facing each other, the magnetic field lines go from the N-pole of one magnet to the S-pole of the other magnet. They are also parallel to each other in the central part of the gap.

2 bar magnets N-S in same direction

When like poles of two bar magnets face each other, the lines across the gap between them are absent in the central part of the gap.

2 bar magnets N-S opposite direction

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