# Why Do Magnets Repel?

When two like-poles point together, the arrows from the two magnets point in opposite directions, and the field lines cannot join up. So the magnets will push apart (repel).

If you hold two magnets the wrong way round, they push apart – they repel each other! In other words, if you hold two magnets together with like poles close together (two north OR two south poles), they will repel each other. Try it! It feels like the m agnets are surrounded by an invisible layer of rubber that’s pushing them apart. This invisible layer is called a magnetic field.

It is only when you hold unlike poles together (a north point to south) that magnets stick together (they are attracted). Now the magnetic field acts like a stretched rubber band that pulls the magnets together.

## Why do magnets attract or repel?

You’ve probably heard of energy. Energy is required to create movement.

A stationary car starts moving when the petrol it contains burns. This is because petrol contains stored energy that is released when it is burned.

When this stored energy is released, some of it converts to kinetic energy. Scientists call this stored energy “potential energy” and call the energy of motion “kinetic energy”.

When you start running, it’s because the energy stored in your food is released and some of it is converted into kinetic energy.

What does this have to do with magnets? Well, the magnetic field that surrounds all magnets contains stored energy. But there is a way to change the amount of stored energy surrounding the magnet. And the way you change it will tell you which way the magnet will move.

## What forces repel magnets?

Opposites attract. To explain why magnets repel each other, a north end of a magnet will be attracted to the south of another magnet. The north and north ends of two magnets as well as the south and south ends of two magnets will repel one another. The magnetic force is the basis for electric motors and attractive magnets for use in medicine, industry, and research.

To understand how this repulsive force works and explain why magnets repel each other and attract electricity, it’s important to study the nature of magnetic force and the many forms it takes in various phenomena in physics.

## What happens when magnets repel?

A magnet’s magnetic field is the area around it where metallic objects are affected. The area of the magnetic field where the magnet’s force is strongest is called the magnetic pole. When a magnet is hung freely rotating, it rotates in a north-south direction. The north end is called the north pole or north pole of the magnet. The other end is called the South Pole.

When two magnets are brought together, the opposite poles will attract one another, but the like poles will repel one another. This is similar to electric charges. Like charges repel, and unlike charges attract. Since a free-hanging magnet will always face north, magnets have long been used for finding direction.

Thousands of years ago, Chinese navigators used a magnetized needle floating in the water to indicate direction. This made a simple type of compass. Columbus and other explorers also used magnetic needles as a compass to help them cross the Atlantic.

The earth is like a giant magnet, but unlike two freely hanging magnets, the north pole of a magnet is attracted to the earth’s north pole. The earth is the largest magnet on earth itself. It is mainly composed of iron and nickel.

The outer core is made of molten rock that contains metal. The center or inner core of the earth is also made of metal. When the inner core moves against the outer core, the earth turns into a giant magnet.