Recently while fishing for some blog-worthy material I stumbled upon one of my favorite youtube channels that posts cool videos on all sorts of sciency stuff. Since magnetism is not the most heated of debates amongst us students for some odd reason, I figured a video on magnetism might spice things up a bit for me. I learned about a whole new type of manufactured magnet that I thought would look really interesting to a technology guy like me.
Now we all know about magnets, right? One end is south and the other is north. You can use put your failing grades from physics and calc tests (at least I can) up on the fridge for mom and dad to see. They're fun to play with. However they do have some other more important uses such as the ones in your refrigerator, car brakes, or screen displays.
New magnets, however, are not only beginning to be made with multiple poles on one side, but programmable polarities - meaning a pattern of polarities can be programmed on software and the magnetic field can be "printed" onto a magnet. This means that you could print as many poles in whatever shape you desire. One of the benefits of this is that a very distinct shape could be printed between two magnets and allow them to attract each other only up to a certain point. After that point they will repel and only continue to attract once aligned properly. Although it just seems cool at this point, it could be useful in door and hinge technologies, allowing easier opening and closing.
Magnetism isn't heard about often for a reason, because there's a lot we (especially me) don't know yet. However, I thought the fact that we can create magnets with multiple poles on each side, or "polymagnets," was a pretty cool thing.