Magnets are all around us, and they’re made using metal and electricity. As you know, magnets come in many different shapes and sizes. Making magnets involves using a particular sized/shaped mold which gets put into a machine that fills it with sand. Gases are added into the sand to harden it. The hard sand slab is then used as a durable mold.
Next, the ingredients that go into making magnets need to be combined. Typically, copper, cobalt, sulfur, nickel, pure iron, aluminum and titanium are loaded into an electrical induction furnace. A pulsating electromagnetic field heats these metals into a molten soup, which then gets poured into the pre-made molds. The gases in the sand molds are flammable so they burst into flames. While still ablaze, the molds get knocked to the floor where workers bust them open with sledgehammers to let air in, cooling them off and allowing the gases to burn off. Eventually workers end up with metal pieces that then need to be magnetized.
For example, a set of rings designed for use in electric motors gets threaded onto a copper pipe, which is then placed in a tube and filled with silica sand to hold the rings in position. Both ends of the tube are sealed with concrete. Workers put tubes into electrical furnaces where they’re heated until red hot.
A metal rod is then put into the middle of the copper pipe and clamped into place. A low voltage, high current charge gets delivered to the rings inside, which mildly magnetizes them. The concrete seal is broken and the rings are removed with any rough edges smoothed away. Next, a machine is used to empower the rings with a strong electromagnetic charge– and that’s how magnets are made!
For more information, check out the video below from the Discovery Network.