Magnets are a very important tool in modern life and are enjoying a large variety of applications which include wind turbines, generators, electric motors, alternators, loudspeakers, hard discs, microwave ovens and different instruments, etc.. However, their functions vary in different applications.
Commonly serving as transducers, the magnets’ functions can be generally divided into the following five categories:
•Mechanical to mechanical – magnets of this function usually work to attract and repulse. Examples of application: magnetic separators, magnetic torque drivers, holding devices and magnetic bearings.
•Mechanical to electrical – magnets of this function usually work to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. Example application: wind turbines, generators, magnetos and microphones.
•Electrical to mechanical – magnets of this function usually work to convert electrical energy to motion. Examples of application: motors, meters, actuators, relays, loudspeakers, charged particle deflection, traveling wave tubes, ion pumps, and cyclotrons.
•Mechanical to heat – magnets of this function usually work to convert the motion to thermal energy. Examples of application: eddy current heaters.
•Special effects – Hall Effect devices, magneto resistance, and magnetic resonance.
With their huge diversity of function, magnets can generate many special effects beyond your imagination and make numerous energy transformations possible.