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Re: Attraction/repulsion (was magnets in HDs)

Original poster: "by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>" <Mddeming-at-aol-dot-com>

In a message dated 5/10/02 3:54:51 AM Eastern Daylight Time, tesla-at-pupman-dot-com

> << What I have always wondered is why you cant put a magnet back together 
> once you break one in half.....  The joint is perfectly matched .....   
> but it still repels each of the matching halves no matter how hard 
> t\you try to press them back together....  :)
> Scot D
>   >>
> That's because once a magnet is broken, it forms NEW poles. And they repel
> and 
> refuse to be joined again.
> Matt G

Hi Matt, Scott,
         This would seem to argue for the opposite reaction. Breaking a long
bar magnet like this:
         N=============S  should yield   N=====S N=====S,
But these would attract each other. To get repulsion, one of the pieces would
have to undergo spontaneous reversal of its polarity, which makes no sense:
          N=============S  would yield   N=====S S=====N,
         It would seem that the answer is more complicated than this and may
involve the distorted fields in and around the jagged edges of the break. If
you cut a bar magnet smoothly in half, assuming the heat of cutting did not
destroy the magnetism, would the two halves repel or attract each other?
Matt D.