Pliers Turned Magnets, How Do They Work?

  I had to cut some metal today, and was happy to be able to use the angle grinder that was given to me recently by a kind co-worker. Sparks flew and my workbench was soon covered in a fine layer of iron filings. I went to grab my trusty pliers, and noticed that the ends of the handles had little afros made of iron filings. How did this happen?! It's not like I magnetized them on purpose, and can't recollect ever storing them near anything magnetic.
     Could it be that from the friction or proximity to the angle grinder's motor that the filings themselves became electrically charged? Anyone care to shed light on this?
     One thing I know is that these guys won't be able to give me a satisfactory answer.

1 comment:

  1. So, in addition to the whole "wrapping wires around an iron core and running a DC current through it" electromagnets, you can temporarily "make" a magnet with friction, heat, or even hitting it often enough. All these things can "encourage" the atoms to line up in a fashion where the "north" ends of the atoms face one direction, and the "south" ends in the other. Now unlike a permanent magnet, this alignment will slowly revert back to its normal chaos as it interacts with earth's magnetic fields, other electric fields, or again is exposed to heat, friction, blunt force trauma, etc. etc.

    If you don't believe me, ask Mr. Owl:


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