Springs and magnets are fundamental scientific devices used primarily to move objects. Springs do so by exerting a linear force, while magnets create a field to apply a force on an object.
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Springs store mechanical energy. The most common type of spring is the coil spring, where a wire is twisted. It can be compressed or extended under a load. Other spring types include cantilever springs, leaf springs and volute springs. The amount of force a spring exerts on an object is equal to the negative product of the spring constant (derived from the spring material) and the distance the spring is compressed or stretched.
Springs are used in countless devices, the most notable of which is the clock. Additionally, they are used in automobiles, the bow and arrow, tweezers and many applications that require something to return to a certain position after being moved.
Magnets are materials that produce a magnetic field. Magnets have two poles, the magnetic field lines "flow" from the north pole to the south pole. Magnets must have at least one north pole and at least one south pole, claim Alan Giambattista, Betty Richardson and Robert Richardson in their textbook "Physics." They can be in any shape, and can also be created by running an electric current through a coil.
Magnets are prevalent in our everyday lives. The most famous use is in a compass, where a simple magnetic bar is attached to a pivot point and points in the direction of the north pole. Magnets are used in induction motors, according to Georgia State University, along with imaging applications in hospitals.
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