10 uses for magnets

Written by chris haughey
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10 uses for magnets
Magnetic fields can be utilised by simple household items. (magnet image by Dave from Fotolia.com)

Mankind uses the Earth's magnetic fields and forces to create tools and instruments that are useful in many different ways. Whether it is in electromagnet technology in the manufacturing or electronics industry, or in simple everyday use, magnets have an abundance of uses that can make difficult tasks much easier.

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Magnetic Wall

Any wall can be turned into a large magnet by using magnetic paint. This paint can be applied to most surfaces including plaster, wood and metal. Small magnets can then be used to pin almost anything to the wall. This is a good alternative to using pins or tape to hang posters, photos or magazine clippings as no damage will be done to the wall.

Screw Saver

During any DIY work, there is always the possibility of some of the nuts and bolts doing a disappearing act. Using a magnet can alleviate this problem. Simply place all the nails, screws, nuts and bolts on the magnet and there will be no worries about them getting lost.

Magnetic Spice Rack

This is a space-saving idea that enables budding chefs to have their spices near at hand. Mount a steel sheet to a wall near the work area then fix magnets to the bottom of the spice containers, which can then be attached to the sheet.

Cabinet Storage

Another space-saver is the use of magnetic strips in cabinets. By placing strips along the inside walls and roofs of cabinets, cans and jars with metal lids can be suspended, enabling more items to be put in the cabinet.

Battery Remover

Sometimes trying to pry a battery out of a remote or clock can prove more difficult than expected. The smaller the battery, the more challenging the task becomes. But by using a magnet to lift it out, there will be no more frustration--and fingernails need not be used again.


A compass is one of the oldest navigation tools in history, only recently supplanted by GPS technology. It utilises a magnetic rod that is aligned with the magnetic field of the Earth to determine which direction is north. Its creation made travel and orientation much safer and easier, particularly at sea.

Scrapyard Machines

Magnets are used to separate metals from scrap in scrapyards, and even to separate different metals. Car crushers use large electromagnets to lift vehicles. These large magnets can also be found in cranes.

Locate Studs

Studs sometimes need to be found if someone is trying to hang a shelf or picture on the wall. This can be done by sliding a magnet across the wall until it pulls toward or sticks to the wall, attracted to the metal nails that hold the drywall to the stud.


Electrons are shot out of a cathode ray tube toward the inside of a television screen, which has a special coating that glows when the stream of electrons strikes it. Powerful electromagnets in the neck of the tube redirect the electrons toward various parts of the tube, helping project the images we see on the television screen.


Maglev is a transportation system that uses magnetic levitation to suspend, guide and propel trains along a an elevated track. This form of transport is increasing in popularity and the magnetic repulsion technology in use enables the trains to achieve incredible speeds of over 300 miles per hour.

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