According to their origin, magnets are broadly classified into two categories, namely, permanent magnets, which are made from 'hard' materials that have ferromagnetic properties. The second category is that of the magnets made from 'soft' materials. These are strongly attracted to the natural magnets; however, they are not permanent magnets.
Methods to Make a Magnet
Many substances that are ferromagnetic (strongly attracted to magnets) in nature can be converted into temporary magnets. There are two methods to make a magnet. The first technique is very simple, and requires an object having ferromagnetic properties, and the second method is by making an electromagnet.
This is the simplest, and also the most convenient technique to make a small magnet that it does not have a very big field of attraction. All you need is a ferromagnetic object and a permanent magnet. A refrigerator magnet is the best option. You can also avail the permanent one from any local store. To test if your new magnet is working or not, keep some lightweight pins handy.
Place a paper on a flat surface, and keep the ferromagnetic object on it. Then, rub the permanent magnet over the surface of the object. Make sure that you do not rub it on the object in a back and forth motion. It is also necessary to lift the magnet from the surface of the object, after every swipe or run. Then, swipe it again in the same motion as before, and continue doing this for at least 50 times.
Put the pins on another sheet of paper, and then let your new magnet hover over the pins for a moment. If the process of swiping the permanent magnet over the ferromagnetic object has been done correctly, then the pins will get attracted towards your magnet, and will stick to it.
It should be noted that the properties of such magnets do not last for a very long time. If you want to increase their power and longevity, then repeat the process. The more times you rub both the objects, the more powerful your temporary magnet will become.
The second method is the process of making an electromagnet. One requires a ferromagnetic substance (preferably use a large-sized iron nail), a copper wire, and a battery (for safety purposes use the D-cell) for this activity.
First, tightly coil the copper wire around the iron nail. Note that you have to coil the wire at least 10 times around the nail. Preferably, cover as much portion as you can by coiling. Make it a point that you leave the ends of the copper wire free. Connect the lower end of the copper wire to the negative point of the battery, and connect the upper end of the copper wire to the positive point of the battery. This magnet also works for sometime after it has been disconnected from the battery. Test it by using some lightweight pins.
Electromagnets are used for numerous industrial purposes. The best example of this is that of a crane that is used in salvage yards.