What and what is a magnet made of?
Magnets can be made by placing a magnetic material, such as iron or steel, in a strong magnetic field. Permanent, temporary and electromagnets can be made in this way.
The atoms that make up easily magnetized materials such as iron, steel, nickel and cobalt are arranged in small units called domains. Each domain, although microscopic, contains millions of billions of atoms and each domain acts like a small magnet. When a magnetic material is placed in a strong magnetic field, the individual domains, which normally point in all directions, gradually oscillate in the direction of the field. They also take over adjacent areas. When most of the areas are aligned with the field, the material becomes a magnet.