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Q & A: magnets and energy

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Have magnets been used to make energy yet?
- Nicola
New Jersey
A:
In one sense, no. All the processes we know of in the universe leave the total amount of energy fixed. Magnets are no better than anything else at 'making' energy.

In another sense, yes. Often, by 'making energy' we mean making some particularly useful form of energy, say electrical, out of other forms. Ordinary electrical power generators use magnets and coils of wire, with relative motion driven by steam turbines or water wheels, etc. to generate the electrical power we use. The source of the energy to drive all this is often the chemical energy stored in fossil fuels.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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