The Vital Role of the Simple Magnet
Stating that an office would not be able to function without the presence of magnets is pretty bold. Immediately you are thinking that there are other ways to pin notices to white boards or neatly store paperclips. Important, maybe, but these are not critical to our daily life in work.
So, if magnets were removed from the workplace, what would be the effect?
There Would Be No Computers
Ironically, the reason for there being paranoia about putting a computer near to a magnet is that the hard drive uses disks of magnet material to store data. An electromagnet, positioned in the read/write head, writes data to the disk by magnetising small sections (called sectors) in a direction to indicate a 1 or 0. The magnets used are high strength Neodymium Rare Earth, the most powerful permanent magnet presently available. Without the magnet, it would not be possible to store all that data. Presently, there is a great deal of research taking place to recover and recycle the magnet material from computers.
There Would Be No Electronically Generated Sound
Without magnets, the office might be a little quieter as it would not be possible to listen to the latest England Test cricket match or music on Radio 1. Inside every speaker in a screen or radio there is a wire coil and magnet that converts electronic signals into sound vibrations. Also, as a mobile phone and landline telephone relies on a speaker for communication, these would not exist without the presence of magnets.
Maybe not having a mobile phone would be a good thing…
There Would Be Less Environmentally Friendly Power
In 2017, wind generated power contributed 15% to the total UK electricity generation, a percentage that is expected to increase in 2018. Modern wind turbines use permanent magnet generator (PMG) systems instead of gearboxes. The Neodymium or Samarium Cobalt Rare Earth Magnets replace traditional electromagnetic coils to produce the necessary magnetic field for magnetic induction and the generation of electricity.
So, without magnets there would be no computers, no radios, no mobile phones and less energy. Also there would be no magnets for the office notice board and desks strewn with paperclips. Maybe we need to be thankful for the existence of the simple magnet!
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All photographs have been taken by Paul Fears Photography