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WHAT ARE ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS?

We can think of forces as pushes and pulls, and we normally think of one object pushing or pulling another object by touching it. But sometimes an object can push or pull on another one without touching. Forces that can act over a distance like this are explained by fields that can surround an object and exert forces on other objects within that area. Two examples of fields are electric fields and magnetic fields. Although we cannot directly see these fields, we can map them out based on how they affect objects in the field.

To better understand electric and magnetic fields…

WHAT ARE ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS?. We can think of forces as pushes and pulls, and we normally think of one object pushing or pulling another object by touching it. But sometimes an object can push or pull on another one without touching. Forces that can act over a distance like this are explained by fields that can surround an object and exert forces on other objects within that area. Two examples of fields are electric fields and magnetic fields. Although we cannot directly see these fields, we can map them out based on how they affect objects in the field. To better understand electric and magnetic fields…

## LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!

### Magnetic fields

You know that magnets can attract or repel each other, even without touching. Magnets can do this because they produce magnetic fields that can push or pull other magnets and certain types of metal. Magnets do not attract all metals, but iron, nickel, cobalt, and steel are the most common examples of metals that are attracted by magnets. We can use iron filings to map out magnetic fields. A magnetic field appears as lines that extend from one pole of the magnet and curve around to the other pole. The magnetic fields cause the like poles (north-north or south-south) of two magnets to repel each other and the opposite poles (north-south) to attract each other.