Page:A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism - Volume 2.djvu/77
SOFT AND HARD STEEL.
up the magnetic state so readily as soft iron. The operation of hammering, or any other kind of vibration, allows hard iron under the influence of magnetic force to assume the magnetic state more readily, and to part with it more readily when the magnetizing force is removed. Iron which is magnetically hard is also more stiff to bend and more apt to break.
The processes of hammering, rolling, wire-drawing, and sudden cooling tend to harden iron, and that of annealing tends to soften it.
The magnetic as well as the mechanical differences between steel of hard and soft temper are much greater than those between hard and soft iron. Soft steel is almost as easily magnetized and demagnetized as iron, while the hardest steel is the best material for magnets which we wish to be permanent.
Cast iron, though it contains more carbon than steel, is not so retentive of magnetization.
If a magnet could be constructed so that the distribution of its magnetization is not altered by any magnetic force brought to act upon it, it might be called a rigidly magnetized body. The only known body which fulfils this condition is a conducting circuit round which a constant electric current is made to flow.
Such a circuit exhibits magnetic properties, and may therefore be called an electromagnet, but these magnetic properties are not affected by the other magnetic forces in the field. We shall return to this subject in Part IV.
All actual magnets, whether made of hardened steel or of load stone, are found to be affected by any magnetic force which is brought to bear upon them.
It is convenient, for scientific purposes, to make a distinction between the permanent and the temporary magnetization, defining the permanent magnetization as that which exists independently of the magnetic force, and the temporary magnetization as that which depends on this force. We must observe, however, that this distinction is not founded on a knowledge of the intimate nature of magnetizable substances: it is only the expression of an hypothesis introduced for the sake of bringing calculation to bear on the phenomena. We shall return to the physical theory of magnetization in Chapter VI.
425.] At present we shall investigate the temporary magnetization on the assumption that the magnetization of any particle of the substance depends solely on the magnetic force acting on