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Magnetic Hysteresis

A phenomenon of magnetization of iron. It may be attributed to a sort of internal or molecular friction, causing energy to be absorbed when iron is magnetized. Whenever therefore the polarity or direction of magnetization of a mass of iron is rapidly changed a considerable expenditure of energy is required. It is attributed to the work done in bringing the molecules into the position of polarity.

The electric energy lost by hysteresis may be reduced by vibrations or jarring imparted to the iron, thus virtually substituting mechanical for electrical work.

On account of hysteresis the induced magnetization of a piece of iron or steel for fields of low intensity will depend on the manner in which the material has been already magnetized. Let the intensity of field increase, the magnetization increasing also; then lower the intensity; the substance tends to and does retain some of its magnetism. Then on again strengthening the field it will have something to build on, so that when it attains its former intensity the magnetization will exceed its former value. For a moderate value of intensity of field the magnetization can have many values within certain limits.

Synonym: Hysteresis--Hysteresis, Static--Magnetic Friction.