Page:A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism - Volume 2.djvu/106

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442.] We have seen that Poisson supposes the magnetization of iron to consist in a separation of the magnetic fluids within each magnetic molecule. If we wish to avoid the assumption of the existence of magnetic fluids, we may state the same theory in another form, by saying that each molecule of the iron, when the magnetizing force acts on it, becomes a magnet.

Weber's theory differs from this in assuming that the molecules of the iron are always magnets, even before the application of the magnetizing force, but that in ordinary iron the magnetic axes of the molecules are turned indifferently in every direction, so that the iron as a whole exhibits no magnetic properties.

When a magnetic force acts on the iron it tends to turn the axes of the molecules all in one direction, and so to cause the iron, as a whole, to become a magnet.

If the axes of all the molecules were set parallel to each other, the iron would exhibit the greatest intensity of magnetization of which it is capable. Hence Weber's theory implies the existence of a limiting intensity of magnetization, and the experimental evidence that such a limit exists is therefore necessary to the theory. Experiments shewing an approach to a limiting value of magnetization have been made by Joule[1] and by J. Müller[2].

The experiments of Beetz[3] on electrotype iron deposited under the action of magnetic force furnish the most complete evidence of this limit,—

A silver wire was varnished, and a very narrow line on the

  1. Annals of Electricity, iv. p. 131, 1839; Phil. Mag. [4] ii. p. 316.
  2. Pogg., Ann. Lxxix. p. 337, 1850
  3. Pogg. cxi. 1860.