Concept

Magnetostriction

Summary
Magnetostriction (cf. electrostriction) is a property of magnetic materials that causes them to change their shape or dimensions during the process of magnetization. The variation of materials' magnetization due to the applied magnetic field changes the magnetostrictive strain until reaching its saturation value, λ. The effect was first identified in 1842 by James Joule when observing a sample of iron. This effect causes energy loss due to frictional heating in susceptible ferromagnetic cores. The effect is also responsible for the low-pitched humming sound that can be heard coming from transformers, where oscillating AC currents produce a changing magnetic field. Explanation Internally, ferromagnetic materials have a structure that is divided into domains, each of which is a region of uniform magnetization. When a magnetic field is applied, the boundaries between the domains shift and the domains rotate; both of these effects cause a change in the material's dimensions.
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