MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Can a magnetic field trap heat, such as the suns magnetic field?

Date: Fri Nov 7 12:28:26 2008
Posted By: Dr. Fred Jeffers, Staff, Magnetic Recording Research, Iomega corp.
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1226058612.Ph

     Heat is a kind of complicated concept.  The temperature or heat 
content of a gas varies as the velocity of the atoms.  The faster they 
are moving the higher the temperature.  If the atoms of the gas are 
neutral i.e. not ionized, a magnetic field will have essentially no 
effect at all.  Magnetic fields act on other magnets or on electrical 
currents.  If the atoms are very hot, like those near the sun, then they 
become ionized.  When such an atom moves it creates a current and then a 
strong magnetic field can have a big effect.  So the answer to your 
question is yes a magnetic field can trap the heat in a gas but only if 
the gas is ionized.

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