Magneto Embraces Magnetic Power

By Paul Fears | 18 May 2016

The dastardly villain Magneto is the arch enemy of the X Men, as portrayed in the Marvel comics and the series of blockbuster movies.  This is a anti-hero who has harnessed the power of magnetism with an ability to generate and control magnetic fields.  But does this reflect reality in any way?

Controlling magnetic fields and magnetism is notoriously difficult.  Unlike radiation, you cannot put a block of metal in front of a magnetic field to stop it.  It may help deflect some of the magnetism, but then the block, which would have to be steel, would itself become magnetic.

Companies manufacturing equipment utilising Magnets, like Bunting, commonly design the circuitry to focus the field in a specific direction.  This is uses when designing magnet assemblies for sensor applications.

So, in theory, if Magneto was made of pure steel, there may be some chance of him being able to channel magnetic fields.  It would help if he was also in the shape of a flat steel slab, but then his costume might not fit as well.

Magneto uses magnet power

The ability to generate magnetic fields is something quite magical.  Our daily lives are governed by the most amazing magnetic field of all: the Earth’s magnetic field generated by a core of circulating molten rock.  Also, incredibly strong magnetic fields are vital in the medical profession with superconducting magnets powering MRI scanners.

How to Generate a Magnetic Field

Away from the Earth’s core and Magneto, there are essentially two ways to generate a magnetic field:

  • Passing an electric current passing through a coil to produce an electro magnetic field;
  • Charging a material like Neodymium Iron Boron with an electromagnetic charger.  ‘Magnetic’ materials are able to retain retain magnetism and remain magnetic;

Sadly, unless Magneto has something hidden under his costume, he doesn’t have either.  Which means that the magnetic powers of arch-villain Magneto’s powers are, thankfully, pure science fiction.  That means no need for the X-Men, but who knows in the future?

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