What Is Gauss?


When it comes to the field of science, and specifically scientific testing, you need to be able to quantify your results, if you’re going to want to be able to compare your findings to others.

What Is Gauss

So, as a result, many scientists and researchers over the years have created a figurative, and sometimes literal, library of terms and measurements that can be used in several different fields.

Measuring fluid dynamics, measuring microscopic mass. Measuring vibrations, or radioactivity.

All these fields are vital to further research and understanding of our world.

However, from a newcomer’s perspective, it can often feel like an impenetrable barrier to try and cross, especially when it comes to getting a better grip on a field that you have an interest in, or are going to enter soon enough.

Well, this is where we come in!

In this article, we are going to show you one of these measurements that have been created over the years, the Gauss.

We are going to explain what it measures, magnetism, how it is used in the field of understanding magnetism, as well as a little of its history, and how it came to be created and used, plus anything else that you could want to know about gauss.

What Is Gauss?

So, let's start with the basics.

Gauss, as we briefly touched on in the introduction, is a unit of measurement in the field of magnetism.

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Specifically, it is used to describe an amount of magnetic induction in an object or subject and is used by many people who are involved in the production and manufacturing of magnetic objects.

The name for the unit of measurement comes from the German Physicist and mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, one of the greatest minds in mathematics during the early 19th century.

Gauss refers to how intense a magnetic field is in a given area, as we have already stated. A measurement of 1 gauss would be around 1cm of square foot space.

If that’s a little hard to visualize, imagine a single penny, that has a magnetic north and south pole.

A penny is 1cm squared, which would roughly equate to the strength of 1 gauss. This

What Gauss Is Not

While we are still coming to grips with the basics of gauss measurements, it is important to establish what gauss isn’t as much as what it is.

For example, gauss does not equal the magnetic pulling power that an object has. An object that has a high gauss count will not have stronger pulling power as a result, so keep that in mind.

In those cases, you would be measuring for field strength, rather than gauss.

How Gauss Is Used For/Why It Matters

However, scientific measurements are all well and interesting on their own, but they kind of mean nothing if they aren’t being used for something.

So, why are gauss important, and what exactly are they used for?

And, also importantly, who uses gauss as a measurement of importance?

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Well, generally speaking, gauss isn’t a unit of measurement that regular people normally have to deal with.

However, if you are in the business of buying and selling magnetic items, both for commercial and scientific reasons, gauss is a helpful way of determining the flux density of a magnetic field, and the range that it has.

Falling Out Of Wider Use

Gauss was generally a popular term that was used around the late 119th and early 20th centuries to measure the flux density of a magnetic field.

However, as the field of measurements that originally used this measurement, the older centimeter-gram-second system(CGS) was phased out in favor of the newer International System of Units (SI), the gauss also stopped being used as frequently too.

What Is Gauss (1)

(In this context, when we say less often, we mean amongst scientists, so an already niche unit of measurement became more obscure over time.)

However, while not as widely used, the gauss is still used from time to time in the more specific field of study in electromagnetic fields and forces, as well as by commercial companies that buy and sell objects with strong magnetic fields.

Gaussian Measurements

It may help understand gauss to have a specific measure of certain items and objects that can better demonstrate how gauss is measured.

  • The magnetic field from the Earth’s surface is usually measured at anywhere from 0.35 to 0.58 gauss in strength
    • This also serves as an effective control measure. Anything with a noticeable and repeatable gauss rating of higher or lower could be considered to have been affected by another object’s magnetic field.
  • The fridge magnets that you use on the front of your kitchen fridge would usually have a gauss strength of around 10 gausses on average.
  • A magnet made from iron would have a strength of around 100 Gauss.
  • Rare Earth magnets would have an astronomically higher strength, at around 12,500 gausses or higher.
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Rare Earth Magnets

These types of magnets are amongst the strongest magnets that can be found on Earth and are usually made from rare and heavy elements.

Amongst these magnets, one of the strongest is neodymium magnets, which have a potential gauss strength of 14,500 gausses!

These types of magnets are often used in medical equipment, such as in MRI machines

What Is The Highest Gauss Ever Measured?

As we have already discussed, neodymium magnets are some of the strongest in the world, having a gauss rating of around 13,000 to 14,500 in some cases.

However, the gauss rating of other objects can get even higher, with MRIs when active having a gauss reading of anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000.

Scientific magnets can get even higher in some cases, with the strongest being recorded at up to 450,000!

Generally speaking, however, most people will be unlikely to ever encounter a gauss rating of above 10,000, unless taking some type of medical MRI scan.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, while gauss is an obscure measurement, it still has its uses in the field of science.

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