Compass-a major breakthrough in the history of navigation

According to legend, more than 4,000 years ago, in the Central Plains region of northern China, Huangdi and Chiyou fought several large-scale wars in Zhuolu. The battle lasted for half a year, but there was still no winner. It stands to reason that Huangdi should be able to win in this battle because his tribe is relatively strong and it also represents justice. However, whenever the battle is about to win, there will always be a sudden fog, and the mountains and the mountains will make people unable to discern the direction. Huang Di thought that the fog had fallen strangely, so he sent people up the mountain to investigate the movements of the Chiyou tribe, and found that the fog was all created by Chiyou s magic. After Huangdi returned to the camp, with the help of the fairy, he created a guide car. With the help of the guide car, Huangdi led the army to break through the heavy obstacles, eventually defeating Chi You and winning the war.

The compass has the same function as the compass car. The compass is a simple instrument used to determine the orientation. Its predecessor was Sinan, one of the four great inventions in ancient China. The main component of the compass is a magnetic needle that can be rotated freely on the shaft. The magnetic needle can be maintained in the tangential direction of the magnetic meridian under the action of the geomagnetic field. The north pole of the magnetic needle points to the geographic north pole, which can be used to distinguish the direction.

Once the compass was invented, it was soon applied to military, production, daily life, topographic survey, etc., especially navigation. In Pingzhou Tantan, there is a record: A boat master knows geography, night views the stars, day views the sun, and obscure views the compass. This is the earliest record of using the compass in the history of world navigation. After the 12th century, the compass passed to Arab countries and Europe, which greatly promoted the development of the world s maritime industry and the cultural exchange between China and the West. The invention of the compass is a great contribution of the Chinese nation to world civilization. Marx once called the invention of the compass, printing, and gunpowder a necessary prerequisite for bourgeois development .

The first ancestor of the compass, Sinan, appeared during the Warring States Period. It is made of natural magnets and looks like a spoon. It can be placed on a smooth site and balanced, and it can rotate freely. When it is stationary, the spoon handle will point to the south, so the ancients called it Sinan.

Sinan s appearance is the practical application of people s understanding of the polarity of magnet fingers, but Sinan also has many defects. The first is that natural magnets are difficult to find and easy to lose magnetism during processing, so Sinan s magnetism is relatively weak. It must be very smooth at the contact with the site, otherwise it will be difficult to rotate and fail to achieve the expected guidance effect. Furthermore, Sinan has a certain volume and weight, which is very inconvenient to carry, which is also the main reason why Sinan has not been widely used for a long time.

The compass is made of magnets, but natural magnets are difficult to find. Therefore, the ancient Chinese invented a method of artificial magnetization. The earth s magnetic field was used to magnetize the iron pieces, that is, the red iron pieces were placed in the direction of the meridian. After the iron piece burns red, the magnetic domains in the iron piece disintegrate into paramagnets. After quenching with water, the magnetic domains form again, but the magnetic domain arrangement becomes directional under the action of the geomagnetic field , so it can indicate the north and south. The invention of the artificial magnetization method has played a huge role in the application and development of the compass.

The invention of the compass is the result of the working people s magnetic understanding of objects in long-term practice. Due to production labor, people came into contact with magnetite and began to understand magnetic properties. People first discovered the properties of magnetite iron , and later discovered the magnetism s directivity. After many experiments and researches, a compass with great practical value was finally invented.

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