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Definition of HYSTERESIS
: a retardation of an effect when the forces acting upon a body are changed (as if from viscosity or internal friction); especially: a lagging in the values of resulting magnetization in a magnetic material (as iron) due to a changing magnetizing force
: the lagging of a physical effect on a body behind its cause (as behind changed forces and conditions) <all manometers must be tested for hysteresis as well as for sensitivity and natural frequency—H. D. Green>
a: the influence of the previous history or treatment of a body on its subsequent response to a given force or changed condition <a study has been made of the phenomenon of rennet hysteresis, in which the time of coagulation of heated milk is progressively greater with increase in the time interval between heating and addition of rennet—J. S. Fruton>b: the changed response of a body that results from this influence
Lagging of the magnetization of ferromagnetic material (seeferromagnetism), such as iron, behind variations of the magnetizing field. When such a material is placed in a coil of wire carrying an electric current, the magnetic field so created forces atoms in the material to align with the field. This increases the total magnetic field to a maximum when all the atoms are aligned, though the total field lags behind the magnetizing field. When the intensity of the magnetizing field is decreased to zero, some field remains in the material, and if the magnetizing field is reversed the total magnetization also reverses but again lags behind. The complete cycle, known as a hysteresis loop, dissipates energy in the form of heat as the magnetization is reversed.