A magnetic core is a piece of magnetic material with a high magnetic permeability used to confine and guide magnetic fields in electrical, electromechanical and magnetic devices such as electromagnets, transformers, electric motors, generators, inductors, magnetic recording heads, and magnetic assemblies. It is made of ferromagnetic metal such as iron, or ferrimagnetic compounds such as ferrites. The high permeability, relative to the surrounding air, causes the magnetic field lines to be concentrated in the core material. The magnetic field is often created by a current-carrying coil of wire around the core.
The use of a magnetic core can increase the strength of magnetic field in an electromagnetic coil by a factor of several hundred times what it would be without the core. However, magnetic cores have side effects which must be taken into account. In alternating current (AC) devices they cause energy losses, called core losses, due to hysteresis and eddy currents in applications such as transformers and inductors. "Soft" magnetic materials with low coercivity and hysteresis, such as silicon steel, or ferrite, are usually used in cores.
For details, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_core