Magnetizing Objects with a Bar Magnet
Is it possible to give objects that are not magnets the power of magnetism? That is the question that we are putting to the test in this magnet experiment! Read on to see how a magnet can turn a regular piece of steel or other metal into a magnet.
- Bar magnet
- Steel object (examples: screwdriver or sewing needle)
- Paper clip
- Make a hypothesis as to whether or not a magnet can be used to make a metal object a magnet.
- Take your stainless steel screwdriver on sewing needle. (A flathead screwdriver is ideal, since it is easy to distinguish one side from the other.) Place it one side and pick up the bar magnet.
- Place the north pole end of the bar magnet to one side of the screwdriver. It should stick to the tool, because it is a magnetic material.
- Begin to move the magnet over the side of the screwdriver, without detaching it. Be careful not to stick your fingers in between the tool and the magnet. Keeping it attached to the screwdriver while moving it should help prevent this from happening.
- Do this about 10 to 20 times.
- Remove the magnet from the screwdriver and put aside.
- Move the magnetized side of the screwdriver towards the paper clip. If magnetized, the tool should pick up the paper clip.
Metal objects that are not magnets can be turned into magnets. Was your hypothesis correct?
How does the magnetism work?
In magnets, electrons align in the same direction, giving them their magnetic energy. Magnetic metals also have electrons, but they arrange in different directions. When the magnet rubs against the metal object, it causes the electrons to align and magnetizes the object.
The object will hold its magnetism for a while. In order to demagnetize the object, you can hit it off of a surface. This causes the electrons to lose their magnetic alignment.