The Magnetic Accelerator


janice-cup-picture-ipgby Janice VanCleave

I love the magnetic accelerator. In fact, I met friends at a restaurant yesterday and took the accelerator with me. We had a lot of fun predicting what would happen and testing our predictions. No formal steps….just making cool guesses and then discovering whether we were correct.

Yes! The steel ball shot off the end of the track and hit the floor a couple of times, but that just added to the excitement.  It’s a small town and few are surprised that the eccentric science author is experimenting at the restaurant –again!Magnetic Accelerator

A parent came in with her daughter, a second grader. With the mother’s permission I invited the child to sit with us. The girl had sinus problems and didn’t feel well.  She was a bit sluggish and her eyes looked dull, as one would expect. When I asked the child if she wanted to do some science experiments, her dull eyes brightened. She had not been present during the previous testing of the accelerator, but she was immediately interested.

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Focus on Lenz’s Law


photo copy 2by: Ted Beyer

Ahhh, Eddy Current Tubes – you would never think that a hunk of copper pipe and a magnet could make anyone grin from ear to ear. I just love these things. So simple in appearance, and yet so magical to see and use. Whenever I happen to have a set at home, I soon lose control of them to my wife who is just as fascinated by them as I am.ed100_2 2

Although they can be used in fairly high end physics demonstrations, they are stunning enough that everyone who has a chance to see them is simply amazed.

Just realized – you may not have not seen one, have you? Here’s a video for you:

Kinda cool, huh? So, since I have (hopefully) gotten you to say “wow,” I’ll just bet you are wondering “why” — here’s some science:

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Seeing a 3D Magnetic Field


Martin Sagendorfby: Martin Sagendorf

 

This 3D Magnetic Field demonstration is actually quite easy to do.  It clearly illustrates that magnetic fields are not flat (as too frequently demonstrated in the classroom).

Demonstrating a 3D Magnetic Field

This easy-to-make construction requires only four components:

  1. A clear plastic bottle (about 1-3/4” in one dimension) – the one illustrated below is a 12.6 fl oz ultra concentrated Joy ® dishwashing soap bottle – Note that any bottle originally containing soap or detergent will require repeated rinses to completely remove all of its original contents.3D Magnetic Field with Neodymium Magnets
  2. Six 17 mm x 3 mm Neodymium ring magnets Read the rest of this entry »

Iron Filings Exploration


Michelle Bertkeby:  Michelle Bertke

Simple iron filings can be used for a variety of interesting experiments and demonstrations.  Magnetism is a mysterious concept that can be difficult for students to grasp.  Magnetic fields are the forces surrounding a magnet that are identified by how they interact with adjacent magnets and other metal objects.  While magnetic fields are ‘invisible’ they can be observed by sprinkling iron filings on a white paper with magnets beneath.  Iron Filings

By lightly coating the surface of the paper, the magnetic field will appear as filings align themselves with the field.  Different magnets, depending on their strength and shape will create varying patterns in the iron filings.  A bar magnet with a distinct north and south will show characteristic lines of a magnetic field.  Circular magnets may show multiple lines indicating multiple magnet fields.  The stronger neodymium magnets will cause the iron filings to pile up in spikes due to the increased strength. This demonstration can lead to a discussion about magnetic fields: What they are, Where they can be found, and How they are used in the world around us. Read the rest of this entry »


Earth’s Magnetic Field


Martin Sagendorfby:  Martin Sagendorf

We recognize heat & cold, dry & damp, light & dark, and sound & silence.  However… I find it absolutely fascinating to consider that we also live within something that we can’t see, hear, touch, or taste.

We all Know:

Our planet has a giant magnet near its core and that its field extends over the whole of the Earth’s surface.  But, do we ever really think about this field that passes through soil, rocks, buildings… and us? Granted, relatively speaking this ‘field’ isn’t particularly strong.  In fact, it’s a rather weak field when compared to those of a horseshoe magnet or, particularly, a modern Rare Earth magnet.

A Great Demo to show Earth’s Magnetic Field:

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