Effect of Different Materials on a Magnetic Field *
AbstractYou've seen that a magnet's attractive force can cause a small object (like a paper clip) to "jump" to the magnet. So a magnetic field can act through the air, but what about other materials? Here's an experiment you can do to find out. You'll need a strong bar magnet, a stack of books, a paper clip, some thread and tape. Place the bar magnet underneath the top book in your stack, so that it sticks out. Tie a piece of thread (as long as the stack of books is high) to a paper clip. You will tape one end of the thread below the bar magnet, in order to adjust the height of the paper clip so that it hangs in mid-air, below the magnet (without touching the magnet). Now you can try placing various materials in the gap between the magnet and the paper clip to see what effect they have on the magnetic field. For example, you might try a piece of paper, cardboard, the top of a tin can, aluminum foil, a sheet of plastic, etc. Try different thicknesses of materials. What are some similarities between materials that block the magnetic field? Between materials that do not block the magnetic field? Try to make predictions about other materials, and then test your predictions. (Gardner, 2004, 72-73)
Cite This PageGeneral citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Last edit date: 2017-07-28
BibliographyGardner, R., 2004. Electricity and Magnetism Science Fair Projects: Using Batteries, Balloons, and Other Hair-Raising Stuff. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
News Feed on This Topic
Ask an ExpertThe Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Ask an Expert
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Materials Scientist and EngineerWhat makes it possible to create high-technology objects like computers and sports gear? It's the materials inside those products. Materials scientists and engineers develop materials, like metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, that other engineers need for their designs. Materials scientists and engineers think atomically (meaning they understand things at the nanoscale level), but they design microscopically (at the level of a microscope), and their materials are used macroscopically (at the level the eye can see). From heat shields in space, prosthetic limbs, semiconductors, and sunscreens to snowboards, race cars, hard drives, and baking dishes, materials scientists and engineers make the materials that make life better. Read more
Electrical & Electronics EngineerJust as a potter forms clay, or a steel worker molds molten steel, electrical and electronics engineers gather and shape electricity and use it to make products that transmit power or transmit information. Electrical and electronics engineers may specialize in one of the millions of products that make or use electricity, like cell phones, electric motors, microwaves, medical instruments, airline navigation system, or handheld games. Read more
Electrical Engineering TechnicianElectrical engineering technicians help design, test, and manufacture electrical and electronic equipment. These people are part of the team of engineers and research scientists that keep our high-tech world going and moving forward. Read more
News Feed on This Topic
Looking for more science fun?
Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.Find an Activity