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Effect of Different Materials on a Magnetic Field

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Very Short (≤ 1 day)
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You'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)


Gardner, R., 2004. Electricity and Magnetism Science Fair Projects: Using Batteries, Balloons, and Other Hair-Raising Stuff. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Effect of Different Materials on a Magnetic Field." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Elec_p042/electricity-electronics/effect-of-different-materials-on-magnetic-fields. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Effect of Different Materials on a Magnetic Field. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Elec_p042/electricity-electronics/effect-of-different-materials-on-magnetic-fields

Last edit date: 2017-07-28
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