Magnets generate magnetic fields and can attract certain metals to them from a distance. Magnets can push or pull on each other without touching. They are used in electronic equipment and in industry. Magnetic fields are generated by the tiny electric currents that run inside of all atoms. Each atom creates its own tiny magnetic field. In most materials, the magnetic fields of each atom point in random directions. This makes them tend to cancel each other out, leaving the material nonmagnetic. In other materials, like magnetite, these tiny fields naturally line up and produce a powerful effect. (See References 2) Additionally, some metals can be turned into powerful permanent magnets. (See References 1)
Things You'll Need
- Iron bar
- Propane torch
- Charcoal grill
- Powerful magnet, preferably neodymium
- Leather gloves
Determine which way north is using the compass. When creating a powerful permanent magne,t it is necessary to take the earth's magnetic field into account so that it works with the magnetizing and not against it. If the magnetic field of the earth is not lined up with the magnetic field induced in the metal, then they will fight with and weaken each other. Though the earth's magnetic field is weak, if you want the best results, you must take it into account.. (See References 1)
Start the grill, getting it as hot as possible. Place the iron bar on the grill so that it lines up along the north-south line. Iron is used because it has the highest relative permeability. (See References 3) Relative permeability is a measurement of how susceptible the material is to magnetic fields. Iron is one of the most susceptible materials. (See References 1) Get the iron hot enough to start glowing red. Use the propane torch to help the heating process.
Holding the iron in the tongs, remove it from the heat. Wearing the gloves to protect your hands, stroke the iron with the magnet. Only stroke it in one direction; do not move the magnet back and forth. Keep the iron bar along the north-south line.
Let the iron cool. Once it has cooled to room temperature, it will be a powerful permanent magnet. (See References 1)
Tips & Warnings
- Be very careful when using the grill and propane torch, following all of the manufacturer's safety procedures.
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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