Attractive: Can Electricity Produce a Magnet? (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

Show Time!

    1. Demonstrate the strength of an electromagnet. Create the electromagnet made in the original experiment using one battery. Use a piece of clay to stand a ruler on a table. Place a saucer filled with BBs next to the ruler. Hold the foil-wrapped nail near and parallel with the ruler, and slowly lower it until BBs move upward and cling to the nail tip. Determine the number of BBs that the electromagnet can lift from different heights.
    2. Compare the strengths of different electromagnets. Repeat the previous experiment twice: first use a wire 1/2 yard (.5 m) long, and then use a wire 2 yards (2 m) long. As in the previous experiment, neatly overlap the excess wire and wrap it all in the same direction. Use a data chart similar to the one shown here to record the wire length, the number of times the wire is wrapped around the nail, the distance of the nail tip away from the saucer, and the number of BBs picked up.
    3. Attractive

Check it Out!

A coil of wire in a spiral form through which electricity flows is called a solenoid. Direct, or DC, current flowing through a solenoid produces an electromagnet. Find out more about electromagnets. Would an electromagnet be produced if alternating, or AC, current flowed through a solenoid? What are some of the uses of electromagnets?


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