Science project

The Meissner Effect: Magnetic Levitation Using a Superconductor


Observe the Meissner Effect in a superconductor.


  • Thick Styrofoam cup
  • Scissors
  • Cubic neodymium magnet
  • Tongs
  • YBa2Cu3O7 ceramic disk
  • Liquid nitrogen

Safety: Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold, and it boils into a gas at 77K, or -321°F. This can burn you and cause damage to your skin. Do not handle objects covered in liquid nitrogen with your bare hands. Be sure to perform this experiment in a well ventilated area.


  1. Use the scissors to cut off the “walls” of the Styrofoam cup. A small dish about half an inch high will do.
  2. Very carefully pour about a quarter inch of liquid nitrogen into the Styrofoam cup and wait for it to stop boiling. Yes, it’s boiling! Nitrogen boils at 77K, which is -321°F!
  3. Using the tongs, gently place the ceramic disc in the liquid nitrogen.
  4. Using the tongs again, bring the magnet directly above and very close to the ceramic disc.
  5. Let go of the magnet. Record your observations.


After cooling with liquid nitrogen, the magnet will float above the surface of the ceramic disc.


Below the critical temperature, superconductors are diamagnetic, which means they strongly repel magnetic fields and do not allow magnetic fields to enter. The repulsive magnetic field around the superconductor repels the magnet, causing it to levitate above the surface of the ceramic disc. When the liquid nitrogen boils off and the ceramic disc begins to warm, the magnet will no longer float.

Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items