How can an iron nail be made into a magnet?


Quick Answer

An iron nail can be made into a magnet by wrapping it with insulated copper wire and letting low-voltage direct current run through the coil. The iron nail will become a temporary magnet.

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Full Answer

Magnets exist within a magnetic field that cannot be seen with the human eye. Magnetic field creates a force which makes objects, which are susceptible to magnetism, attract or repel one another within this field. A magnet will attract many metals that are ferromagnetic, but some other metals, as well as materials like plastic, rubber and wood will not be affected.

  1. Prepare the materials
  2. Gather together a larger nail made of soft iron, iron fillings, insulated copper wire with bare ends, some paper clips and a source of low voltage power.

  3. Magnetize the nail
  4. Cover the middle of the nail with loops of the copper wire, leaving some wire hanging free at the ends. Connect these ends to a supply of low voltage DC electricity. Turn the power supply on.

  5. Test the temporary magnet
  6. Touch the iron filings with the nail. They should stick. A steel nail would have retained magnetism after the power has been switched off. Experiment with heavier object for the nail to pick, such as paper clips. Add more wire coils to the nail to see what effect this has on its magnetism.

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