To make a temporary magnet or electromagnet, students can use an iron core, surround it with copper wire and then pass an electric current through this arrangement to magnetize the nail. When making an electromagnet for a physics experiment. a few items needed are a large iron nail, insulated copper wire, paper clips and a D-cell battery.
Through the exposure of a ferromagnetic material to a magnetic field that is then heated to a specified temperature, a permanent magnet is created. Ferromagnetic materials include metals, such as iron and nickel. Using this principle, students also can create a temporary magnet with the materials that are available easily, along with a wire stripper.
- Prepare the necessary materials listed
- Make the magnet
Use an iron nail that is at least six inches in length and an insulated copper wire that is at least 10 feet long. Remove a few inches of insulation from both ends of the insulated copper wire.
Wrap the insulated copper wire tightly around the nail in one direction starting from the head to the tip and leave enough wire at the ends. Connect the D-cell battery by wrapping one of the uninsulated or stripped wire end to the positive side and the other stripped wire end to the negative side of the battery. Place the tip of the nail above some paper clips to pick them up with this temporary magnet.
However, this temporary magnet works only while electricity is flowing through the wire and nail arrangement. Additionally, to make a stronger magnet, students can increase the number of times the wire is wrapped around the nail, as noted by Jefferson Lab.