Q:

How do you magnetize something?

A:

Quick Answer

Using an existing magnet, you can magnetize everyday household items that contain iron, cobalt or nickel, which are metals that exhibit the property of ferromagnetism. Ferromagnetism is a subatomic property of some metals created by the structure of the electron clouds around the atoms. When the electrons of the metals align in a particular way, the metal produces a magnetic field.

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Full Answer

  1. Gather the necessary materials

    Select the strongest magnet available in order to magnetize other metals. When searching for something to magnetize, you can choose from a variety of objects, such as nails, screws, tools and even paperclips, as long as they contain the correct type of metal.

  2. Align the electrons

    Stroke the magnet in one direction along the chosen item. Don't rub back and forth. Alternatively, you can strike the object repeatedly with a hammer. Some objects become magnetized by the action of the Earth's magnetic field if they are knocked loose first. This method is less likely to work than the rubbing method.

  3. Test the new magnet

    Hold the object near other metallic items to see if it's now magnetized. If it isn't, try repeating step 2. If the object still doesn't become magnetized, it probably contains nonmagnetic materials. Select a different object and try again.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can you give me a list of all the magnetic metals?

    A:

    Iron, nickel, cobalt and manganese are the only four metals considered magnetic. All other metals, including gold, silver and aluminum, are typically considered non-magnetic, although there are some elements that may show a slight positive or negative attraction when placed in a magnetic field.

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  • Q:

    What is a list of magnetic metals?

    A:

    A list of magnetic metals includes iron, nickel, cobalt and metal mixtures that include at least one of the three. Magnetic metals are classified as metals that are attracted by the magnetic field.

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  • Q:

    How can an iron nail be made into a magnet?

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    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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    Is cobalt magnetic?

    A:

    Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal element. Commercially, it is combined with nickel and aluminum to produce an alloy called alnico, which is used to construct strong permanent magnets. Cobalt maintains its ferromagnetic properties up to 2,012 degrees Fahrenheit, which is greater than other materials, such as samarium cobalt.

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