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Guest Blog – Inexpensive and Easy Science Fair Projects: Magnets – Experiment #3 – by Bruce

Posted by on July 3, 2013

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Is your science fair coming up, but you’re still not sure what to present for it? Trying to find a last minute idea without breaking the bank can be really frustrating but one simple tool- magnets can give you a few ideas!

This is experiment #3 in a 3 part series of fun, simple, inexpensive projects that will wow your judges at the science fair.

Maglev Technology

You may have heard about this before, especially with maglev trains — But did you know that you could easily create your own maglev train? Then, demonstrating that technology while using a ring magnet works just as well – and you could turn this demonstration into a unique experiment for your science fair.

* First, take two bar magnets and observe how they react when you touch each side of the pole to the other. Next, take a ring magnet on its flat side bring it to the north pole of one of the bar magnets. What happened: Does it attract or repel? The answer will tell you if the ring magnet was on its own north or south pole.

*Repeat this with another a ring magnet of a different size.
What happened: Do you notice any differences? Is the difference something you could measure?

*Now, take a spool of thread and place a pencil in the middle of the spool, standing vertically and slide one ring magnet onto the pencil with the ring magnet’s north side facing up. Then slide the second ring magnet onto the pencil so that the north side faces down.
What happened: Why do you think that is happening with the second magnet?

With the two ring magnets in this position, it will result in levitation of the second magnet.
Now, let’s turn this demonstration into an experiment:

Question: What is the effect of the ring magnet’s size (pick radius, diameter, circumference, weight, thickness, etc.) on the distance (measured in length) in which they repel?

Hypothesis: Predict what will happen BEFORE you conduct the experiment.

Experiment: Vary the size of the ring magnets and measure the distance of repulsion. More: Think about what other variable may effect the distance repelled and design more experiments to test their effects.

Bonus: See if you can figure out to use a magnetic compass to determine what end of a magnet is its north or south pole. This would be impressive for your class/teacher/judge presentation.

When you are feeling stressed or under pressure to come up with a great science project idea for your child, turn to magnets! These examples are just a few simple, inexpensive ways to a great science project.

Bruce Utsler is a freelance blogger and science enthusiast. He is currently studying to become an X-ray technician. He is an expert with magnets, particularly neodymimium magnets. When he isn’t busy studying or experimenting, Bruce likes to hit the streets with his longboard. –

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