The fact that same magnetic
poles repel each other is the base for design of many industrial
equipments. Repelling magnets are often part of another
electrical or mechanical system. When you attempt to move the
North pole of one magnet toward the North pole of another
magnet, initially the other magnet may be pushed away, but soon
it flips over and the South pole of that face and attract your
Many studies have been done on
levitating objects with magnetic force, however it is now proven
that 100% levitation for a non moving object is impossible.
Partial levitation is now used in construction of high speed
magnetic trains. Many other instruments and equipment also use
repelling properties of magnets.
Following are some of the
projects that can be made using magnets with same poles facing
each other. They are all applications of magnet levitation.
In this project you will make a
set of magnet rings to float above each other while their
balance is maintained using a wood dowel. You will then examine
the flexibility of the floating rings and propose uses for such
a floating set of rings.
You will need a base board, a
6" wood dowel or pencil and six ring ceramic magnets, make
sure that the wood dowel or pencil fits the hole in the center
of magnets. Also try to get painted magnets. A layer of paint
will protect ceramic magnets from chipping.
Mount the pencil or wood dowel
vertically in the center of the base board. If you use glue, you
will need to wait a few hours until the glue is fully dry. Place
the first ring magnet over the wood dowel and let it go down.
Get a second magnet and bring it close to the first magnet to
feel the magnetic forces and find out which two poles repel each
other. Then insert this magnet in a way that when it gets to the
first magnet, same poles are faced each other and two magnets
will repel. So the second magnet will float.
these steps with the other four magnets. Finally you
will have 6 ceramic ring magnets on a column that can
freely move up and down, but gravity force is not able
to pull them down because the same poles of magnets are
facing each other. Push the upper magnet down. How much
force do you need to put all magnets together? Now
release it. What happens? Why?
Can you use this magnet
levitation model to make other products?
One of the ideas have
been a magnetic spring scale. As you see a clear plastic
tube is placed above the upper magnet. Then another
plastic tray is placed above the plastic tube. You may
use a paper tube and a paper tray instead. When weight
is placed on the tray, the tray goes down. The amount
that it moves depends on the amount of weight. A piece
of paper is used as the indicator hand. Also a Popsicle
stick is used to mark the weight.
As you see most of the
material can be replaced by other material that you may
have around your home.
This is a good science project for
ages 6 to 13.
Where to buy
Material for this
project can be purchased from local hardware stores. You
may also order it online from MiniScience.com
or from KLK.com. It
is known as floating rings. The price of the kit with
colored ceramic magnets is $12.00.