Question: Does the Temperature of a Magnet Affect its Strength?
Summary: Magnets are used in many devices like refrigerators, audio speakers, and computers. They occur naturally in the earth’s rock. Magnets are dipoles, meaning that they have opposite charges at each end. When magnets are heated or cooled, their molecules become more disorderly. This project identifies the result of this disorder.
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Pen and Paper
- Set one magnet on the table, so that it reaches room temperature.
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil, place the second magnet in the pan, and continue to boil for 45 seconds.
- Place the third magnet in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes.
- Place a compass on a flat table so that the needle faces to the right. Tape a ruler to the table so that its direction is perpendicular to that of the compass needle. The “0” on the ruler should touch the “0” on the compass.
- Start with the room temperature magnet. Slide it along the ruler towards the compass, so that the needle moves toward the magnet. (If it is moving away from the magnet, use the reverse end.) Note the distance between the magnet and the compass when the needle begins to move. Record that distance on your paper.
- Use the tongs to remove the heated and cooled magnets and repeat the above procedure, again recording the distance when the needle begins to move.
- Compare the data and reach a hypothesis about the effect of heat and cold on magnets.