Fun With Magnets

Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Materials

Why can’t we call any plastic as a magnetic material? What makes magnetic materials; magnetic? What are magnetic and non-magnetic materials? Let us find out!

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Materials can be classified based on the response towards a magnet. Let us perform an activity to find how different materials respond towards a magnet.

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Activity I

Collect different materials from your surroundings like Iron nail, brass screw, aluminium foil, plastic comb, coin, sewing needle, copper wire, aluminium foil, glass marble, eraser, stainless steel spoon, plastic ruler, pencil etc. Now bring a magnet close to the objects.

Observation: We will observe that some materials like Iron nail, Sewing needle, and coin are attracted towards a magnet while the other substances like a brass screw, Aluminium foil, plastic comb etc do not get attracted towards a magnet.

1. Magnetic Materials

Those materials which are attracted b a magnet are magnetic materials. Iron, Nickel, and Cobalt are the magnetic substances as objects made up of these materials are attracted by a magnet. Also, magnetic materials can be magnetized or we can say that magnetic materials can be converted into magnets.

magnetic materials

2. Non-Magnetic Materials

Those materials which are not attracted by a magnet are called non- magnetic materials. All the substances other than iron, nickel, and Cobalt are non-magnetic substances for example plastic, rubber, water, etc are nonmagnetic materials. Non-magnetic substances cannot be magnetized.

Application of Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Materials

We can use magnetic and non-magnetic properties of a substance in the daily life for ease of working. some of them are –

  • If a large number of pins are fallen from the pin box on the ground, they can be easily collected by using a magnet as pins are made up of iron which is a magnetic material.
  • If a carpenter mixes iron nails with wood shavings they can be separated easily by using the method of magnetic separation. A magnet is brought close to the mixture. Iron nails get attracted to the magnet and stick to it whereas wooden shavings which are made up of non-magnetic material will not be attracted by the magnet.

Activity II

Rohan shows magic to his friends and gains a lot of applause for it. He keeps a steel car on a wooden table. Without moving the car by directly pushing it, he is able to move the car. His friends are amazed and wonder how is it possible.

  • What is the secret behind his magic? Rohan actually keeps a magnet under the table. By moving the magnet under the table, he is able to move the car kept on the table without moving it. This activity shows that force of a magnet can pass through a non-magnetic substance like the wood in this case.
  • What will be the observation if the table top is made up of iron instead of wood? In this case, the car will not move because the force of a magnet cannot pass through magnetic materials like Iron and Steel objects.

Some Interesting Facts About Magnet

  • The first known magnets are hard block stones called lodestone. It is believed to be discovered by Shepherd Magnes who accidentally discovered it while feeding his sheep. Lodestone which is a natural magnet contains an iron mineral called magnetite.
  • Magnets are made in different shapes for example bar magnet, horseshoe magnet, disc magnet etc

Learn more about the Properties and Applications of Magnet.

Questions For You

Q1. Seema finds that a sharpener though made up of plastic attracts a magnet. How is it possible. Justify her observation.

Ans: The blade attached to the sharpener is made up of magnetic substance (steel) which attracts the magnet.

Q2. Rahul and his friends were decorating the class bulletin board. They dropped the box of stainless steel pins by mistake. They tried to collect the pins using a magnet but could not succeed. What could be the reason for this?

Ans: Stainless steel is not attracted by a magnet.

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5 responses to “Properties of Magnet: Types, Uses, Applications of Magnet”

  1. Luck Munot says:

    What’s the difference between electromagnet and simple electric motor?

  2. Martins Toluwalase says:

    What happens if a Wood, a non magnetic material, is placed between a permanent magnet and a nail. Will there still be an attraction between the magnet and the nail

  3. Dominic Edibo says:

    What is a magnet

  4. Dominic Edibo says:

    What is magnet

  5. Akbar says:

    Who is/ are the author(s) of this work?

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