The Levitation of Objects Using Magnetic Repulsion

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Lucian's 4th grade science project!

Lucian's 4th grade science project!

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  • 1. The  Levitation  of  Objects  Using  Magnetic  Repulsion  Lucian  Parisi  Bungalow  A    May  19,  2011    Purpose    I  have  designed  an  experiment  to  see  how  much  weight  a  magnet  can  lift.  I  already  know  that  magnets  fly  apart  when  they  repel.  Magnets  repel  when  the  same  type  of  pole  faces  each  other  (north  to  north  or  south  to  south).    History  and  Background    People  in  ancient  Greece  and  China  discovered  that  magnets  attracted  to  iron.  However,  scientists  did  not  manage  to  explain  how  magnetism  worked  until  the  mid-­‐1800’s.  The  region  around  a  magnet  where  the  force  of  magnetism  can  be  felt  is  said  to  contain  a  magnetic  field.  Magnetic  fields  are  invisible.  In  1824,  scientists  discovered  that  you  could  create  a  magnet  by  wrapping  a  coil  of  wire  around  ordinary  iron.  This  is  called  an  electromagnet.    A  magnetic  levitation  train,  also  called  a  maglev  train,  is  a  vehicle  that  uses  magnetic  force  to  float  above  a  fixed  track  without  touching  it.  The  train’s  speed  is  not  limited  by  the  friction  or  vibration  that  contact  with  a  track  would  cause.  Maglev  trains  use  electromagnetism  to  produce  a  repulsive  force.  A  maglev  train  is  a  real-­‐life  example  of  my  experiment.  Hypothesis    Something  I  am  curious  about  is  when  magnets  repel,  and  they  are  made  sure  not  to  fly  off  in  a  random  direction,  what  will  happen?  I  hypothesize  that  they  will  be  able  to  hold  up  a  small  amount  of  weight.  Since  magnets  have  a  strong  enough  force  to  repel  themselves  away  from  each  other,  they  should  be  able  to  lift  something  up.    1    
  • 2. Experiment  Design    This  experiment  requires  magnets  to  be  placed  so  that  their  same  poles  face  each  other,  making  them  repel  and  lift  an  object.  To  keep  the  magnets  from  flying  off  in  a  random  direction,  I  use  a  clear  plastic  tube  and  circular  magnets.  That  way,  when  the  magnets  repel  they  will  levitate,  and  if  the  hypothesis  is  accepted,  they  will  also  lift  the  object.    The  constants  in  this  experiment  are:      The  tube  material    The  size  of  the  tube    The  type  of  magnet    The  type  of  object  to  be  levitated    The  procedure  used    The  manipulated  variable  used  is  the  number  of  magnets  on  top  and  bottom.  The  responding  variable  is  the  weight  lifted.    To  measure  the  weight  lifted,  I  will  put  penny  rolls  into  to  the  tube  until  the  two  groups  of  repelling  magnets  are  forced  to  touch.  Using  a  kitchen  scale,  I  weigh  one  of  the  penny  rolls  and  multiply  the  weight  of  a  single  roll  times  the  number  of  rolls  held  up.    Materials       Number   Item   1   36  in.  clear  plastic  tube  (1  in.  diameter)   18   Circular  magnets  (1  in.  diameter)   15   Penny  rolls   1   Kitchen  scale   1   Magazine  (to  put  under  tube)                  2    
  • 3. Procedure       1. Using  the  kitchen  scale,  weigh  one  penny  roll  and  record  the   result.   2. Place  the  plastic  tube  in  front  of  you.   3. Get  six  magnets  and  split  into  two  equal  groups  of  3  each.   4. Place  the  magnets  into  the  tube,  making  sure  they  repel.   5. Drop  penny  rolls  inside  the  tube  until  the  magnets  are  forced  to   touch.   6. Record  how  many  penny  rolls  it  took  to  force  the  magnets  to   touch.   7. Do  steps  3-­‐6  again,  using  6  magnets  on  top  and  bottom,  9   magnets  on  top  and  bottom,  and  12  magnets  on  top  and  bottom.      Measurements  and  Results    The  following  table  and  graph  show  my  measurements.       Number  of   Penny  Rolls  (Weight)     Magnets   Lifted     6   9  (42  ¾  oz.)     12   11  (52  ¼  oz.)     18   13  (61  ¾  oz.)     24   15  (71  ¼  oz.)       Weight  (oz.)   Results   80           70           60           50           40           Weight  (oz.)   30           20           10           0           Number  of   6   12   18   24   magnets    3    
  • 4. Conclusion    My  hypothesis  was  accepted.  Magnetic  force  is  very  strong  –  stronger  than  I  expected.  I  was  expecting  that  six  magnets  could  only  hold  up  one  penny  roll.  However,  they  held  up  many  more.  I  conclude  that  magnetic  repulsion  can  levitate  objects.    For  future  experiments,  I  could  try  using  the  same  experiment  design  to  make  a  projectile  and  see  how  far  it  will  go.  Or  I  could  try  the  original  experiment  with  larger  objects  and  more  magnets.    4