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Q & A: conductors and magnets

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Most recent answer: 08/18/2009
Q:
I just recently found this site while trying to prove to someone that gold is the best conductor. I was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana myself. I was playing with a round ear ring and the spiral from my binder when a really strange question sparked in my head. If I were to take a magnet and wrap gold wire in a coil around it(not touching)and have three balls of different combinations/types of magnetic/conductive metal rotate both ways around the magnet. For example how the earth rotates around the Sun, in a revolution while rotating. Would it cause is any reactions? Such as a field or a pulse. Maybe even energy. I plan to design weaponry and other things eventually, so this is really important to me. Especially because I can't afford to test it out myself.
- Tyler Hansen (age 15)
Memphis
A:
According to standard tables, at room temperature silver and copper are significantly better conductors than gold. Gold does make nice contacts because it's soft and doesn't oxidize or tarnish.

You don't explain any particular reasoning behind your device with coils and spinning magnets, etc. Generally speaking, what any device like that will do is to generate eddy currents in the conductors due to the changing magnetic fields. These currents convert the initial kinetic energy you gave things to thermal energy, and the whole thing just runs down, and collapses into a clump, ending up slightly warmer.

Mike W.

(published on 08/18/2009)

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