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Q & A: Magnetic pull on paperclips in water.

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Most recent answer: 02/07/2011
Q:
how is a magnets pull on a paper clip affected in air ,water,salt water, sugar water and ice water
- indiana (age 10)
valparaiso indiana usa
A:
That sounds like a good question to answer with an experiment, not just writing down an answer from us. So let's explore how you would do the experiment.

You need some nice controlled way to pull on the paperclip, so you can measure how much force it takes to pull it away from the magnet. Maybe you could tie the paperclip to a thread, run the thread over some smooth bar (maybe another paperclip)  and put weights (other paperclips?) on  the other end of the thread. Then see how much weight it takes to pull the paperclip off the magnet. To avoid getting the effect of the water on the effective weight of the paperclip mixed up with whatever effect it has on the magnetism,
arrange things so the paperclip on the magnet is being pulled sideways, not up or down. That will require using another paperclip glued or clamped under water to guide the thread onto a horizontal path, since the thread will enter the cup from above the water level.

Mike W. and Lee H.

(published on 02/07/2011)

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