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Q & A: magnet man?

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Most recent answer: 01/16/2012
Q:
For many years now, when I use a screwdriver, pliers, cutters, files,they invariably become magnetised within 3 seconds. This means screws stick to the shaft of the screwdriver and cutoff stick to the cutters etc. It seems as soon as I do two twists of a screwdriver, it becomes magnetised. It may not be relevant but I have had several 240 volt power shocks from accidents with our household power supply over the years but all that has ever happened is a tingle in my fingers or a tensioning in the arm muscle, no other effects. Is there an explanation for this? Thank you.
- Michael Sobb (age 70)
Australia
A:
First, some reassurance. You were definitely not altered to some magnetic state by those shocks. There's something else going on.

Many tools, especially screwdrivers,  are sold already magnetized. The reason is precisely that they can then be used to pick up iron-based screws. Are you sure that your tools weren't already magnetized? If so, follow-up and we'll come back to this brain-teaser.

Mike W.


(published on 01/16/2012)

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