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Q & A: Magnets in Motion

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
how can i make a little cart move with magnets
- danny (age 12)
h.p. ca.
A:
Danny -

If you play with a set of magnets, you will find that each magnet has a positive and a negative pole (i.e. two ends that act differently). If you line two magnets up with the same poles pointing towards each other, the two magnets will push each other apart. And if you line them up with the opposite poles facing each other, they will move together. So all you have to do to make your cart move is to have a magnet on the cart and another one in your hand. Depending on which way you have them lined up, you can make the cart move towards you or away from you.

Another way to do this is if you just have the cart be made of a metal that magnets can stick to. Then if you hold a magnet up near the cart, it will pull the cart towards it.

In any case, you may need a really strong magnet in order to make this work from more than a couple inches away. Your teacher should be able to help you find a strong enough magnet.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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