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Q & A: levitation?

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Most recent answer: 11/22/2016
Q:
Is it possible to levitate a metal chain as it moves back and forth, so that it essentially floats, but using nothing but standard magnets (not using electromagnwtics)?
- Chance (age 43)
Gilbert, AZ USA
A:

No, Earnshaw's theorem shows that it's impossible if the metal is paramagnetic or ferromagnetic. In principle it would be possible with a diamagnetic metal, but metallic diamagnetism is too weak to be used in practice. You could do this with a very strongly diamagnetic material such as a metallic superconductor, but I don't think that's what you had in mind.

Mike W.


(published on 11/22/2016)

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