Try This at Home: Electromagnetic Nail
Electricity is the movement of tiny negatively-charged particles called electrons. Electricity and magnetism are interrelated. Electricity can induce magnetism and magnetism can induce electricity.
What You Need
- 1 large iron nail
- ~ 1 meter (1 yard) insulated wire
- 1 battery, 9 volt
- Scissors or wire strippers (or sandpaper if your wire is enamel-insulated)
- Paper clips
What To Do
Make sure you have an adult with you to supervise this experiment.
Wrap the wire tightly around the nail, leaving about 15 cm (6 inches) of wire free at each end.
Using the scissors, wire strippers, or sandpaper strip the insulation off the last 3 cm (1 inch) at each end.
Secure one end of the wire to one pole of the battery. If necessary, tape it to make a secure connection.
Scatter some paper clips on a table. Bring the nail to the paper clips. What do you think will happen to the paper clips?
Secure the free end of wire to the free pole of the battery. Again, tape it to maintain a good connection if needed. Bring the nail to the paper clips again. What do you think will happen this time?
Continue to experiment with your electromagnet.
When the ends of the wire are connected to the battery, a direct electric current flows through the wire. The current flowing through the wire creates a magnetic field. Coiling the wire around the nail causes the nail to become magnetized, thus attracting other magnetic objects. However, this object only exhibits magnetic forces as long as the electrical current is flowing.
The shock of an electric eel can exceed 600 volts–that's five times the power of an American socket!