The Structure of Magnetic Fields
Goal: To determine the field lines of a magnet and magnetic strength.
- At least three magnets
- A compass (you can get these at educational stores; the Boy Scouts have great affordable compasses.)
- Large sheets of paper
- Paper clips (lots of these)
Map Field Extent (2 magnets)
- Place one of the magnets on a sheet of paper.
- Put a compass anywhere on the paper.
- Mark the north end of the compass with an arrow > in the direction the magnet points.
- Mark the south end of the compass with a dot.
- Move the compass and draw a line between the . and the >. This is a short representation of the magnetic field line at that point.
- Map at least 20 different positions for your magnet.
- Try to determine where the magnet's field dissipates and the earth's magnetic field takes over.
- Measure the distance from the magnet to the edge of its field.
- Repeat the procedure with one of the other magnets
Map Magnetic strength (all magnets)
- Have each magnet pick up a paper clip.
- Add paper clips in a chain (physically linked, not just drawn by the magnet), until you find the maximum number of clips the magnet can hold. This is its "clip strength".
- Based on "clip strength" of each unmapped magnet, predict the distance from the magnet to the edge of its field.
- Measure the fields as you did above for the previously unmapped magnets.
- Show how you calculated or estimated the field extent of the unmapped magnet from the clip strength.
- Explain any differences between your estimated field size and your measured field size.
- Describe your materials, equipment, an dprocedures in sufficient detail that your fellow students could repeat your experiment.
- Report your data. Be sure to indicate the amount of error in your measurements. For example, if you can only measure a mass of 25 gms within 1 grm, your error would be 25 ± 1, or 1/25 = 4%.
- Present your data in an organized form, preferably in a table, in such a way it is easy to compare results as you repeate trials or vary a specific contributing factor.
- Show a sample calculation, if you have calculated values.
- If you did a series of experiments, varying something by increasing or decreasing a factor, try to plot your data (y-axis) as a function of the factor (x-axis).
- You may use a spreadsheet to calculate your information and create your table.
- Summarize your results.
- Draw conclusions about what is happening.
- Suggest at least one way to improve your experiment.
Post your report to the Lab thread at the Moodle.
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