Magnetism: Viewing an Invisible Force

Peter Hresko, Kiana Matthews, Jon Phillips, Brett Williams

The exhibit consists of a container which is octagonal and contains oil, a small ball, and iron filings. The exhibit rests on a metal floor stand. On top of the container is a sheet of Plexglas with an electromagnet resting on it. The electromagnet is turned on and off at such a rate that the ball hovers right on the surface of the oil. The iron filings move around in the oil to visibly show the electromagnetic field, a field which is normally not visible. The electromagnet may be moved around on the Plexiglas by the museum goer and the ball will follow the electromagnet, while still hovering on the surface of the oil.