Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Happens When You Drop a Super-Strong Magnet Through a Copper Pipe? Weird Stuff, Man ... Weird Stuff

Magnets and copper don't mix. Which is to say, magnets and copper do not attract - try to stick a magnet to a piece of copper, any copper, and the magnet will fall right off.

But what about super-strong neodymium magnets? Will they stick to copper? No! We just told you that copper and magnets don't attract! Pay attention.

But neodymium magnets do interact with copper in a very weird way. If you take a copper pipe and drop a neodymium magnet through it, the magnet will float (not fall) down the pipe - slowly - before dropping out of the bottom. It's like a little anti-gravity tube. It's wild, wacky, weird stuff.

Here, take a look at this clip:

That clip was posted to YouTube by JamesRB1995, who explains what's going on:

"The neodymium magnets are super powerful and even though they are not attracted to the copper, they still produce eddy currents that buffer the fall as seen in the video."

The neodymium-through-copper experiment demonstrates Lenz's Law. What is Lenz's Law? I have no idea. I'm not that smart. But it has to do with electromagnetism, electromotive forces, and magnetic flux.

Magnetism is so weird!

What happens if you use a bigger neodymium magnet, and bigger copper pipes? Here are a couple more videos demonstrating the effect:

(Inspired by TwistedSifter.com)

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