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Name: Harry S. D.
Status: other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/9/2004


Question:
When I was about 15 years old I read an article concerning magnetizing various items. One of the things I read concerned magnetizing iron or steel [rods] by pointing them to magnetic north and striking the south pole end with a metal hammer. I tried it and it worked . . . then! It did not make a strong magnet, but, it was strong enough to pick up finishing nails and small screws. I figured I would show this "neat trick" to my kids, and voila . . . it did not work. Did I dream this or should this in fact work? I did exactly what the article said when I was a kid, it worked then, am I missing something now?


Replies:
Assuming that we are not having a N-pole, S-pole reversal, I think that the probable reason is that you used a different kind of iron/steel. Not all types of iron/steel are equally easy to magnetize. In general you want what is referred to as a "soft" iron. The domains that align to magnetize the bar are more easily oriented by pounding the rod with a hammer. Some types of steel, certain grades of stainless for example, are very difficult to magnetize.

Vince Calder



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