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Name: Eddie
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2/22/2004


Question:
Are plastic magnets electrically conductive?


Replies:
It just depends on how much plastic there is, and on the magnetic powder in it. If there is a minimum amount of plastic gluing the iron particles together, they might touch each other often enough to let electricity get across a whole chunk of plastic magnet. But there are many reasons the electricity might be stopped instead, such as iron- oxide instead of iron, or surface-oxidation on the iron particles, or more plastic between them. I suspect you will usually find them insulating, but it's best not to rely on them to block high voltage. Their breakdown voltage will be much lower than plastics with no metal powder in them.

Jim Swenson


Eddie,

A true plastic magnet is not conductive. It is polarized. Every atom has its own little magnetic field, in both conductors and nonconductors. In any permanent magnet, many of the atoms rotate until their little magnetic fields all line up and work together to make a big magnetic field. A magnet can be polarized even if it cannot conduct.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Professor
Illinois Central College



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