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Name: Dianne L.
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 8/2/2004


Question:
At the library at which I work, the end of the Summer Reading program is upon us. Two of the prizes that children can receive are magnets and small, inexpensive, belt-clip compasses. Guess what got stored together in the same box? Now the compasses point every which way. Is there any way to correctly repolarize a compass, or are they destined for the trash bin?


Replies:
Dianne,

As I assume that these are pretty cheap compasses, the pointer is fully enclosed and inaccessible. I would place them in the trash.

A neat experiment to make a compass is to stroke a needle with a magnet and push it through a cork. Place the cork in water and the needle will align with the earth's magnetic field. With your compasses, you would need to use a magnet to realign each compass pointer's magnetic field in a similar fashion. I am not sure it is worth it.

Bob Hartwell


Dianne,

They may not have been harmed at all. Why not store them in a box with a much more powerful magnet inside. The little fellows will automatically align themselves with big brother's field and all will live happily together. In doing so, you will be overpowering the earth's magnetic field and forcing the little fellows to follow the field directions of the big guy rather than trying to follow the chaotic lead of each other.

Regards,
ProfHoff 896



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