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Name: Richenda
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Is it possible for magnets to work just as strongly in liquids (for example oil) as they do in the air? Can the strength decrease (if there is one) be determined?

Magnetic fields interact with matter similar as in electric fields. You can have a material that 'blocks' the magnetic field or one that transmits it readily. Air does not interact strongly with a magnetic field, so a magnet 'works' -- e.g. seems unimpeded -- in air. However, some materials interact very strongly -- some metals like Iron for instance conducts magnetic fields readily, or can add their own field. Other metals, like aluminum, do not transmit the magnetic field readily. Some fluids -- like water -- do not interact strongly, but others, like special 'ferrofluids', have components in them that interact strongly with magnetic fields. Ferrofluids can even turn solid-like in a magnetic field, but return to a liquid state when not in a strong magnetic field. Typically, liquids by themselves (petroleum distillate oils, vegetable oils, water, common solvents like ethanol or acetone) generally do not interact strongly with magnetic fields. A magnet immersed in them would still project a magnetic field, but given the density of the fluids, things won't move around as quickly as they do in air.

Hope this helps,

Burr Zimmerman

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