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Attraction between ferromagnetic materials in a magnetic field: what is this?

  1. Sep 22, 2011 #1

    Just so you know, I am a high school student. I am asking about this because I am an IB student and doing an extended essay (it's basically research, and a bunch of experimentation to answer a research question) on something related to magnetic fields, ferromagnetic materials, or transformers.

    I would like know about why something that I observed in the lab happens and what it is called. I plugged a solenoid (a coil of wire with a hole in the middle) into an AC voltage source. Holding a material such as iron in the middle of the coil causes it to vibrate. Iron is attracted to the center as AC current flows through the solenoid. If another iron materials is placed near the iron in the center of the coil, the iron the in the core will attach to the other piece of iron. The inserted iron can even pull the other piece of iron out. It's almost as if it is just one piece of iron. Of course, at a certain point when it gets far away enough from the field it no longer is attracted to the other piece of iron. Why exactly is the iron attracted to the other iron? Does it have something to do with ferromagnetic materials conducting magnetic fields? Also, what is this called?

    Thanks so much for your time!
  2. jcsd
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