Frog Levitation and Floating Water: Can It Be Achieved with a Homemade Solenoid?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of creating a solenoid strong enough to levitate a frog or a strawberry. It is mentioned that a 10T coil would be needed, which is a very strong magnetic field. Other options, such as using a copper or aluminum ring with AC, are also suggested. The conversation also touches on the use of diamagnetism and the challenges of creating a successful levitation demonstration.
  • #1
bijanv
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Hey everyone, for my end of the year project for my grade 11 physics class I am hoping to be able to do the "frog levitation" lab that has been done before but is quite interesting. :cool:

My question is that can you create a solenoid (using simple materials found at local stores) strong enough to counter balance the gravitational force on the frog? And if not a frog how about a strawberry or something like that. :rolleyes:

Also I saw a video of floating water, how is this experiment done? :grumpy:

Any help would be appreaciated! Thanks in advance! :rofl:
 
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  • #2
You will need a 10T coil to levitate a frog. There's no way this can be done using "materials found at local stores". Typically, you use a superconducting magnet to get anywhere over a Tesla. Even strawberries are too heavy...but you might be able to levitate a tiny drop of water with a conventional solenoidal magnet, but I don't imagine it will be particularly easy.

As for how the experiment is done...I imagine you turn on the magnet to full strength very slowly (magnet held vertically, with field lines pointing up) and carefully place a tiny drop of water right above the (along the axis of the) solenoid...and pray it floats. Since I have little experience, playing with conventional magnets, I won't say much more just yet.

And if you're asking how this works, the short answer to that is : diamagnetism. Water is a diamagnetic material, so anything with lots of water in it will partially expell a magnetic field. This makes the thing feel a repulsive force from the magnet. If the force is strong enough to balance the weight, the thing will float.
 
  • #3
thx for the info.. is a 10T coil the minimum strength I would need or would it work fine with that? :confused:

Edit: Where could I find 10T coils? I have been searching on google and no results yet :grumpy:
 
  • #4
I think you should try to get a relative feeling for just how large 10T is Bijanv.

Here's a hint:
...Earlier this month (July, 2001) the scientists and engineers of Berkeley Lab’s Superconducting Magnet Group experienced the rush of shattering a world record. The team’s newest niobium-tin dipole electromagnet reached an unprecedented field-strength of 14.7 Tesla. This is more than 300,000 times the strength of Earth’s magnetic field.
 
  • #5
ok... well then.. :eek: i guess that answers my question :cry:

thanks a lot guys
 
  • #6
bijanv said:
And if not a frog how about a strawberry or something like that.
Wouls you settle for a copper or aluminum ring, "levitated" with AC? You could probably do this setup yourself.
 
  • #7
[sidetrack]Fred, where did you get that quote from ? I find it very hard to believe that 14.7T was the record in 2001. We have a 16.2T magnet in our lab, and it's over 5 yrs old. [/sidetrack]

I think zoob has a nice idea. I thin aluminum washer shouldn't be terribly hard to levitate. Al (or Cu) has a diamagnetic susceptibility that is much bigger than that of water.
 
  • #8
Gokul43201 said:
I think zoob has a nice idea. I thin aluminum washer shouldn't be terribly hard to levitate. Al (or Cu) has a diamagnetic susceptibility that is much bigger than that of water.
Actually, the setup I'm suggesting doesn't work by diamagnetism.

Basically you wind your solenoid aound a ferrous rod, mount it so the rod is sticking up vertically, and slip a conducting ring onto the rod. When the coil is energized by AC it induces current to flow around the conducting ring which also creates a magnetic field. The ring's field is always opposed to the solenoid's field (like poles facing) so they always repell each other.

You need the right current in the coil to prevent the ring from just shooting off the rod. It also gets hot quickly, so you have to keep your demonstration times to a minimum.
 
  • #9
Having thus revealed my ignorance of tesla coil fun and games, I shall keep a tight lid on it.

So Zoob, all you would need is a variac, a solenoid, an iron core and the ring ?
 
  • #10
Gokul43201 said:
So Zoob, all you would need is a variac, a solenoid, an iron core and the ring ?
That's the whole show, except for a secure mount for the rod/solenoid.

I have seen plans for these in many Fun Projects With Electricity type books, but haven't ever made one myself. If bijanv did some googling he might find some plans all specified out for him. Otherwise someone might have some suggestions about the gauge of the wire he should try in his solenoid, as well as a suggested # of turns, based on what he wants to accomplish, and safety considerations. Or, he may have had his heart set on a frog, and no longer be reading this.
 
  • #11
Ummm yeah. When you start off with hopes of making a leap-frog, it's a little disappointing to have to settle for a ring-toss.
 
  • #12
Gokul43201 said:
[sidetrack]Fred, where did you get that quote from ? I find it very hard to believe that 14.7T was the record in 2001. We have a 16.2T magnet in our lab, and it's over 5 yrs old. [/sidetrack]

Crud. I thought I put up the link. I'll find it! Hold on a sec!

Here it is. I stumbled across it, so I can not verify the source of the record claim, but the relative magnitude of the magnetic field strength is what I was going for.

http://enews.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/14-tesla-magnet.html
 
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What is the purpose of an experiment?

The purpose of an experiment is to test a hypothesis or answer a research question by systematically manipulating variables and observing the outcomes.

How do you design an experiment?

An experiment is designed by identifying the independent and dependent variables, choosing a suitable control group, and deciding on the appropriate methodology for data collection and analysis.

What are the key components of an experiment?

The key components of an experiment include a control group, independent and dependent variables, a standardized procedure, and a method for measuring and recording data.

Can experiments be replicated?

Yes, experiments can and should be replicated in order to ensure the reliability and validity of the findings. Replication also allows for further exploration and verification of the results.

What are the ethical considerations in conducting experiments?

Ethical considerations in experiments include obtaining informed consent from participants, protecting their privacy and confidentiality, avoiding harm, and ensuring the research is conducted with integrity and honesty.

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