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How can magnets repel paperclips?

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1
    I was messing about with a magnet (again), and got a safety-pin which has paperclips attached to it and hung them over the magnet. Most of the paperclips went straight down to the magnet, but some of them wanted to go directly perpendicular, and there seems to be a force pulling them to either one or the other, and away from the intermediate states. Why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2011 #2
    Depends on the paperclips magnetic pole orientation. its likely they were already slightly magnetized, and some of them in different directions of the others
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