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How to make a compass?

  1. Apr 11, 2005 #1
    How can you make a compass without using iron or other ferromagnetic material?

    At first, I thought to use a needle, but I was told that that was steel, and therefore iron. Any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2005 #2

    i seem to remember a plastic rod that someone charged with wool hanging on a thread or something im sorry i don't remember more but wouldn't the charge attract to something?
  4. Apr 11, 2005 #3


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    We're talking about the interaction between Earth's magnetic field and the needle of the compass.Ferromagnetic substances have such an internal structure that allows to have a nonzero macroscopical magnetization,even in the absence of an external magnetic field.Therefore,they're really suited for compass needles.

  5. Apr 12, 2005 #4


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    Well, I'm not one for answering physics questions but can't you connect a copper wire in the form of a loop to battery terminals, hang it, and it will orientate itself in the earth's magnetic field? However, it's dangerous since the battery can explode with the large current discharging. Or should I just stick to math?
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