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How would you use a magnet to test whether or not a piece of metal was magnetic?

  1. Aug 15, 2009 #1
    just wondering if its a sneaky answer or just as simple as put a magnet next to it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2009 #2
    Of course, objects that respond in a magnetic field are magnetic. Those that aren't are non-magnetic. Actually, ALL materials are magnetic but some are more magnetic than others.

    EDIT: For many materials, you may need powerful measuring tools to determine, with accuracy, how magnetic an object is.
  4. Aug 16, 2009 #3
    If you put a magnet near another magnet, try turning them around various ways, and you can find an orientation where they will attract and an orientation where they will repel. But if you put a magnet near an unmagnetized piece of iron, it will attract regardless of orientation.
  5. Aug 16, 2009 #4
    Some materials repel, like bismuth and certain grades of graphite. In fact diamagnetism lets you make a passive levitator! (with a little help from an external magnet).

    OP - if you want more precision, place the material on a little boat made of styrofoam floating in a bowl of water and then see what happens when you bring a magnet near.
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