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Homework Help: Magnetic Force on Materials

  1. Oct 29, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A) Which of these materials will feel a force from a permanent magnet - wood, aluminum or steel?

    B) Will the materials that are attracted by the magnet be attracted to the north pole of the magnet, the south pole, or both?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Aluminum and steel are both metals, so wouldn't they both experience a force from the magnet? Or is it the case that they both experience the magnet attraction but a magnetic force is something different?

    Clarification would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2012 #2


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    Not all metals are magnetic. Google can tell you which are/arent.
  4. Nov 3, 2012 #3
    Aluminum and Steel are both influenced by B fields.
    Aluminum is slightly diamagnetic, which means it will repel (slightly) any magnetic field. It does not matter N or S orientation. (try dropping a magnet on a piece of aluminum, a breaking effect will take place because of eddy currents and diamagnetism)
    Steel is Ferromagnetic. Its Ferromagnetic "strength" depends on the alloys its composed of. Metals with Ferromagnetic properties will be attracted to magnets, where N and S orientation do not matter.
    When I say N and S do not matter, it is because of non-permanent domains. When you bring the N side of a magnet close to a piece of steel, its domains will re-align to compensate the N side, and vice versa.
    Wood is not influenced by B fields, as most things with complex atomic structures do not have polarity.
    Hope this Helps!
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