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Magnetism homework question

  1. Mar 24, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    a) You have two electrically neutral metal cylinders that exert strong attractive forces on each other. You have no other metal objects. Can you determine if both of the cylinders are magnets, or if one is a magnet and the other just a piece of iron? If so, how? If not, why not?

    b) Can you think of any kind of object that is repelled by both ends of a bar magnet? If so, what? If not, what prevents this from happening?

    2. Relevant equations

    Magnet Orientation: Magnetic North Poles attract Magnetic South Poles, and vice versa

    3. The attempt at a solution

    a) I would assume that that since the question states that both cylinders are exerting strong attractive forces on each other, then they both are probably magnets, rather than one of them being just a magnetic material.....

    b) I would guess theres not such object because every magnet has a north pole and south pole, and therefore an object will attract one of these ends, even if that object is a monopole.

    Do these answers sound correct? Thx;
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2008 #2

    Shooting Star

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    Homework Helper

    a) Strong is a subjective concept, and absolutely throws no light whatever on the problem at hand.

    b) You are going in the right direction! Just gather your thoughts and write exactly how you would utilise this property of a magnet having poles to find out which is which. (There are no monopoles, of course.)
  4. Mar 24, 2008 #3
    Asking oneself these various combinations will help:

    Can you make a magnet attract a magnet?
    Can you make a magnet repel a magnet?
    Can you make a magnet attract a piece of iron?
    Can you make a magnet repel a piece of iron?
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