Magnetism Question

  • #1
My 7 year old child asked me today about magnetism. His question was "Does the magnet pull in the paper clip, or does the paper clip pull the magnet" . He then said to me "If i tie a rope to a tree and pull on the rope with enough force I will be dragged to the tree, so how do you know which item the paper clip or the magnet is creating the force. I am totally dumbfounded myself and I just said they are just attracted to each other and both are creating the force, but honestly have no clue how to answer this and would like to give him a correct answer.
 
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  • #3
sophiecentaur
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I will be dragged to the tree,
As soon as he is 'dragged' by even a small amount, the force will disappear. (The tension is a 'reaction force' that's only there whilst you are pulling). For any real rope, there will be some small degree of elasticity and the extension of the rope will provide the tension force. A rubber bungee will do the same thing as a rope and the way the force changes is a bit more obvious.
 

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