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Homework Help: Unusual question about magnets with same poles.

  1. Sep 1, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A student finds an old magnet at the back of a drawer containing other magnets.
    He designs an experiment to find out if it is still magnetised.
    (i) He brings a plotting compass near to end A of the old magnet, as shown in the first part of the image.
    attachment.php?attachmentid=50124&d=1345717875.png
    State the polarity of end Y of the old magnet.
    .......................................................................................................................................[1]
    (ii) The plotting compass is then brought near to end B, as shown in the second part of the image.
    attachment.php?attachmentid=50124&d=1345717875.png
    State the polarity of end X.
    .......................................................................................................................................[1]
    (iii) Suggest a possible explanation for the student’s results.
    ...........................................................................................................................................
    .......................................................................................................................................[1]

    2. Relevant equations

    thera no relevant equations regarding this question.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    my solution is that both the ends are south poles and i have no explanation what so ever....
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2012 #2

    CWatters

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    What if it isn't?
     
  4. Sep 1, 2012 #3
    If it was magnetized that just could not happen. If unmagnetized then either N or S could be attracted to either X or Y , and it would be possible to create both those configurations if one set things up appropriately.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2012 #4
    is it possible that the compass is faulty??????
     
  6. Sep 1, 2012 #5

    CWatters

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    I really think the key is in the problem statement!..

    As ApplePion said.. If the magnet was still magnetized one end would be south and the other North. The possible combinations were..

    NN -> Not magnetised
    NS -> Could be magnetised or due to chance
    SN -> Could be magnetised or due to chance
    SS -> Not magnetised
     
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