7 Things You Never Knew a Magnet Could Do

Magnets are neat little gadgets; or big gadgets depending how you look at it. Everyone knows how cool it is to try to touch two south poles and watch the magnets avoid each other like the plague. Most of us use a magnet to hang something on our refrigerator, but there’s a lot more to magnets than that. Here are 7 things you never knew a magnet could do.

1. Here’s something all the kids will talk about. Did you know that a magnet will attract a dollar bill? How about the tape from a VCR cassette? Yep, it’s true. Take a rare-earth magnet and place it near a dollar bill. Watch how the bill is magically pulled to the magnet. It’s because there are really small particles of iron used in the ink that’s used to print the money. It’s the same thing with a VCR tape. Of course, if you try this little trick with a VCR tape you’d best make sure there’s nothing on it you’ll want or need in the future. The magnet will erase whatever is on the tape.

2. Moving on. If you thought that was cool, this next little trick will amaze you. Get yourself a box of ‘iron fortified’ cereal. Pour some into a bowl and add some water. No you won’t have to eat it after the trick so use water and save your milk. Mix the water and cereal until it’s the consistency of a watery slurry. Place a strong rare earth magnet inside a plastic bag and dip it into the cereal mix. Move it around a bit and then pull it back out. You’ll see tiny dark specks attached to the plastic bag. Those are pieces of the iron dust that’s used to fortify the cereal. You need to use the bag because if the iron specks get onto the magnet you might not ever get them off.

3. When frogs fly! Well in this case anyways, it’s frogs. At the University of Nottingham and the University of Nijmegen they’ve levitated frogs with magnets. Now this is sure to be a definite thing you never knew a magnet could do. They used a giant magnetic field that interrupts the natural placement of electrons in the frog’s body. The resulting electric current generates a magnetic field in the opposite direction of the magnet. This force was strong enough to levitate the frog. No worry, the frog was fine and suffered no ill effects from its little adventure.

4. Listen to what the world’s most powerful magnet is capable of. It can project enough magnetic force to stop a locomotive from a quarter of a million miles away! Yeah, you heard that right. It should be noted that it’s not a man-made magnet, it’s a magnetic neutron called ‘magneter’ and it’s one of only ten of these unusual objects ever discovered. It makes the earth’s magnetic pull look like cake walk. It’s not likely that man will ever be able to recreate this power and tame it, but it’s a real remarkable discovery.

Here are some more interesting things:

5. Magnets can attract the dust in the air. The iron oxide particles found in smog, and other pollutants, will cling to the magnetic energy in leaves. It’s not a very useful discovery but it’s still kinda cool just the same.

6. Magnets can help law enforcement agencies to track down counter fit money. Remember the dollar bill trick?

7. Veterinarians use magnets to pick up metal objects from the inside of large farm animals stomachs.

Magnets are really neat things. So the next time you hang one on your refrigerator remember that little magnet has got some really interesting and powerful family members.

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