How to Magnetize & Demagnetize Metal

Any iron or iron alloy can be temporarily magnetized.
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Magnetizing metal involves lining up the positively and negatively charged particles within the metal to create a stronger attraction with oppositely charged metal objects. You use a magnet to do this. Opposite ends of a magnet have densely packed, and oppositely charged, particles that attract particles in other metals. These particles are strong enough that, over time, they can line up the particles in another metal in the same manner of its own particles. Magnetization is possible only with iron or iron alloys, such as steel. Screwdrivers are commonly magnetized this way to attract screws.

Magnetizing

    Place the magnet at one end of the piece of metal. The magnet must make as much contact with the metal as possible.

    Place light pressure on the magnet and rub the metal in one direction only. Magnetization will take some time to accomplish so continue rubbing until the iron or steel attracts other pieces of metal.

    Repeat the magnetization process, as necessary. The metal will lose its magnetization over time and need to be remagnetized.

Demagnetizing

    Place the magnet at the opposite end of the metal from where you magnetized it. Again, the magnet must make as much contact with the metal as possible.

    Rub the metal with the magnet in the opposite direction that you used to magnetize it. Continue rubbing until the metal no longer attracts other metal.

    Wait out the magnetization, if desired. It is not necessary to demagnetize metal if time is not an issue because metal loses it magnetism over time.

    Things You'll Need

    • Magnet
    • Piece of iron or steel

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