Imagine hopping on a train and taking just minutes to travel from one city to the next. Imagine even arriving on another continent by train. Trains have been a solid form of transport since the 1700’s, relying on steam, diesel or electricity to run. Over the last 3 decades, a new type of train has been invented which uses electro-magnetism to generate speed. These trains literally hover over the tracks and use magnetism as a force to either push or pull to create movement. Germany and Japan are in a race to make MAGLEV trains the world’s preferred form of transport, even rivalling air travel. And the potential for speed is remarkable!
This simple demonstration illustrates the way in which electromagnetism works. Can you create a similar effect?
Become an expert on magnetism!
- A magnet has two ends called poles, a north seeking pole and a south seeking pole.
- The north pole attracts the south pole of another magnet and the south pole attracts the north pole of another magnet. They pull towards each other.
- If you put two of the same poles together they repel each other; they push away.
- A magnet creates an invisible area of magnetism all around it called a magnetic field.
- You can magnetize some objects, like an iron nail, by running a magnet over it several times.
Make it fly!
Create a bee hovering next to a flower.
You will need: scissors, markers, two paper clips, tape a strong, two pieces of string and two heavy objects such as blocks of wood.
1) Cut out a flower shape from a piece of paper and colour. Tape a
paper clip to the flower.
2) Cut out a bee shape from a piece of
paper and colour. Tape a paper clip
to the bee.
3) Tie one end of a piece of string to
the paper clip attached to the flower
and tie the bottom end to a heavy
object. Repeat with the bee.
4) Use a magnet to attract the bee to
the flower. Move the magnet
upwards. Can you get the bee and flower to hover in mid-air?