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Name: eric p rude
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 


Question:
I was recently told that a magnet under a container of water would affect the water because the north pole of the magnet would attract the positive H3O ions, ant the south pole would attract the negative OH ions. Therefore, the water would be more acidic near the north pole of the magnet. I have never heard this before, and didn't realize that ions were attracted by magnets. Is this true? Why?



Replies:
This is, I believe, not correct...although it does have enough of an element of truth in it to make things confusing. As it happens, a moving charged particle will be deflected by a magnetic field. However, this is not the same thing as saying that it will be attracted to a magnetic pole. Electric charges are attracted to oppositely charged objects, but not to poles of magnets.

The deflection of moving charged particles as they pass through a magnetic field is the basis of mass spectroscopy, in which charged particles are separated on the basis of their charge/mass ratios.

By the way, the force that a magnetic field exerts on a moving charged particle is perpendicular to the path of the moving particle, not parallel (as would be required for negatively charged particles to be attracted to a magnetic pole). For more information, have a look at Encyclopedia of Physics by Riter Lerner and George Trigg...excellent.

-topper



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