Ions and magnets
Name: eric p rude
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?
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
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.
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Update: June 2012