Creating Magnets by Tapping
Name: Harry S. D.
When I was about 15 years old I read an article concerning magnetizing
various items. One of the things I read
concerned magnetizing iron or steel [rods] by pointing them to magnetic north and
striking the south pole end with a metal hammer. I tried it and it worked . . . then!
It did not make a strong magnet, but, it was strong enough to pick up finishing nails
and small screws. I figured I would show this "neat trick" to my kids, and voila . . .
it did not work. Did I dream this or should this in fact work? I did exactly what the
article said when I was a kid, it worked then, am I missing something now?
Assuming that we are not having a N-pole, S-pole reversal, I think that the probable
reason is that you used a different kind of iron/steel. Not all types of iron/steel
are equally easy to magnetize. In general you want what is referred to as a "soft"
iron. The domains that align to magnetize the bar are more easily oriented by pounding
the rod with a hammer. Some types of steel, certain grades of stainless for example,
are very difficult to magnetize.
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Update: June 2012