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How do you know the strength of a magnet?

Scientists have machines that can measure the strength of a magnet, they are called gauss meters. They are electronic instruments that have something that looks like a magic wand, a stick-like probe, that can be put next to the magnet, and you then just read what the machine says.

But if you just wanted to do this for fun, you could imagine some iron thing, like a nail, tied to a piece of string. The magnet holds the nail up in the air, but the string keeps it from flying into the magnet. So the nail just hovers near the magnet. A stronger magnet would be able to hold a nail with more and more dead weight on it, dead weight trying to drag to nail back down, the magnet trying to hold the iron nail up.

Steve Ross

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