How would I be able to tell the difference between a bar magnet and a similarly shaped soft iron bar?

Through observing the interaction between the two bars.

I originally thought the soft iron bar magnet would move towards the bar magnet, but that's not right. So can somebody please tell me how to do it?

Thanks in advance. 10 points for best answer!

Update:

Wow thanks.. Why is this?

Update 2:

Oh right, the bar magnet is stronger than the soft iron bar.

3 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Move the end of one bar slowly towards the middle of the other to produce a T shape. If the attraction is strong, the bottom of the T is the magnet. If the attraction is weak, the top of the T is the magnet. Obviously try it both ways so that you will know what "weak" and "strong" correspond to.

  • 4 years ago

    a bit long but effective, Let's call one rod A, one rod B, and the last rod C. Have them lined up on the floor in that sequence. First, touch the end of A to the middle of B. If it sticks, then A is the magnet, B is iron, and C is brass. If it does not stick, continue. Next, touch the end of A to the middle of C. If it sticks, then A is the magnet, C is iron, and B is brass. If it does not stick, continue. Next, touch the end of B to the middle of A. If it sticks, then B is the magnet, A is iron, and C is brass. If it does not stick, continue. Next, touch the end of B to the middle of C. If it sticks, then B is the magnet, C is iron, and A is brass. If it does not stick, continue. Next, touch the end of C to the middle of A. If it sticks, then C is the magnet, A is iron, and B is brass. If it does not stick, continue. Lastly, touch the end of C to the middle of B. If it sticks, then C is the magnet, B is iron, and A is brass. If it does not stick, something is wrong and you should try it all again.

  • 1 decade ago

    Form a "T" with the two.

    If the crosspiece is the iron bar, it will be attracted to the magnet, but if the crosspiece is the magnet, there will be little or no attraction.

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