Have you ever seen $1 million? If you haven't, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The same goes for magnetic force. You can see a magnet, but you can't see the force that attracts it to the side of a refrigerator, other magnets, or car keys. Or can you? Iron filings are made of, you guessed it, iron! These filings are perfect for displaying a magnet's magnetic field. Just place a magnet against the plastic case and watch as the filings align with the magnet's poles.
How does it work?
Iron is one of three non-rare earth metals that are magnetic. Known as the Iron Triad (iron, nickel, and cobalt), these metals possess ferromagnetic elements, which means they have the ability to create a large magnetic pole due to unpaired electrons. So, not only are they great for creating magnets, but also for being attracted to magnets.
What does it teach?
The relatively light weight of these iron filings and the low friction between the filings and their plastic case allow the filings to move freely while not spilling. The ability to slide within the case makes it easy for the filings to move in alignment with magnetic poles when they are exposed to a magnetic force.
clean but dry
Laurie Starkey - May 20, 2013
These are very convenient because the iron filings are sealed in the case so it is not a messy hands-on experience. I was expecting them to be filled with water since those are the types I've seen before. Care should be taken that the plastic doesn't get scratched - use only plastic-covered magnets or cover the case in clear packing tape to protect the surface.
Iron Filing Case
Natalie - October 16, 2011
Super fun to play with, but cover scratches WAY too easy with ANY magnet. =(