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FINDING MAGNETIC METALS

Find some rare earth metals in ordinary garden soil

Suitable For

Grade 7

Difficulty

3

Time Required

 <24 Hours

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

Feel like doing some mining for rare metals in your own garden? The dirt in ordinary garden soil can contain very small particles of magnetic material or ‘metals’. In this science experiment, find and study this particles with a horseshoe magnet to sift through samples of soil:

Topics covered

Metals, Ferrites, Non-ferrous metals, Igneous rocks

What will I need?

  • 2x GLASS JARS
  • HORSESHOE MAGNET
  • STRING
  • GARDEN SOIL
  • PAPER TOWELS
  • SANDWICH BAG
  • MAGNIFYING GLASS

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because when the magnet is dipped into the soil / water jar, small particles , that belong to a class of magnetic materials called ‘ferrites’, is attracted and get stuck to the poles of the magnet. A ‘Ferrite’ is a chemical compound which contains iron-oxide, giving it its magnetic properties. The ‘ferrites’ is easily separated from the ‘non-ferrous’ substances in the soil with a magnet, because of their magnetic properties. Amongst others, your collection of ‘ferrites’ could include any of the following ferrites: zinc, magnetite, manganese, hematite, magnesium and barium. All of these metals are formed in igneous rocks.

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