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Make a wire spring jump up and down with electro-magnetism

Suitable For

Grade 8



Time Required

 <2 Days



What’s it about?

In this science experiment, you will use the power of electric current to make a thin wire coil behave in a mysterious way. When current is passed along a conductor, the conductor behaves like a magnet, especially if the conductor or wire is formed in a coil. A wire twisted along the base of another object to form a coil, is called an electro-magnet:

Topics covered

Magnetism, Electromagnet, Supersaturated, Electrolyte

What will I need?

  • SALT

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.

The above experiment works because when electric current flows through an object like a thin copper wire coil, it creates a magnetic field around the object. The saltwater acts as an ‘electrolyte’ and hence a complete electrical circuit is formed between the battery, wires, nail and the copper coil spring, when the end of the insulated wire is placed in the salt water solution. The electrical current flowing through the spring turns it into an electro-magnet with a north and south pole, and pulls the ‘spring’ together.

When the spring is pulled together, the bottom end is pulled out of the salt-water or ‘electrolyte’, breaking the circuit and stopping the flow of current as well as the magnetic properties of the coil. As this happens, the ‘spring’ releases and the bottom end dips into the salt-water again. This process forms a continuous loop that will cause the wire to bounce up and down without end, until the insulated wire is removed from the salt water.

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