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is it possible to manipulate a magnetic field so much to defy gravity and how? Answered

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kelseymhBest Answer (author)2009-02-09

NOTE: Please, please, please use your access to the Internet to look up terms below which you don't understand. Wikipedia is a very good resource for basic definitions and explanations of scientific terms.


It depends on what you mean by "manipulate." Superconductors, by their nature, "expel" magnetic fields. If placed at the axis of a cylindrically symmetric field configuration, a chunk of superconductor can be supported against gravity (you can buy kits for this from most educational science supply vendors).

Diamagnetic materials respond to external fields by polarizing themselves in a repulsive way (paramagnetic materials polarize attractively). Water is diamagnetic. This effect can be used (as "jtobako" below mentioned) to suspend biological samples (including living frogs) inside an axial magnetic field, such as that generated by a solenoid.

"Maglev" high speed trains function by using the repulsion between identical magnetic poles to keep the train suspended above the guide rails.

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kelseymh (author)CameronSS2009-02-10

That is an excellent demonstration, Cameron; thanks for the link!

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jj37 (author)kelseymh2009-02-11

All that this is doing is using a super conductor like material to repel a magnet. Such a magnet is very strong compared to earths magnetic field. but thank you for the link I was looking for a non-rare super conductor like material.

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kelseymh (author)jj372009-02-11

That is a way to put it. Superconductors can be described as "perfectly diamagnetic" -- they cannot support any magnetic field at all. In normal diamagnetic materials, the field induces the spins of the molecules/atoms to "antialign", creating an internal B field that opposes the external field. I think it's just a matter of semantics. We still don't know what "deathdefyer" actually had in mind :-)

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jj37 (author)2009-02-09

Do you mean using a planets magnetic field to push against an objects magnetic field in order to levitate? if so continue reading

The magnetic field of earth is between .3 and .6 gauss now compare this to an MRI. The magnets in use today in MRI are in the 0.5-Tesla to 3.0-Tesla range, or 5,000 to 30,000 gauss. some of the strongest magnets are 60 Tesla. Now, to even consider any thing light enough and powerful enough is well... in order to be realistic I have to say no,with the technology we have today we can’t do it. But it does not stop people from trying. There are magnetic levitation chairs using power full magnets on the floor and the chair in order to make the chair float.

Magnetic Floating Chair

But the unrealistic part of me says it might be possible but only in a way that because of the magnetic energy the rules of standard physics do not apply.

If you wanted to float in a large area like a dome you could use power full liquid helium cooled electro-magnets in the ground creating a bowl shaped magnetic field and super conductors attached to your body. Tip: super conductors repel all magnetic fields.

If I am wrong please feel free to correct me.

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jallen25 (author)jj372011-08-03

what if i built a drive motor out of super conducting materials and surrounded it with a spinning magnetic field would the drive motor spin the other way??

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jj37 (author)jallen252011-08-03

If you mean replacing an electric motors magnets with super conductors the yes the super conductors would repel the magnetic field and would spin, however it would be with a much lower efficiency than its magnetic counterpart.

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jallen25 (author)jj372011-08-04

im only making a drive motor out of it not an actual generator all that can be improved with dynamos :)

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jj37 (author)jallen252011-08-04

Good Luck. Post an an instruct-able about it if you are up to a challenge.

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hipydude2001 (author)jj372010-10-18

well your not wrong by stateing that "becouse of the energy the rules of standard physics do not apply", but yes there is now a gov funded along with the nsf studie done with creating a super conductor, but instead of super heating, they take it to a millionth of a degrea before absolute zero, and now magnetism and electic are starting to beable to coexist and possible increase the conductivity,well espeacilly the cross over while the temp plays a major part,the magnetism is being takin to the boarder of electro magnetism physics...

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hipydude2001 (author)2010-10-18

this aint the answere your looking for but i think that is how stone islands got those heavy stones up in formation thousands of years ago....i think that there was a time when there was a decrease in the gravitational pull towards the earth so they could move heavy objects easly, like picking up your car with one finger...

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jallen25 (author)hipydude20012011-08-03

if that was the case then theearth would have to have slowed its spin on its own axis it is this spin that creates the centrifugal force holding everything down on the planet which some people confuse for gravity gravity does not itself exist as a unique force no one has engaged a particle of gravitational force or witnessed a graviton actually enforcing gravity on an object erego the magnetic field of the earth makes it spin and that spin creates the illusion of the theretical belief of gravity!!

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lzornberg (author)2011-03-29

at around16 Tesla many ordinary objects- such as a drop of water, or even a live frog- can be levitated due to diamagnetism. unfortunately, 16 tesla magnets are not very easy to come by

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eastcoastjedi (author)2010-04-22

The earth  has Gravity, right?
... who likes Altair?

Don't mind that, im bored. sorry, heh...

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raykholo (author)2009-07-17

it depends on what u mean exactly by 'so much' this can go as far as making things levitate above water Its just about finding the right balance and the right counterpart to the magnetic field in question

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endolith (author)2009-03-17
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jtobako (author)2009-02-09

Look up 'flying frog'. With a super-powerful magnet someone was able to make a small frog float in mid-air.

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jj37 (author)jtobako2009-02-10

That is cool but it is done by powerful magnets (30 Tesla) and water's ability to repel magnetism. I am not completely sure what "manipulate" means in this situation. But another cool way to make a magnet float is aluminum moving at mid to high speeds at such speed aluminum oddly repels magnets by creating a magnetic energy mirror.

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jtobako (author)jj372009-02-10

It does it by inducing a current in the aluminum and thereby a magnetic field. In this question, 'manipulate' becomes 'create'; there is no way to concentrate the earth's magnetic field to the extent needed.

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pie_lover123 (author)2009-02-10

Magnetic force cannot actually defy gravity, but rather cancel out its forces. The Mythbusters pretty much summed it up in one of their many episodes.

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NobodyInParticular (author)2009-02-09

If by 'defy gravity' you mean hold something suspended, then yes. It's not as easy as you might think, though.

Earnshaw's theorem implies that you cannot simply hold an object in midair with any arrangement of unmoving permanent magnets. It would be like trying to balance a ball bearing on the tip of a pin.

There are ways to get around Earnshaw's Theorem, though. One is to use electromagnets with a control system that constantly adjusts the magnetic field to keep the system more or less in balance. Another way is to use a force other than gravity, like a string, to oppose the force of a permanent magnet. You can also keep a magnetic system in balance with gyroscopic forces.

You may have seen videos of a frog or other water-containing items being levitated inside an electromagnet, or a small superconductor hovering just above a large magnet. These are the result of diamagnetism. Earnshaw's Theorem doesn't apply, but this kind of levitation is not likely to result in any flashy effects in the near future. It takes enormously large magnetic fields to get even a slight levitation.

(Some maglev trains combine control systems with superconduction.)

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