What Happens When You Drop A Magnet Through A Copper Tube?

老陳, via WIkimedia Commons.

Ahh, Physics, you never cease to astound me. Today’s awesome science demo is brought to you by Lenz’s Law. Heinrich Emil Lenz was a German physicist that formulated a law of electromagnetic induction back in 1833. The most stripped down explanation of the law is that when a current is induced in a conductor, a magnetic field is generated that opposes the action that produces the current.

Check out a demonstration of this in action in the YouTube video below:

In sum: the magnet induced a current in the copper pipe, which in turn produced a magnetic field. The direction of this current then opposed the change in the magnet’s field, resulting in the magnet being repelled and thus falling more slowly. Neat. 


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