Print Magnetic Field Using an Electromagnet

(Lines of Magnetic Force)

Introduction: Printing the lines of a magnetic field is important because it can help us to determine the strength, concentration and direction of magnetic forces around a magnet. By inspecting a magnetic field print you can determine if shape variations or thickness of a magnet, affect the strength or the concentration of magnetic forces in some areas of a magnet. 

Do magnetic forces accumulate in narrow areas?

You may also tray this experiment with any regular magnet such as a magnet bar or a magnet disk. 


  1. Place the electromagnet on a flat surface away from metal objects. 
  2. Place a cardboard on that and use puddings so the cardboard stays horizontally. For example you may place small pieces of wood, cardboard or plastic around the nail to hold the card board horizontal. 
  1. Sprinkle some iron filings on the cardboard. Do your best to distribute the iron filings evenly on the center of the cardboard, above the nail.
  1. Push the button to magnetize the nail. Tap on the cardboard so the iron filings will move and position themselves over the magnetic lines.
  2. Take a picture of the magnetic lines.
  3. Use hair spray to secure the iron filings in place. 
  4. Release the button. The flow of electricity in the coil wire will heat it up and overheat can cause a risk of fire.

Warning: The hair spray used in this experiment is usually flammable. Read related warnings and information on the bottle. Other types of spray glues are also available in art and craft stores.

Guide to connecting the wires

The simple electromagnet you use in the above experiment is a nail that you wind about 300 to 500 turns of magnet wire over that. You can simply connect the two ends of the magnet wire to a battery to magnetize your electromagnet. You may also want to connect it to the battery through a switch. Using a switch will make it more convenient to connect or disconnect the electricity as you choose. The details of such connection is shown in this diagram and is described in the simple Electromagnet experiment.

More Than 10 Projects in One Kit

The advanced and standard electromagnetism kits provide you with the opportunity of doing more than 10 different experiments and projects related to magnetism and electromagnetism. If you do not have the kit, please order it now.

Order Now