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Frequently Asked Questions...

Why does a cow magnet go slower through a copper tube than a plastic tube?

Please help me!!! This is for my science class and i am so confused xS


A magnet is not attracted to copper, so you might expect that it would
not have any effect. But there is another property of magnets to keep
in mind: a moving magnet produces an electric field. So, as the cow
magnet moves through the copper tube, it creates an electric field that
sets up small electric currents in the copper tube. These moving eddy currents in the copper have their own electric fields that work against the field of the magnet. These interacting fields are what slows down
the cow magnet. The plastic tube is not affected by the moving magnetic field of the cow magnet, because plastic is not a conductor
so no electric field is created in the plastic tube.
We are most familiar with a moving magnet creating an electric current in a wire, the way a spinning magnet in an electric generator
creates a flow of electricity, but a moving magnet will create an electric current in any conductor. It doesn't have to be a wire, and it
doesn't have to be ferromagnetic.
Hope this helps a bit.

Plastic Tube

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