Science Experiments At The Discovery Lab In Tulsa Offer Unique Way To Learn

There's always something new to learn about science at the Discovery Lab.

Tuesday, September 20th 2022, 4:23 pm

By: News On 6


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There's always something new to learn at Tulsa’s Discovery Lab and this month’s experiment shows how electricity and magnets go together.

"The very fascinating thing about electromagnets and electromagnetism is that it powers a lot of things that we take for granted every day,” said Chip Lindsey, Director of Education at Discovery Lab.

For example, a magnetic connection happens when you place your phone on a wireless charger -- or drive an electric car.

"Because you're taking that electrical energy and because of the electromagnetic properties, you're able to propel a car down the road,” Lindsey said.

Sometimes magnets attract, and sometimes they repel. Director of Education Chip Lindsey says magnets only interact with things containing elements iron, nickel, or cobalt. For one experiment, he placed a magnet under a plastic tray and sprinkled iron filings on top. When the magnet is moved around, the iron filings follow showing the lines of force from the magnet.

To create an electromagnetic field, Lindsey cut 235 coat hangers and tied them together. Then, he connected it to a wire with a button on the floor, and that's plugged into an outlet. This created an alternating current. Even though this aluminum ring isn't magnetic, it shoots up when you stomp on the button. When the ring is chilled in liquid nitrogen, it hits the ceiling because the electric force is amplified.

"It permeates every part of our life. But it really hasn't been known for that long, just 200 years or so, that there is even a connection between magnetism and electric current,” Lindsey said.

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