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Can the Number of Wire Wraps around a Steel Bar affect the Amount of Iron Filings an Electromagnet Picks Up?


By Brianna B.

SOAR 6th Grade 1998


The purpose of this experiment was to find out if the number of wire wraps will effect the amount of iron filings an electromagnet picks up.

 I became interested in this idea when I found out that electromagnets are used in many different house hold items

 The information gained from this experiment will help the society by being able to use a stronger magnet to move heavier metals.


My hypothesis is that the steel bar with 100 wraps will pick up more iron filings than the 75 and I think that the 75 will pick up more iron filings than the steel bar with 50.

 I base my hypothesis on my library research and that I think that the steel bar with more wire will pick up more because it has more electricity going through it.


The constants in this study were:

    The amount of time to pick up iron filings.

    The same method of wrapping around the metal bar.

    The amount of electricity going through the wire.

    The same size of bar.

    The same size of wire.

    The same transformer.

The manipulated variable was the amount of times the wire was wrapped around the steel.

The responding variable was the amount of filings picked up.

To measure the responding variable I used an unbalance scale weighing in grains.





metal bars, Steel

2 meters

copper wire


6 volt battery


needle nose pliers


small glass

20 grams

iron filings


grain scale



  1. Get the metal, wire and the transformer

  2. Wrap the wire tightly around the metal rod100 times

  3. On the other metals wrap it around 75 times and 50

  4. Attach the ends of the wire to the battery

  5. Stick the end of the metal rod 1 cm into iron filings for 15 seconds

  6. Bring the metal rod up slowly

  7. Put it above the grain scale

  8. Unattach the metal from the battery

  9. If there are some iron filings stuck to the rod brush of with a small sponge brush

  10. Find the mass of the iron filings

  11. Record the mass of the filings

  12. Return filings

  13. Wipe of metal rod with rag

  14. Wipe rag off

  15. Repeat step 2 using 75 wire wraps and using the same procedure.

  16. Repeat step 2 with 50 wire wraps and the same procedure.



Magnets are able to attract different metals but they attract things with iron in or on them the best. Magnets have a north and south side. If you put a north end of a magnet by another north side they would push away from each other, but if you put a north and a south side by each other they attract or pull together. Magnets lose power when they are hot.

There are four different types of magnets; there is compound, deflecting, temporary and permanent. Temporary magnets are magnets that are made of soft iron; the permanent magnets are made of steel. Regular magnets are able to attract magnets without having wire wrapped around it like electromagnets. Some materials aren't able to attract to permanent magnets like wood, air and water. Sometimes soft magnets can be made into a hard magnet.


Electromagnets are regular metal with wire wrapped around it. When electricity flows through the wire electromagnet can be used for many uses for example doorbells, buzzers and relays. Electromagnets aren't able to work with out electricity.


Magnus an Ancient Greek found the magnet. He found it, when he stuck his foot on a rock and the nails stuck to it. In ancient time man knew about rocks that could move rocks of their own kind. The rock that moves is called loadstones. Sometimes the rocks would be used for generating electric power.


The importance of magnets is that they can help society by moving heavier metals to different areas. It also can keep things in the right places for a longer amount of time. Electromagnets are also powerful, but they have to have electricity going through it to be magnetic.



The results of my experiment were that the steel bar with 100 wraps of copper wire was the more magnetic of the three bars that I tested. The 100 wrap bar picked up 18.15 grains of iron filings, the 75 wrap bar picked up 15.55 grains, and the 50 wrap bar picked up 9.9 grains. The graph below shows this more clearly.



My hypothesis was that the metal with 100 wraps would pick up more iron filings then the steel with 75 and 50 wraps of copper wire.

 The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted, because the more wraps a rod has, the more iron filings it picked up.

 Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if it would still work the same way with heavier metals. Or if I would have kept going on higher if it would have kept getting higher and higher as the more wraps I used or would it stop at a certain point and keep going strait or would it go down.

 If I were to conduct this project again I would try to lift small metal objects heavier then the filings; I would use thicker wire and a stronger transformer.


Carl, "Electromagnets", interview December 3rd

Electromagnets " Grolier Interactive Inc, 1998

Flemins, John A., Popular Science, Philippines, Grolier Inc, 1982

Heimler, Charels H. and Price, Jack, Focus on Physical Science, Columbus, Ohio, Merrill, 1969

Magnets and Magnetism, " Compton’s NewMedia Inc, 1995

Magnets, "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1973

Magnets, " The World Book Encyclopedia, 1995


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