5H10.61 - Magnetic Shielding

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Magnetic Shielding
Magnetic Field Measurements
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Wooden block with attached paper clip, plates, granite block, magnet.

Suspend the magnet from a stand and adjust the height so that the paper clip is suspended below the magnet with about a 1/4" gap.  Place the desired material between the paper clip and the magnet and observe what happens.

The materials we have for this are:

  • Granite
  • Glass
  • Mirror
  • Lead
  • Masonite
  • Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Fiber Glass
  • Robert J. Fitzgerald, "New Lows for <agnetic Shielding", Physics Today, July 2015, p. 16.
  • Robert J. Reiland, Laboratory Activity 4: "Penetration of Magnetic Fields Through Matter", Teaching About Magnetism, p. 3.19.
  • Charles Vivian, "Make a Razor Blade Climb", Science Experiments & Amusements For Children, p. 73.
  • Martin Gardner, "The Levitated Paper Clip", Science Tricks, p. 51
  • Martin Gardner, "88, A Crawling Paper Clip", Smart Science Tricks, p. 130.
  • Janice VanCleave, "59, Flying Frog", Teaching the Fun of Physics, p. 93.
  • Janice VanCleave,  "Keeper",  Physics for Every Kid, p. 54.
  • Janice VanCleave, "11, Protector", Magnets, p. 44.
  • Janice VanCleave, "3, Straight Through", Magnets, p. 12.
  • James Cunningham and Norman Herr.  "Magnetic Potential Energy",  Hands-on Physics Activities with Real-Life Applications, p. 285.
  • Janice VanCleave's Physics for Every Kid, "16, Suspended Airplane",  p. 62.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "Magnetism Exceeds Gravity", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 49.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "Can Magnetism Be Shielded by Nonmagnetic Materials", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 69.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "Magnetic Shielding", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 70.
  • Herb Strongin, “Making a Pin Float in Air“, Science on a Shoestring, p. 131. 
  • Herb Strongin, “Fishing for the Truth“, Science on a Shoestring, p. 134.
  • Borislaw Bilash II, “Force at a Distance“, A Demo A Day – A Year of Physical Science Demonstrations, p. 122.
  • Borislaw Bilash II, “Magnetic or Nonmagnetic - That's the Question!“, A Demo A Day – A Year of Physical Science Demonstrations, p. 288.
  • Julius Sumner Miller, Q222 & A222, Millergrams II – Some More Enchanting Questions for Enquiring Minds, p. 68 & 116.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.