Question: Can water be moved with a magnet?


Answer: Very slightly, yes! Here's why:

Some materials display a property known as diamagnetism. When they are exposed to a magnetic field, they create their own, internally induced magnetic field opposing it. Most of the time this is much weaker than the original magnetic field, and so the effect is rarely noticeable.

Water is one such material, and it does, indeed, show the effect only weakly. But with a very strong magnet acting in a concentrated area, you can see it happening.

The effet that causes this related to the internal structure of atoms. Electrons within atoms reside in orbitals that can act, undere the right circumstances, as tiny loops of current within the atom, which generate their own magnetic fields. Under most circumstances, this is barely noticeable, as the forces binding the atom together are far stronger than this effect. At close ranges under the effect of a very strong magnetic field, though, we can see it begin to take effect.

  We don't recommend trying this at home! It takes a very strong magnet to move a visible amount of water. But check out the demonstration linked below!



Related demonstration:

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