Amazing shavings

How to magnetize magnesium

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Wear pro­tec­tive gloves, eye­wear, and a mask. Per­form this ex­per­i­ment in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed area.

Reagents and equip­ment

  • mag­ne­sium shav­ings;
  • neodymi­um mag­net;
  • Petri dish;
  • 20 mL 10% iron(II) sul­fate so­lu­tion.

Step-by-step in­struc­tion

Sprin­kle mag­ne­sium shav­ings around the edges of a Petri dish, then place the Petri dish on a neodymi­um mag­net. Mag­ne­sium by it­self isn’t at­tract­ed to mag­nets. How­ev­er, with the ad­di­tion of 20 mL of 10% iron(II) sul­fate so­lu­tion, we can ob­serve a tu­mul­tuous re­ac­tion and the mag­ne­sium shav­ings’ new­found at­trac­tion to the mag­net!

Process de­scrip­tion

When the mag­ne­sium in­ter­acts with the iron(II) sul­fate so­lu­tion, metal­lic iron pre­cip­i­tates on the sur­face of the mag­ne­sium shav­ings. Iron, un­like mag­ne­sium, has mag­net­ic prop­er­ties.

Mg + Fe­S­O₄ = Mg­SO₄ + Fe