How to make a magnet using a battery

How can you make a simple electromagnet at home?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.


  • iron nail;
  • cop­per wire;
  • bat­tery cell;
  • clamps;
  • pa­per clips;
  • nee­dles;
  • spoon.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Wind a cop­per wire around an iron nail and strip its ends of its in­su­lat­ing cop­per(II) ox­ide lay­er. Use clamps to con­nect the wire to a bat­tery cell. Ob­serve as the cop­per-bound nail be­gins to at­tract nee­dles, pa­per clips, and spoons!

Process de­scrip­tion

An elec­tro­mag­net is a mag­net, the mag­net­ic prop­er­ties of which ap­pear only when an elec­tric cur­rent pass­es through it. It con­sists of a wind­ing through which cur­rent flows and a fer­ro­mag­net­ic core. In our case, the nail acts as the core of the elec­tro­mag­net; it strength­ens the mag­net and ac­quires the mag­net­ic prop­er­ties. As soon as the cur­rent be­gins to flow through the wind­ing, a mag­net­ic field ap­pears and the mag­net is ready for use. The mag­net­ic field that ap­pears at­tracts ob­jects that con­tain iron, such as a spoon or pa­per clip! Such mag­nets are used in MRI de­vices, hard drives, speak­ers, head­phones, and much more.

Check out MEL Sci­ence for more safe and ex­cit­ing ex­per­i­ments!