Magnetic Push Up

Use Restraint


By using proper restraint one magnet can be made to fly over another.


Two magnets, rectangular ones from Radio Shack work well, about 1" x 2" x 0.5" .
masking tape, wide, about 5 cm or 2".


Tape one magnet down to a desk.
Hold the other magnet over the first one so that it is repelled.
Tape the second one "down" so that it does not fly away.

To Do and Notice

Notice that the top magnet flies over the bottom one.

Push down on it and feel that the upward force increases as the distance between the magnets decreases.

Push down on the top magnet and feel the force. Notice how it is pushed to the side.

What's Going On?

The bottom magnet repels the top magnet.

The upward force is greater than gravity so the magnet flies.

Usually the flying magnet would slip off to the side and fall to the ground. The tape holds the top magnet in place over the bottom one so that it cannot slide off to the side.

An Activity by Paul Doherty,

Thanks to Per Sporongof Solentuna International School for showing me this activity.

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Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2000

1 Feb 2000