Recommendation for Middle-School Science Fair Gauss Meter?
November 23, 2014 2:35 PM   Subscribe

My middle-schooler is working on a science project involving the strength of magnets under different conditions. We are talking about using a Gauss meter to measure the strength of a magnet, but we are not sure what type of Gauss meter would be right for the project. Any recommendations?

Most of the Gauss meters we see on the internet appear to be either very heavy-duty tools that tend to be very expensive or basically play toys that are used to detect ghosts. We are not too sophisticated about these matters but are basically looking for a tool that would measure the strength of a magnet when it is heated up and then again when it is cooled down. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
posted by Slap Factory to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This magnetic field sensor from Vernier Software would work well. It does require an interface to use- but many middle and high school science departments have purchased the interfaces and sensors. Perhaps you could ask your kid's teacher or at the local high school. Most physics and chemistry teachers will be, at a minimum, familiar with the sensor (or something very similar).
posted by jeffch at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2014

Alternatively, an Arduino can be used with a hall effect sensor. I've no idea what the accuracy is like, but I'd imagine it would be fine for a middle-school project. With bonus points for building your own Gauss Meter!
posted by pipeski at 3:30 PM on November 23, 2014

Are you set on using a Gauss meter? If not, maybe you could measure how many paper clips or other small metal things the magnet could pick up under different conditions?
posted by kayram at 3:58 PM on November 23, 2014

Best answer: Thinking, so you are interested in demonstrating the effects of heat on a magnet, to be able to detect when it goes through its Curie temperature, and loses its magnetism?

All of the iPads and many Samsung tablets have a magnetometers built into them. These are hall effect devices, but the best thing about them is that a cheap app (like the execrable sensor pro for android and pretty much any app store app that has the word magnetometer) will give you access and graphical display to their readings, so you can concentrate on dramatically destroying the magnetic field of a neodymium magnet at about 135 C (approximately) while you are watching the display.
posted by the Real Dan at 8:34 PM on November 23, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the helpful answers, everyone.

Kayram, I think we are going to use paper clips as a second way to measure the strength under different conditions. We may also get a pull-force test kit for that purpose.

The Real Dan, great suggestion. I'll hit the app store.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2014

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