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Is myth about magnetic fields in Ferro Magnetic rods true? #3923
Back To Discussion List Written: 2012.11.23 by: Denis Rogers

Can someone help me here, regarding a myth that is widely propagated on the net, and in survival manuals? To the best of my knowledge it is NOT possible to induce a magnetic field in a ferromagnetic rod by rubbing it in your hair or on a piece of silk. One can sometimes induce an electrostatic charge by doing so, which is not the same as inducing a magnetic field. This myth is widely propagated on the net and in survival manuals. Even such a great resource as "The United States Army Survival Manual" parrots the myth. Fred Touche in his excellent book "Wilderness Navigation Handbook" is one of the few authorities on wilderness navigation who does NOT propagate the same wrong information. To my way of thinking one can impart an electorstatic charge to a ferromagnetic needle, or a balloon, or a piece of plastic, This will not make any of them a magnet.
 Denis Rogers.


#1640 - 2012.11.23 Denis Rogers - Myths
Thank you for confirming my thoughts on this. I am aware that only a ferromagnetic substance can be magnetized. I mentioned a balloon and plastic merely to point out the difference between inducing an electrostatic charge, which can be induced in ferrous and non ferrous substances, and inducing a magnetic field.

#1639 - 2012.11.23 Vito Gudaitis - Definitely a Myth
First of all, nothing will magnetize a non-magnetic material like a ballon or plastic. If you have a magnetic material, e.g., something with iron or nickel in it, it can only be magnetized by placing it in a magnetic field. No amount of rubbing with hair or plastic will magnetize anything. You might be able to magnetize a needle by heating it to a very high temperature and then letting it cool slowly while it is aligned north/south, but I doubt that the amount of magnetism would be useful for anything.