electromagnetic lab



1 Nail (iron)

Wire (copper wire, insulated for safety)

Battery (C, D or 9V size)

Paper clips, Pins, Aluminum Foil, or BB’s (make sure the item you choose can be picked up by a magnet)

Electronic Scale (or food scale)



  1. Leave about 6 inches of wire at one end and wrap the wire around the nail the given number of times (from 30 to 50). If your wire is too short to wrap 50 times, you may adjust the number of wraps so that you still get 5 measurements.
  2. Connect each end of the wire to opposite ends of the battery.
  3. Hold the nail next to the metal and see if it attracts the metal objects. Pick up the metal objects with the nail and raise it to ½ meter. Measure the mass of the metal objects picked up. Convert this number to Newtons by multiplying the mass by 0.0098. Record your results.
  4. Repeat the experiment by increasing the number of times the wire is wrapped around the nail.

**There are some great demos of this experiment on Youtube, if you have any problems.***


Wire Wraps

Mass Picked Up

(grams x 0.0098) Force in Newtons

Distance Moved

(in meters)


Force x distance



0.5 m




0.5 m




0.5 m




0.5 m




0.5 m





  1. What caused the nail to pick up the metal objects? Explain thoroughly.


  1. How many wraps of wire was able to perform the most work? Why?


  1. Name 3 other ways that electricity does work.




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