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Have fun with magnetic field viewing film

Have fun with magnetic field viewing film

Issue Time:2020-03-04

What is magnetic field viewer


Magnetic field viewing film is used to show stationary or (less often) slowly changing magnetic fields; it shows their location and direction. It is a translucent thin flexible sheet, coated with micro-capsules containing nickel flakes suspended in oil. When magnetic lines of force are parallel to the surface of the carrier sheet, the surfaces of the flakes are reflective and appear bright. When lines of force are perpendicular to the sheet, the flakes are edge-on and appear significantly darker. When the film is placed on a magnet's pole, the latter case applies.

Magnetic field viewing film together with a ruler can be used to measure the poles per inch of a magnet.

How to make your own magnetic field viewer

Magnets, like gravity, can move objects through an invisible force.

Unlike gravity, however, we don’t necessarily experience magnetic fields in our everyday life. People aren’t dropping spoons and watching a magnetic force acting upon it, but instead watching gravity act.

There are a ton of goods out there that bring magnets to people. However, there isn’t much available to help people see how these magnets work.

One quality about magnetic fields is that you can use a magnetic field viewer to look at the force field of a magnet. It would be interesting since it would show a bunch of lines pointing to the center of the Earth which you can never see in common life.

It is pretty easy to make a magnetic field viewer, and it requires very few ingredients.

Below we will show you how to make a magnetic field viewer add a new dimension to the magnets.

Project Ingredients

Strong Magnet

Iron filings (or cut up steel wool)

Mineral or baby oil

Flat plastic bottle

A simple step to your own magnetic field viewer

1. Pour a few teaspoonfuls of iron filings into your jar


2. Fill your jar with oil (we suggest mineral or baby)


3. Seal your jar and shake it up


4. Put a strong magnet next to the jar and watch the filings map our the magnetic field lines

Congrats! You just made yourself a magnetic field viewer!

So this is the simple process of the hand-made magnetic field viewer. In actual work, we certainly don’t use this kind of toy pole bottle. We use a thinner one like the below video shows. Click below to see how we create a painting with a magnetic field viewer.

Try it, if you have one too~