SUPERMAGNET BEAD TRICKS
Make a bar magnet & compass
Using 60 sphere magnets, make twelve 5-magnet pentagons, and assemble
them into a 60-atom Buckyball (but not exactly Carbon Fullerene.) The
one shown in this diagram has patterns of pentagons, but tip-to-tip
bonding between pentagons is unstable, so hexagon facets are unstable.
The pentagons rotate to form side-to-side bonding with squares instead of
hexagons. Magnets bond as dipoles like sulfur does, not as quadrupoles
atoms do. Sulfur chains could probably condense from vapor to
form this sort of sulfur fullerene "S60 Buckyball."
It's actually a kind of puzzle. Here's the secret:
for this to work, all the circular direction of north/south poles
arranged around the pentagon-rings must be the same.
More realistic buckyball:
Once you're successful in making Buckyballs,
try duplicating the way they form in nature. Build two 30-atom
hemispheres like so: first form two pentagons, place each one against a
circle of ten magnet spheres to form a little cup, then place a circle of
on the lip of each cup. This is how buckyballs actually form, and if the
two cups come together, they merge seamlessly to form a 60-magnet hollow
sphere. AH! THAT'S how Fullerene molecules end up with metal ions
trapped inside. It's like a clamshell closing on a stone. (NOTE: this
two-hemisphere technique is not trivial! The
polarity of the chain-circles are important, an they must be placed so
they merge with the magnet spheres adjacent, NOT with the magnets moving
into the clefts of the adjacent chains.
Also, you must "knit" the lips of the hemispheres together in a zigzag
pattern, otherwise you'll get something that looks like a clam. It's a
puzzle needing some thought and experiments to solve.)
Make a big circle from 25 magnets or more, then squeeze it together to form two chains side by side. Now place the chain-pair on the table and bend the tip. It goes "snap" and forms a bend ...a kink...
Or form many kinks in the same direction, then bring the ends together and
make a crude circle with two parallel strands. It's like a tiny amoeba
with a crystalline bi-layer cell membrane, with lots of movable kinks
allowing changes of shape when you apply pressure to the little creature.
On a smooth but not polished
surface, throw two sphere magnets together so they connect. They will spin
very, very long time. A VERY long time. Something weird is going on.
Why doesn't friction slow them down? Have you discovered a new source of
energy? No, but you've discovered a gravity motor. This is similar to the
physics demonstration called "precessing spinning pipe," where the "pipe"
very slowly lays down as it spins, and the Potential Energy of gravity
*powers* the spinning. Friction apparently doesn't slow it down as it
normally would, since there's an energy source keeping it running. A
gravity-powered motor! Bring a thick conductive object near the spinning
pair (or move an aluminum plate up from below the table) and the spinning
halts rapidly. Observe the spinning bead-pair closely and you'll see two
glowing circles which slowly come together as the raised bead lays down.
The circles are caused by overhead lights; they're from the reflected
"highlights" in the two silver spheres. Since one sphere is tilted
upwards, one circle hovers above the other. And since the raised sphere
slowly settles, the two glowing circles will slowly merge just before the
spinning spheres grind to a halt. (I heard about this trick from Mr.
George at Eng Concepts magnet store:
Compass, Coupled Rotary Oscillators
Get fourteen magnet
spheres. Make two rings of six magnets, then push one extra magnet sphere
into the center of each ring, and the center one slightly sticks out, and
the chunk of 7 becomes a compass. Lay each "compass" down so the center
magnet sticks out the bottom slightly. These "compasses" can easily
rotate. Place two "compasses" a few inches apart, and if one is forced to
turn, the other turns too. Spin one, and watch it stop while the other
spins (coupled oscillators.) Make a chain of three compasses in a row a
few inches apart, turn one, and the motion propagates. But if spacing is
wrong, the motions won't spread to other compasses (the domain-wall won't
shift.) Use black beads to mark one spot on the compass rim...
Wind long chains of magnet spheres around your wrists. Use at least 30 in
a chain. Hundreds of magnets work even better. Touch the two bracelets
together. If the pair is wound in one direction, they merge to form
handcuffs, but if one of them is wound in the other direction, they just
stick together and peel apart again without disrupting the bracelet.
Note that they still exhibit the same effect even if you flip one of them
over, (just as screw threads behave.) To change behavior, you have to
actually disassemble one bracelet and re-wind it with a reverse screw-wise
"chirality." (Or pass it through a matter-transporting mirror, as in
"Through the Looking Glass.")
Using thirty or more magnets, start a "winding-order seed" by winding a
chain of magnet beads on a
Wind a couple of turns, then
remove the pencil and keep winding, and the chain will self-assemble into
a nanotube. This is much easier than building hexagonal rings and then
stacking them up!
Make a very long chain of a hundred or more magnets, then start two
"seeds" of slightly different
winding order on either end, then wind them up equally. You'll end up
with a two-region nanotube with a defect between them in the
center. This defect can move!
Twist only one end of the nanotube, and the defect
clicks along, changing the tube diameter as it goes. The narrow tube can
consume the wide one, making the whole assembly longer. Or vice versa.
Start three seeds,
creating two defects, then twist the center segment of the nanotube and
the defects move in the same direction (the center segment moves along.)
If you can figure out a special "bent seed," then successively wound
layers also have a
you'll end up with a cone of stacked up rings, with rings having
increasing length of 4,5,6, etc. The
becomes a nano-funnel or a Tibetan monk's hat.
Make a tube by winding a chain of sphere magnets around a pencil. Use
about 25 magnets (more if you want a long tube.) Leave the ends long,
then hook the ends together to form a loop. If you pull on one end of
the loop, the tube unwinds at one end and winds up at the other, while
the beads flow constantly through the loop.
Make a chain of three magnets, then bend it to form a triangle. Lay it
and roll a fourth bead to it. It will "eat" the extra bead,
becoming a square. Roll a fifth bead and the square eats the extra bead,
becoming a pentagon. The pentagon can become a hexagon.
But any more magnet spheres than six will just stick to the outside and
with the ring unless the ring is put under stress. This is an analogy for
surface-energy in curved fluids. Well, it works backwards from the way
fluids do! So...
Stick a magnet to the side of a long chain, and it doesn't merge.
But put your chain of spheres under tension, and any spheres touching the
side will be
Make three squares of four magnets each, and
stack them up. They
won't remain stable, but instead form a pair of hexagons side by side.
Try to make them back into squares by squeezing the vertices of the
hexagons together, and SNAP!, it becomes two hexagons again, but rotated
Make a buckyball from 60 magnet spheres, or just collect a huge bunch of
beads into a glob. Touch it
with one end of a chain of magnets, then pull, and the buckyball will
become a long chain. As each succeeding "carbon atom" joins the chain,
its powerful dangling bonds will immediately grab any neighboring "atom."
Long-chain self-assembly tends to happen spontaneously! Ah, THAT'S why
human beings appeared from nothing: because chains of atoms are also able
to appear from nothing. Supply a cloud of carbon atoms, and the rest is
Plasmid gene transport: a 60-sphere loop of bead-chain can be bent,
necked-down, and a tiny ring pulled off like the DNA plasmid from
bacterial chromosome. Move the tiny plasmid to another spot on the chain,
then merge it by reversing the process. Or make two large rings which
represent two separate bacteria, then perform "gene transfer" by moving a
ring between them (for effect, make the large rings out of random black
and silver beads.) Or form one chain into an "S" shape, touch the lobes
of the "S" together, then split the touching parts 90deg differently, and
the chain will be whole again, but with a segment in reverse order. Now
make a "chromosome" by wrapping the long chain into a tight square-section
nanotube. With enough magnets you could wrap this nanotube into a spiral,
to form a thick hollow tube, then wrap THAT tube into a spiral to form a
bigger tube, etc.
Shouldn't iron atoms repel each other?
After all, if you place their alike-poles together side by side, they
repel. Why doesn't solid iron spontaneously evaporate? Or why don't the
atoms all rotate so Iron is non-magnetic? Let's see. Make some
bead-chains, then merge them side by side with their strongly-repelling
alike-pole ends together. The ends repel, yet the main body of the chains
attract strongly and "zipper" together to form crystalline "permanent
magnets." Add more and more chains to the side to build entire
single-domain magnetized crystals. See, iron atoms DO stick together to
form large magnets. Now make some "compass" clumps (see above,) and use
them as field sensors: test at what distance your "single domain"
crystal fragment affects them.
Chains of beads can merge with north ends near south ends, where the
overall field is zero (it forms rings.) Or, if you just gather a wad of
beads together, it will have no large external field, since the beads have
a strong tendency to form internal rings. Use rotating "compass" clumps
to detect the field, and you'll find that a ring of magnets has almost no
effect on them.
Two rings become one:
Make a long chain using an even number of magnets (60 magnets is good.)
Connect the chain to form a circle, then squash the circle to form two
parallel rows having squared-off ends. Lift the ends up and join them,
forming a 2-row bracelet. If you now carefully peel the two rows apart
by a bit, then suddenly pull them wide, the whole thing snaps to become a
single large circle!
Where to buy 'em?
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