Vacek Miglus

Address Phone Fax E-mail Physics Department Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT 06459

Phone 860 685 2056 Fax 860-685 2031


Low Cost Paramagnetism Apparatus


A very low cost method of demonstrating the Paramagnetic Properties of Oxygen have not been available until the recent reduction of high strength magnet prices. Making use of common items an adjustable gap magnet is made (that can also be used for other demonstrations) and using the difference in condensation (boiling point) temperatures of Nitrogen (-195C)and Oxygen(-182C) the paramagnetic properties are easily shown.

Support required for apparatus (ie. special needs in order to set up the equipment at the AAPT meeting):

2 liters of Liquid Nitrogen. I will supply dewar

Approximate size: 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm

Does this apparatus require Electrical Power? NO

Is this apparatus intended for use with and overhead projector? NO

Will you be present to set up your apparatus? YES (Hopefully)

Equipment required to construct apparatus: A hacksaw and metal file

Item Source/Store Part Number Cost

1. 2ea 1 quart (liter) thermos bottle model 3210 (dewar) 10.99 21.98
2. light duty clamp, 3 inch, Grainger P/N 6A486 4.35 4.35
3. 2 ea. steel ¼ 20 flat head screw (pole faces) .10 ea. .20
4. 2 ea. Neodymium magnets .5" dia. x .25" Bunting Magnetics (800-835-2526) 3.13ea 6.26
5. empty soft drink can .05 .05
6. Styrofoam six pack cooler 5.00 5.00
7. Approx. 15cm of string 8. 2 liters of Liquid Nitrogen 1.00/liter 2.00
Total cost.................................................................................................. $ 39.84



The entry is a simplification of an apparatus presented at the 1998 AAPT meeting. A soft drink can suspended by a string and filled with LN2 will condense oxygen out of the air. If the liquid Oxygen is dripped into a strong non-uniform magnetic field it will demonstrate its paramagnetic properties by remaining suspended between the pole faces. Pre-chill the clamp/magnet assembly in LN to prevent the LOx from boiling off too fast.