Certain materials are diamagnetic, which means that when they are exposed to a magnetic field, they induce a weak magnetic field in the opposite direction. Diamagnetic materials include some Carbon graphite, water, Bismuth, and Gold. Although we have heard that certain carbon graphite is hard to beat, we used Bismuth in our experiments. We intend to soon supply a kit or small Bismuth discs on our Forcefield website so folks can get this stuff easily. With some luck, you might find good carbon graphite in old DC motors (use the brushes). Bismuth can be found from certain chemical suppliers, and is also used as shot as an alternative to lead for re-loading shotgun shells. Once you find a good diamagnetic material, you will also need a Neodymium Iron Boron rare earth magnet(these work because they are very strong) and a large magnet to use overhead; this could be a stack of low grade ceramics, like speaker magnets. We used NdFeB rare earth magnets overhead, but this is not necessary. The magnets overhead will need to be adjustable, as the adjustment is critical. In our demonstration the overhead magnets are attached to a threaded shaft so that they can be raised and lowered. On the bottom of the assembly, 1 or 2 diamagnetic plates are required. If two plates are used, the distance between them can be adjusted to achieve maximum levitation. In our demo we used pennies as spacers with good results.
Here are some pictures of various magnets that we used in our experiments:
Levitating magnets requires very precise adjustments, especially when using only one plate. If you get the top magnets too close, the levitating magnet will take its final leap upward and usually shatter when it collides with the large magnets above.
Item #24 might be useful for such experiments.
Note: We now have a second page with additional diamagnetic levitation experiments. Click here to view this page. This page focuses on similar experiments using Carbon Graphite rather than Bismuth. This is advantageous, because we offer Carbon plates for sale on our web site; it is considerably cheaper and more accessible than Bismuth.
MORE OF OUR DIAMAGNETIC LEVITATION EXPERIMENTS!
Also see our SUPERCONDUCTIVITY EXPERIMENTS!
Another great diamagnetic levitation site
More diamagnetic levitation experiments
FORCEFIELD (GET YOUR MAGNETS HERE!)
Click here to view other demonstration images!