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IB Physics Design Lab - Does the temperature a bar magnet is exposed to affect the magnetic field strength of the bar magnet?

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Physics Design Lab – Magnetism

Research Question: Does the temperature a bar magnet is exposed to affect the magnetic field strength of the bar magnet?

Background Information: We have learned that at high temperatures, the atoms in a metallic bar magnet start to vibrate faster, in a random manner. This causes the magnetic domains in the bar magnet to lose their orientation, further leading to the domains not being in the same direction, as they were previous to heating. As the domains lose their orientation, they cancel out each other’s magnetic field, leading to an overall weaker magnet. This explanation leads to the theory that heating is a means of demagnetization, which we learned in lower classes. On the other hand, cooling a magnet leads to the borders of the domain to move ever so slightly to lead to a further preferential state (and orientation), thus leading to the formation of an even stronger bar magnet. This leads to the conclusion that cooling is a means of increasing magnetic field strength. This investigation will look to test these two theories, and in general, look to find a trend between the temperature of a magnet and its magnetic field strength. This is a very important part of our lives, as in the future we look to create ‘super-magnets’ at 0K which are extremely strong.


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To ensure that all the magnets have the same surface area, I will be using the same size of bar magnet for all the trials. With the same size and shape, the surface area will remain same too.

Material of Magnet

If the material the magnet is made up of is different its Curie Temperature would be different (loses its magnetic properties at different temperature.) This would lead to different results from different trials, which is incorrect and inaccurate.

To ensure that all the magnets are made of the same material, I am going to use the same type of magnet (same brand and brand name of magnet.)

Method of Measuring Magnetic Field Strength

There are many methods of measuring the magnetic field strength of a magnet, and they may all give slightly different results, and thus cause the results of the investigation to get skewed.

To maintain accuracy, I will be using the same gaussmeter (which I have built) to measure all values for magnetic field strength of a magnet.

Presence of External Magnetic and Electric Fields Near Magnet

The presence of external magnetic and electric fields can lead to the strengthening or weakening of the magnetic field being investigated.

I will ensure that there are no electric or magnetic fields near the magnet while it is being tested.

pH of Water Bath

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d class="c14" colspan="1" rowspan="1">



Distilled Water



Crushed Ice (for 0°C)



Digital Thermometer



Electric Heater



Digital Stopwatch



  1. Set-up the gaussmeter with the sensor and the voltmeter
  2. Measure the initial field strength of a bar magnet with the gaussmeter
  3. Heat a water bath to 40°C and place the bar magnet in it
  4. After 3 minutes, remove the magnet and measure its temperature to ensure that it is more or less 40°C.
  5. Allow the bar magnet to return to room temperature
  6. Measure the magnetic field strength of the magnet using the gaussmeter once again
  7. Find the difference between the two readings
  8. Repeat steps 2 – 7 with the other 5 temperatures (0, 20, 60, 80 and 100°C)
  9. Repeat the entire process thrice to get three readings for each temperature
  10. Calculate the average of three readings for each temperature
  11. Compare the values obtained for the different values for temperature with the help of data tables and graphs (to show certain trends)

Tables and Graphs To Record and Interpret Data:


Magnetic Field Strength/Gauss (G)

Average Field Strength/Gauss (G)

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3







The graph below will be used to find the trend between the temperature a magnet is heated to and its magnetic field strength. This graph will thus look to prove or disprove the hypothesis that as temperature increases, the magnetic field strength decreases.


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