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  • Writer's pictureKristjan Salev


Updated: Feb 4, 2023

Levitating Globe is fun to watch desk gadget. This gadget consists of a frame and levitating globe between that frame. As the name of the gadget suggests, it uses magnetic force to hold the globe levitating in the air. Everyone is probably familiar with ordinary permanent magnets. A permanent magnet has two poles: a north pole and a south pole. Similar poles repel, and dissimilar poles attract. The magnetic force is caused by the motion of charges, and it is a consequence of the electromagnetic force. In certain materials, called ferromagnets, all the spins and the orbits of the electrons (charges) will line up, causing the materials to become magnetic. As mentioned, the magnetic field is caused by moving charges. Thus, it is also possible to generate a magnetic field around the wire through which the electric current passes. Electric current is nothing but the directed movement of charged particles (electrons).

To increase the strength of the magnetic field the wire is wound around the metal core - now we have an electromagnet. Levitating globe and frame consist of a permanent magnet and an electromagnet. A permanent magnet is inside the sphere, and an electromagnet is inside the frame.

But how can a sphere float in the air without colliding with a frame?

The answer to this question is that the magnetic field of the electromagnet inside the frame is not static. When levitating globe comes too close to the electromagnet, the current is switched off (using a sensor), and when the globe gets too far from the electromagnet, the current is turned on, and the magnetic field in the electromagnet is produced again.

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