Magnetic Match Sticks
- Matchsticks (non-safety or 'strike anywhere' matches with the red head. work best).
- A strong neodymium magnet.
What to do:
- Open up a matchbox and select a number of matches.
- Place the neodymium magnet onto the heads (red) of the matchsticks.
- You'll observe that they do not attract or move towards the magnet.
- Burn the matches by striking them as normal, once head of match is burned you can extinguish it by blowing air onto it.
- Now repeat step 2 and place the magnet onto the matchstick heads, you should observe that they're attracted to the magnet! But how?
Why is it so?
- The red matchstick head is made from iron oxide and under normal circumstances it is not magnetic. So that's why you would of observed the unused/fresh matchstick not sticking (attracting) to the magnet. But when the matchstick is struck and burnt, it produces pure iron, which is magnetic.
- A simple equation for the reaction would be:
Iron(III) oxide + carbon → iron + carbon dioxide
- SO when the matchstick is burnt, it undergoes a chemical reaction, turning the red head (iron oxide and carbon) into iron and carbon dioxide gas.
- The iron produced is what causes the matchstick head to attract to the magnet. This trick is more than a magic illusion... it's SCIENCE!
Watch a video here: