Safety Note: Neodymium magnets are extremely strong and definitely not for kids who put things in their mouths.
What you need: 18 gauge copper wire, AAA Battery, (6) Neodymium Magnets, 5/8 inch electrically pipe & Wire cutters
We put 3 magnets on each end of the train. The magnets need to be placed on the battery with the poles facing opposite directions. Otherwise, the train will not work.
The coils need to be wrapped pretty closely around the train. I wrapped the wire on a 5/8 inch (1.59 cm) electrically pipe. I used 18 gauge copper wire which was 25 feet (7.62 meters) long. If I had longer wire I could made the track in a circle and the train would of kept going in a circle. 100 foot (30 meters)
How does the Electromagnetic Train Work?
Electricity and magnet are linked in a way that scientists do not completely understand. Each can create the other. If you wrap a copper wire into coils and run an electrical current through it, you will create a magnetic field. If you rotate a permanent magnet (as opposed to an item that has been magnetized) inside a coil of copper wire, you can create an electrical current.
In this project, the neodymium magnets on the ends of the battery create a bar magnet with a north pole and a south pole. When you put the train inside the coils, it causes an electrical current to flow through the copper wire, which creates a magnetic field in the section of wire coils right around the train car.
This magnetic field has its own north and south poles, which push the train along the track. You’ll notice that the train will only run one direction because of its magnetic poles. It’s pretty amazing science!