(EASY & Quick Guide) How To Tell a Disc Magnet Polarity

After hearing about magnet polarity levels in a documentary I was watching this week, I was curious to find out how you can tell what the polarity of and every disc magnet is. So, after doing some digging of my own on the internet, I came up with an easy and quick guide on how to tell a disc magnet’s polarity.

How can you tell a disc magnet’s polarity? To tell the polarity of a disc magnet, you can perform a variety of tests on just one magnet, or use the method of trial and error with another disc magnet. When it comes to finding the polarity of the average disc magnet, there are a few ways to go about it.

Depending on the materials that you have access to, you will be able to find the best method for you in this article.

How To Tell a Disc Magnet Polarity

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are trying to tell the polarity of a disc magnet, there are two different options for the easiest way to complete this task.

While there are several ways to tell the polarity of a magnet, there are a few of them that are the most ideal for a disc magnet in particular.

Since disc magnets have a unique shape against other types of magnets, such as the common bar magnet, you will want to be very selective in how you determine the polarity for the most accurate results.

The shortlist below will let you know the two best methods for finding the polarity of a disc magnet, and the rest of this article will fill you in on the details of how to carry out these methods.

How To Tell a Disc Magnet Polarity:

  • Using a compass
  • Floating the magnet

The first, and most commonly used, method for telling the polarity of a disc magnet is to use a compass. In short, this process is completed by putting both of these objects together and letting the direction of the compass’ point to determine the polarity of your disc magnet.

Floating the magnet, on the other hand, will let your magnet do all the work for you. With just a few common household materials, you will be on your way to answering the burning question you have about your disc magnet’s polarity in no time.

The next few sections will outline in detail how you can carry out both the compass and floating methods.

How To Tell a Disc Magnet’s Polarity Using a Compass

In order to tell ad disc magnet’s polarity using a compass, you will need to gather a regular compass and the disc magnet that is in question.

With only two objects needed for this task, you will be able to quickly and efficiently find the polarity of your disc magnet by following just a few simple steps, as outlined down below.

How To Tell A Disc Magnet’s Polarity - Compass Method:

  • Test your compass for accuracy
  • Place the compass on a flat surface, facing up
  • Place the magnet on the table next to the compass
  • Stand the disc magnet up on its side, holding it with your index finger
  • Make sure that one flat side of the magnet is facing the compass
  • Observe the needle of the compass
  • The South end of the point will indicate the North Pole of your magnet
  • The North end of the point will indicate the South Pole of your magnet

To begin, you will first need to test your compass for accuracy. This is very important because a compass that is not working properly will not give you correct results at the end of your test.

Next, place the compass on a flat surface facing upward, such as a table. Your disc magnet will then be placed next to the compass on the same surface.

However, due to the shape of this kind of magnet, you will need to stand it up on its side by holding it up with your index finger, still in a position next to the compass on the table.

Make sure that one of the flat sides of the magnet is facing the compass. It can be held in the same position throughout the entire test without having to be rotated.

Then, you will observe the needle of the compass very closely. If the side of the magnet that is closest to the compass has attracted the south end of the point, this will indicate the North Pole of the magnet.

If the north end of the compass’s point is attracted to the magnet, on the other hand, you will know that this is the South Pole of your magnet.

The magnet can be flipped over if you wish to perform a more thorough test, in order to make sure your results were the most accurate.

How To Tell A Disc Magnet’s Polarity - Floating Method

The floating method of finding the polarity of a disc magnet will slightly differ from the above method, also using a few common household items.

However, instead of a compass pointing toward the poles of the magnet, the disc magnet itself will let you know which side is which.

To begin, you will need to gather a few materials from around your home. These materials will include your disc magnet, a compass, a small piece of styrofoam that can hold the magnet, a wide cup, and some water.

How To Tell A Disc MAgnet’s Polarity - Floating Method:

  • Fill the cup with water
  • Place the styrofoam square on top of the surface
  • Check the directions with a compass
  • Place the magnet on top of the Styrofoam
  • Wait for the styrofoam to turn around until the North Pole is revealed

This method is as simple as filling a cup up with water and placing the magnet on top of the surface, placed on top of a styrofoam square.

For the most accurate results, check the directions with a compass before starting. Once the styrofoam begins spinning, the magnet will point its the North Pole in the Northernmost direction when all movement stops.

What Does Polarity Mean?

After hearing the term “polarity” so frequently in the previous section, you might be wondering what it really means. To put the definition in the most simple of terms to get a basic understanding of what it is, take a look at the informational bullets in the list down below.

Definition Of Polarity:

  • The direction of the magnetic/electric field
  • Pole orientation within the magnet

Polarity is defined as the orientation of poles within a magnet. Poles are the elements within a basic magnet that will either attract or repel other objects from that specific area.

In general, the opposite poles of two separate magnets will attract each other, or stick together. So, if two magnets have the same poles, you will probably have a lot of trouble trying to get the two surfaces to touch.

This is due to the fact that the same poles will actually repel each other instead of pulling together like you might expect a normal magnet to do.

To describe polarity in even more detail, it is basically the direction of the magnetic or electrical field that is given off by the magnet. Some magnets contain materials that are magnetic on their own, while others require an electric current to pass through them in order to create a magnetic field.

Disc magnets, however, happen to be magnetic on their own, since they are made up of mostly neodymium materials.

When you are trying to determine the polarity of a disc magnet, in particular, the result of the question you are trying to answer will be the direction in which the magnetic field is facing within the magnet itself.

Related Questions

Which side of a magnet is negative?

The negative side of a magnet is the same as the South Pole of the magnet.

Which side of a magnet sticks to metal objects?

Magnets will attract metal objects, just like other magnets, only on the opposite of each other's poles. Therefore, objects with the same poles as the magnet will be repelled instead of attracted to them.