Linear motion with magnets

Aggiornato il: 30 mar 2019

Experiment n°25


Testing linear movement with magnets and 12 V batteries.


Materials: copper strips, electric cables, magnets, double side tape, batteries, batteries holder, aluminium tiny pipe.

Dimensions: 15 cm length overall

Surrounding parameters: Studio


In the first experiment the two channels were created using copper tape and copper strips forming parallel upright walls.

The magnets where positioned in between the copper strips touching them and a series of 2x 1.5 V batteries were used to power the circuit.

At the first attempt we connected the circuit and we could see the aluminium pipe moving slightly but very

erratically as per video below:

The first attempt produced an erratic movement.

The magnets were then separated from one another with repelling force and fixed to the surface to avoid movement.

With this arrangement the circuit worked as intended and the linear motion function was achieved,

propelling the aluminium cylinder from one end to the other. The polarity of the power supply was then reversed which resulted in the pipe travelling back the other way.

At this stage the magnets were positioned touching one another joint together with the attracting force.


It has been an aim in my research to incorporate movement into my prototypes, in a variety of different

ways . This technique is appealing because of its silent operation and the natural phenomena of the


Using electricity and magnetism is very fascinating.

As electromagnetism uses electro magnets to repeal or attract we could think to have motions through these forces in a lot of art installations or also domestic objects.

I will experiment more on this subject to understand better how I could embed the electromagnetism in my work however for now I will focus on using Arduino and its components that enables me to program as I need to.

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