Kintail: Magnetite

The magnetite collected at Kintail is great to have but there was one problem: Sand. No matter how careful we were I would guess that only 10% of what were carried away as magnetite. To solve this problem I decided to levy the one property that is indicative of magnetite: It is magnetic!

After putting the sand to dry on a bid concrete slab I began collecting using a little household magnet. The results weren’t great but it did peak interests beyond my own. My children got involved almost right way, as did my visiting brother and his fiancĂ©. My brother and future sister-in-law, Aaron and Patricia, are both creative people who have studied a lot of science. So, after realizing the general ineffectiveness of our current method ideas began to come for something better. Bigger magnets were tried, and ways of buffering the collected magnetite from the magnets were devised too, but it was the thought of creating an electro magnet that really held promise in our minds.

It took a couple of tries, and some good advice from an old car electrician before we had something to use. In the end we used the inside of an old car alternator on a long steel pole. Once it was hooked up to my car’s battery the magnetite jumped to meet it! It is hard to write how satisfying it was to watch the black sand form like an excited porcupine around our device.

Both my brother and I took turns gathering and in the ended up with just over 8 pounds of magnetite.

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