5G30.20-Paramagnetism of liquid oxygen

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Video: Watch this Demo

Harvard Demo Video

Description: Using a high power magnet, you can show the paramagnetic behavior of liquid oxygen.
In general, liquid oxygen is not magnetic, but when an external magnetic field is introduced, the dipole moments give the material a net magnetic field.


  • Metal bucket
  • 2 table clamps
  • 3 rods
  • 1 c clamp
  • 2 ring stand clamps
  • 2 Styrofoam cups
  • Styrofoam blocks
  • Neodymium magnet
  • Tongs

Setup Procedure:

  1. Set up the ring stand configuration shown in the above pictures
  2. Hang the metal bucket from the center rod with the c clamp
  3. Fill the metal bucket with liquid nitrogen and position the Styrofoam block and cup below the lowest point on the bucket
  4. Wait for the liquid nitrogen to evaporate as the liquid oxygen collects in the Styrofoam cup
  5. Once the nitrogen has fully evaporated, move the cup and brick from under the bucket

Demonstration Procedure:

  1. Using cold protective gloves grab the magnet with the tongs
  2. Lower the magnet into the liquid oxygen cup
  3. Raise the magnet from the cup to show how the liquid oxygen sticks to the magnet, due to its paramagnetic property
  4. Let the liquid oxygen evaporate from the magnet and place the magnet back on the table
  5. Once the demonstration is complete leave the liquid oxygen in a safe place to evaporate

Note: Liquid oxygen is a dangerous substance, it should be made only in small quantities and handled with care. The liquid nitrogen used is extremely cold and should be used with caution.