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This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2007) Tube of iron filings Iron filings are very small pieces of iron that look like a light powder. They are very often used in science demonstrations to show the direction of a magnetic field. Since iron is a ferromagnetic material, a magnetic field induces each particle to become a tiny bar magnet. The south pole of each particle then attracts the north poles of its neighbors, and this process repeated over a wide area creates chains of filings parallel to the direction of the magnetic field. Iron Filings are used in many places including schools where they test the reaction of the filings to magnets. History Main article: History of ferrous metallurgy Filings are mostly a byproduct of the grinding, filing, or milling of finished iron products, so their history largely tracks the development of iron. For the most part, they have been a waste product. Iron filings have some utility as a component in primitive gunpowders. In such a fine powdered form, iron can burn, due to its increased surface area. In modern electronics, some transformers have iron powder cores. Uses Iron filings showing the direction of the magnetic field of a permanent magnet The primary use of iron filings is in the study and teaching of magnetism and electromagnetic fields. The substance makes impressive demonstrations when sprinkled on a white card placed on top of a permanent magnet. The filings are also found in toys that allow one to draw with a magnetic pen. Additionally, by sprinkling fine iron on a magnetic stripe card, it is possible to see the magnetic encoding on the stripe. Another demonstration is to pour onto the exposed platter of a hard drive a semi-viscous fluid in which iron filings are suspended, so that the patterns of bits on the platter are revealed by the alignment of the iron filings.[citation needed] This chemistry-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. v • d • e