A sample of pyrite and quartz from the USGS. A new study says a team of scientists found a way to make "fool's gold" magnetic.

SCIENCE & TECH:
‘ Fool’s gold’ might really be important in this method, scientists discover

Scientists at the University of Minnesota have actually discovered a method to make “fool’s gold” more appealing.

They made it magnetic, according to a brand-new research study.

“Most people knowledgeable in magnetism would probably say it was impossible to electrically transform a non-magnetic material into a magnetic one,” Chris Leighton, the lead scientist on the research study, stated in a university declaration. “When we looked a little deeper, however, we saw a potential route, and made it happen.”

A sample of pyrite and quartz from the USGS. A brand-new research study states a group of researchers discovered a method to make “fool’s gold” magnetic.
( Carlin Green, USGS. Public domain.)

RESEARCHERS MAKE BRAND-NEW DISCOVERY UTILIZING 19 TH-CENTURY PHYSICIST’S THEORIES

The research study appeared Wednesday in the peer-reviewed Science Advances journal.


“Fool’s gold,” an economical compound likewise called pyrite, is frequently discovered in quartz veins and is utilized mainly to produce sulfuric acid for commercial applications, according to the U.S. Geological Study.

The University of Minnesota group had actually independently been looking into methods to attempt and make brand-new sort of photovoltaic panels out of sulfur and iron sulfide products, Leighton stated. And they had actually started checking out methods to utilize electrical voltages to manage magnetism.

Courtesy University of Minnestoa Golden background. Gold nugget. Backdrop for the project. Macro

Courtesy University of Minnestoa Golden background. Gold nugget. Background for the job. Macro.

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“At some point, we realized we should be combining these two research directions, and it paid off,” he stated.

The outcome is the very first time that researchers have actually had the ability to take a non-magnetic product and make it magnetic, according to the university.

They utilized a procedure called “electrolyte gating”– utilizing an electrolyte-rich option, “comparable to Gatorade,” and little applications of electrical volts to move particles and make the compound magnetic.

“We were pretty surprised it worked,” Leighton stated.


“By applying the voltage, we essentially pour electrons into the material,” he discussed. “It turns out that if you get high enough concentrations of electrons, the material wants to spontaneously become ferromagnetic (potential magnets), which we were able to understand with theory.”

And the method might have a lot more applications.

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“This has lots of potential,” Leighton stated. “Having done it with iron sulfide, we guess we can do it with other materials as well.”

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