The Levitating Magnetic Toy


A toy illustrates the "magical" levitation of a spindle. The levitation arises because of magnetic pressure, and the animation shows first the levitation and then reveals the inner workings of the toy that produces the levitation. The base of the toy holds four magnets with the polarities shown and the spindle holds two (green indicates the north pole of the magnets, and red the south pole). The magnets in the spindle are a little forward of the magnets in the base, resulting in a push on the spindle which is upwards and to the front. A shield at the front of the base keeps the spindle from moving in that direction, and is necessary for the stability of the system. The spindle is set in motion with a gentle spin from your fingers.