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A Flaky Experiment

Magnet can measure iron in your cereal

(HealthDayNews) -- Are there different amounts of iron in different breakfast cereals? You can find out by using a strong magnet and a good scale.

The iron in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals is sprayed on the outside of cereal flakes. If it's drawn away from the cereal with a magnet, you can weigh samples and compare different products.

You'll need a fairly sensitive laboratory scale for this procedure; a bathroom scale won't cut it!

Here's what to do:

  • Crush a half cup of cereal in a baggie, until the flakes are half their original size. Pour into a bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of hot water and mix with a wooden spoon.
  • Get a strong, 3-inch bar magnet that is not grey or black (so the iron filings will show up). Don't use a horseshoe magnet.
  • Put the magnet into the cereal mix and stir gently in a circle for a fixed amount of time, say 5 minutes. Try not to bump the bottom or sides of the bowl.
  • Take out the magnet. Remove the iron filings that it pulled from the cereal, and weigh them on the laboratory scale.
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