Old magnets can lose magnetic attraction over time. If you have one that doesn’t work as well as it used to, it’s because property has deteriorated for some reason. This holds especially true for older magnets, which have less retentive ability than your Bucky balls set. The former can lose their power if you do one of the following things:
- Store them incorrectly
- Drop them
- Repel with other magnets
How Magnets Actually Work
If you had this down right, you wouldn’t need to read the post. Here is a quick recap: every magnet has two poles. These are at opposite ends, and the two places are where it is strongest. This is why a bar magnet is weak in the middle. A pole attracts its opposite, which is why unlike poles attract each other. The inverse is true as well, so like poles repel each other.
What you have to do first is find the poles of the magnet; then find out which is north. It is easier if that is marked, but if not, stack an even number of magnets. Dangle these on a string and let them rotate freely.
The pole that faces northward is the north pole of the magnet. This is against the idea that likes repel, but the north pole of the magnet is actually called that in place of north-seeking pole. Get a compass, and the needle will show you which way is north.
Assuming it is not of the horseshoe type, the method to re-magnetize is pretty simple. Grab the old magnet, and a strong new one – something made of neodymium like your Bucky balls magnets are. Stroke the strong magnet along one side of the old magnet.
Now do the same along the other side. This will re-magnetize the old magnet, and it will be able to attract metals more strongly. It may not return to peak strength, but that is to be expected.
Your Bucky balls setmay not be enough for restoring the attraction in a large magnet, especially since they are a bunch of magnets and not just one. They are good as fridge magnets though, as long as you take care to hang them beyond the reach of children and pets.
You need to follow the same rule when placing them on a desk or shelf. Bucky balls are good to play around with because they are so small, but in young hands, this makes them a choke hazard.