Q: I am interested in magnets that will repel each other in order to make one magnet float. Is this easy?
Arranging magnets to create the perfect environment where the repelling field between two magnets gives the appearance of one magnet “floating” or appearing to defy gravitational forces, is difficult.
The repelling force between like poles decreases as the distance between each magnet widens and at some point, the magnets will no longer interact. In order to suspend the magnet or make it hover, some guiding rails or some kind of physical restraint will be needed to hold the magnet in the precise position. With the repelling forces contained to some degree, the effects of gravity and the weight of the magnet you choose may allow the magnet to hover momentarily. In most cases, however, the repelling forces will push the magnet away from the field area and gravity will take over. The arrangement of multiple magnets that are positioned at equal intervals in a ring shape is often an easier way to produce a more even and equalised repelling field.
Creating levitational forces from the repelling nature of the same pole magnets is a highly technical challenge. Many physical factors and mathematical calculations need to be taken into account in order to successfully reproduce the phenomenon. In most magnetic levitation applications, at least one of the poles is created with an electromagnet. Controlling the power supply to the electromagnet makes the field strength adjustable and better suited to practical everyday applications eg. Japanese Maglev fast trains.