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Magnetic Field

Electric current produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field can be visualized as a
pattern of circular field lines surrounding a wire. One way to explore the direction of a
magnetic field is with a compass, as shown by a long straight current-carrying wire in.
Hall probes can determine the magnitude of the field. Another version of the right hand
rule emerges from this exploration and is valid for any current segmentpoint the
thumb in the direction of the current, and the fingers curl in the direction of the magnetic
field loops created by it.

Electromagnets The archetype electromagnet is the crane-operated model

that picks up automobiles and scrap metal by the ton. This model demonstrates
one of the desirable features of the electromagnetit becomes a magnet or not a
magnet at the flip of a switch. The electric current running around an iron core
aligns the iron atoms to make the iron core a magnet. The singer sings, a
matching electric current is generated, the electromagnet receives a rhythmic
input and the paper cone vibrates to reproduce the singers voice.
Motors Motors use magnetic fields to rotate a shaft. As the electric current
going to the motor variesall generated currents do, it causes the rising and
falling magnetic fields to push the core of the motor around. Motors are
ubiquitousat least a dozen are in your car, there is one in every appliance, there
is one in your computer to turn the hard drive, and there is one in the automatic
door at the supermarket.

Magnetic Levitation Magnetic levitation, or Maglev, applies a property of disk

drives to electric trains. If a train can ride just above the rail, on a magnet field,
there will be very little friction and it will be easy to move the train. Naturally, the
train could then run very fast. This is how the Japanese bullet trainShinkansen
works. Because the trains are powered through the rails, it is easy to build the
rails in blocks that allow only one train at a time to be on a block.

Information Storage When a tiny electromagnet is moving over an area on a

magnetic data storage medium, it will leave a magnetized spot if the
electromagnet is turned on and no magnetized spot if the electromagnet is turned
off. Later a loop of wire is rapidly moved past the spot and the field from the
magnetized spot will induce a tiny electric current. In this way information is read
and recorded.

Magnitude of Magnetic Field from Current

The equation for the magnetic field strength (magnitude) produced by a long straight
current-carrying wire is:

[latex]\text{B}=\frac{\mu _{0}\text{I}}{2\pi \text{r}}[/latex]

For a long straight wire where I is the current, r is the shortest distance to the wire, and
the constant 0=4107 Tm/A is the permeability of free space. (0 is one of the basic
constants in nature, related to the speed of light. ) Since the wire is very long, the
magnitude of the field depends only on distance from the wire r, not on position along
the wire. This is one of the simplest cases to calculate the magnetic field strenght from a
The magnetic field of a long straight wire has more implications than one might first
suspect. Each segment of current produces a magnetic field like that of a long straight
wire, and the total field of any shape current is the vector sum of the fields due to each
segment. The formal statement of the direction and magnitude of the field due to each
segment is called the Biot-Savart law. Integral calculus is needed to sum the field for an
arbitrary shape current. The Biot-Savart law is written in its complete form as:

[latex]\text{B}=\frac{\mu _{\text{o}}\text{I}}{4\pi}\int \frac{\text{d}\mathscr{\text{l}}\times


where the integral sums over the wire length where vector d is the direction of the
current; r is the distance between the location of d,and the location at which the
magnetic field is being calculated; and r is a unit vector in the direction of r. The reader
may apply the simplifications in calculating the magnetic field from an infinite straight
wire as above and see that the Biot-Savart law reduces to the first, simpler equation.

Magnetic effect of current

Applications and skills:
Determining the direction of force on a charge moving in a magnetic field
RHR for + charges
LHR for charges

Determining the direction of force on a current-carrying conductor in a

magnetic field
Determining the direction of the magnetic field based on current direction

Solving problems involving magnetic forces, fields, current and charges

Magnetic field patterns will be restricted to long straight conductors,
solenoids, and bar magnets
Data Booklet reference:
F = qvB sin
F = BIL sin
The F represents the magnetic force acting on a charge q moving at
a velocity v through a magnetic field B. The represents the angle between
the direction of the velocity and the direction of the magnetic field.
The I represents the current in a straight wire of length L, and
the represents the angle between the direction of the current and the
direction of the magnetic field. Both of these forces have
their direction given by the right hand rule.
The investigation of magnetism is one of the oldest studies by man and
was used extensively by voyagers in the Mediterranean and beyond
thousands of years ago
Theory of knowledge:
Field patterns provide a visualization of a complex phenomenon, essential
to an understanding of this topic. Why might it be useful to regard
knowledge in a similar way, using the metaphor of knowledge as a map a
simplified representation of reality?
Only comparatively recently has the magnetic compass been superseded
by different technologies after hundreds of years of our dependence on it
Modern medical scanners rely heavily on the strong, uniform magnetic
fields produced by devices that utilize superconductors
Particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN rely on
a variety of precise magnets for aligning the particle beams
Aim 2 and 9: visualizations frequently provide us with insights into the
action of magnetic fields, however the visualizations themselves have their
own limitations
Aim 7: computer-based simulations enable the visualization of electro-
magnetic fields in three-dimensional space