# Magnetism and Electricity

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1 Magnetism and Electricity Way back in the first lesson of this magnetism block, we talked about the fact that magnetic fields are caused by electrons moving in the same direction. Up to this point, we ve been focusing on magnetism being caused by an unequal number of electrons spinning in the same direction in an atom. If an atom has more electrons spinning in one direction than in the other direction, that atom will have a magnetic field. When bunches of these atoms get together, we have a permanent magnet. In this lesson, we re going to talk about what happens if we force electrons to move. Give this a try to start out with. Experiment 1 Electromagnet Be careful here! You will basically be creating a short circuit, which means it may get hot!! If it gets hot, disconnect one end of the wire from the battery immediately! It is possible to burn yourself so be careful please! You need: 9 volt battery A nail that can be picked up by a magnet At least 3 feet of insulated wire (magnet wire works best but others will work okay) Paper Clips Magnetism and Electricity 1

2 Masking Tape Compass 1. Take your wire and remove about an inch of insulation from both ends. 2. Wrap your wire many, many times around the nail. The more times you wrap the wire, the stronger the electromagnet will be. Be sure to always wrap in the same direction. If you start wrapping clockwise, for example, be sure to keep wrapping clockwise. 3. Now connect one end of your wire to one terminal of the battery. 4. Lastly, connect the other end of the wire to the other terminal of the battery. This is where the wire may begin to heat up, so be careful. 5. Move your compass around your electromagnet. Does it effect the compass? 6. See if your electromagnet can pick up paper clips. 7. Switch the wires from one terminal of the battery to the other. Electricity is now moving in the opposite direction from the direction it was moving in before. Try the compass again. Do you see a change in which end of the nail the north side of the compass points to? What happened there? By hooking that coil of wire up to the battery, you created an electromagnet. Remember, that moving electrons causes a magnetic field. Well, by connecting the two ends of your wire up to the battery, you caused the electrons in the wire to move through the wire in one direction. Since many electrons are moving in one direction, you get a magnetic field! The nail helps to focus the field and strengthen it. In fact, if you could see the atoms inside the nail, you would be able to see them turn to align themselves with the magnetic field created by the electrons moving through the wire. You might want to test the nail by itself now that you ve done the experiment. You may have caused it to become a permanent magnet! Let s try this again, a slightly different way. Magnetism and Electricity 2

3 Experiment 2 Making a Galvanometer You need: At least 2 feet of wire (you can reuse the wire from Experiment 1 if you wish) Compass 9 volt battery 1. Remove the insulation from about an inch of each end of the wire. 2. Wrap the wire at least times around the compass. 3. Connect one end of the wire to the battery. 4. While looking at the compass, repeatedly tap the other end of the wire to the battery. You should see the compass react to the tapping. 5. Switch the wires from one terminal of the battery to the other. Now tap again. Do you see a difference in the way the compass moves? You just made a simple galvanometer. Oh boy, that s great! Hey Bob, take a look! I just made a...a what?!? I thought you might ask that question. A galvanometer is a device that is used to find and measure electric current. But, it made a compass needle move...isn t that a magnetic field, not electricity? Ah, yes, but hold on a minute. What is electric current...moving electrons. What do moving electrons create...a magnetic field! By the galvanometer detecting a change in the magnetic field, it is actually measuring electrical current! So, now that you ve made one let s use it! Magnetism and Electricity 3

6 In a Nutshell Magnetism is caused by moving electrons. Electricity is moving electrons. Electricity causes magnetism. Moving magnetic fields can cause electrons to move. Electricity can be caused by a moving magnetic fields. Magnetism and Electricity 6

7 Did You Get It 1. What causes magnetism? 2. Why did the nail become a magnet when we wrapped the wire around it and connected it to a battery? 3. Why did the compass move in the galvanometer? 4. Why does the compass move when you move the magnet in and out of the connected coil of wire? Magnetism and Electricity 7

8 Answers 1. Moving electrons. 2. Hooking the wire up to the battery forced electrons to move through the wire. Since so many electrons were moving in the same direction, it caused a noticeable magnetic field. The nail focused the field, since the atoms in the nail aligned themselves to the magnetic field created by the moving electrons in the coil of wire. 3. The compass is reacting the the magnetic field that is created by the electricity flowing in the wire. 4. The moving magnetic field forces the electrons in the wire to move. These moving electrons are an electric current. Since electrons are moving, we have a magnetic field as well. The magnetic field causes the compass to move. Electricity causes magnetism and moving magnetism causes electricity! Magnetism and Electricity 8

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