# 10.2 Electromagnets. What is an electromagnet? Chapter 10

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2 Applications of s Current controls an Magnetically levitated trains How does a toaster work? How does an electric doorbell work? By changing the amount of current, you can easily change the strength of an or even turn its magnetism on and off. Electromagnets can also be much stronger than permanent magnets because the electric current can be large. For these reasons, s are used in many applications. Magnetically levitated (abbreviated to maglev) train technology uses ic force to lift a train a few inches above its track (figure 10.10). By floating the train on a powerful magnetic field, the friction between wheels and rails is eliminated. Maglev trains achieve high speeds using less power than a normal train. In 1999, in Japan, a prototype five-car maglev train carrying 15 passengers reached a world-record speed of 552 kilometers (343 miles) per hour. Maglev trains are now being developed and tested in Germany, Japan, and the United States. The sliding switch on a toaster does several things: First, it turns the heating circuit on. Secondly, it activates an that then attracts a springloaded metal tray to the bottom of the toaster. When a timing device signals that the bread has been toasting long enough, current to the is cut off. This releases the spring-loaded tray, which then pushes up on the bread so that it pops out of the toaster. A doorbell contains an. When the button of the bell is pushed, it sends current through the. The attracts a piece of metal called the striker. The striker moves toward the but hits a bell that is in the way. The movement of the striker away from the contact also breaks the circuit after it hits the bell. A spring pulls the striker back and reconnects the circuit. If your finger is still on the button, the cycle starts over again and the bell keeps ringing. Figure 10.10: A maglev train track has s in it that both lift the train and pull it forward. Figure 10.11: A toaster tray is pulled down by an while bread is toasting. When the toast is done, current is cut off and the tray pops up. The cutaway shows the heating element: nichrome wires wrapped around a sheet of mica. 161

4 The relationship between permanent magnets and s Electric currents cause all magnetism Electrons move, creating small loops of current Why do permanent magnets and s act the same way? The discovery of s helped scientists to determine why magnetism exists. Electric current through loops of wire creates an. Atomic-scale electric currents create a permanent magnet. Remember, atoms contain two types of charged particles, protons (positive) and electrons (negative). The charged electrons in atoms behave like small loops of current. These small loops of current mean that atoms themselves act like tiny s with north and south poles! We don t usually see the magnetism from atoms for two reasons. 1 Atoms are very tiny and the magnetism from a single atom is far too small to detect without very sensitive instruments. 2 The alignment of the atomic north and south poles changes from one atom to the next. On average, the atomic magnets cancel each other out (figure 10.14). How permanent magnets work Why iron always attracts magnets and never repels them Nonmagnetic materials If all the atomic magnets are lined up in a similar direction, the magnetism of each atom adds to that of its neighbors and we observe magnetic properties on a large scale. This is what makes a permanent magnet. On average, permanent magnets have the magnetic fields of individual atoms aligned in a similar direction. In magnetic materials (like iron), the atoms are free to rotate and align their individual north and south poles. If you bring the north pole of a magnet near iron, the south poles of all the iron atoms are attracted. Because they are free to move, the iron near your magnet becomes a south pole and it attracts your magnet. If you bring a south pole near iron, the opposite happens. The iron atoms nearest your magnet align themselves to make a north pole, which also attracts your magnet. This is why magnetic materials like iron always attract your magnet, and never repel it, regardless of whether your test magnet approaches with its north or south pole. The atoms in nonmagnetic materials, like plastic, are not free to move and change their magnetic orientation. That is why most objects are not affected by magnets. Figure 10.14: Atoms act like tiny magnets. Permanent magnets have their atoms partially aligned, creating the magnetic forces we observe. The magnetic properties of iron occur because iron atoms can easily adjust their orientation in response to an outside magnetic field. 163

5 Electromagnetic force and ic induction What is ic force? What is ic induction? Both electrical force and magnetic force exist between electric charges. Scientists now think both forces are two aspects of one force, called the ic force. The word ic is often used to describe events or processes that involve both electrical and magnetic forces. Many laws in physics display an elegant kind of symmetry. This symmetry is seen in the interactions between magnetism and electricity. A current through a wire creates a magnet. The reverse is also true: if you move a magnet through a coil of wire, then electric current is created. This process is called ic induction (figure 10.15) because a moving magnet induces electric current to flow. Figure 10.15: Electromagnetic induction: Moving a magnet in loops of wire generates current in the wire. Moving magnets make current flow 164 Induction and energy transformations When a magnet moves into a coil of wire, it induces electric current to flow in the coil (diagram above). The current stops if the magnet stops moving. If you pull the magnet back out again, the current flows in the opposite direction. Electromagnetic induction is how we transform mechanical energy (moving magnets) into electrical energy. Any machine that causes magnets to move past coils of wire will generate electric currents. The same principle works for giant electric power plants and also for the tiny sensors on computer disk drives. Computers read data on a magnetic disk by looking at the pulses of current that are generated as a high-speed disk spins past the coil of wire in the drive s sensor head (figure 10.16). Figure 10.16: A computer hard drive uses induction to read data from the magnetic writing on a spinning disk.

6 Generating electric power What is a generator? Batteries are not powerful enough How a generator works Generators make alternating current Energy is conserved Power plants use ic induction to create electricity. A generator is a combination of mechanical and electrical systems that converts kinetic energy into electrical energy (figure 10.17). Although batteries can convert energy from chemical reactions into electrical energy, batteries are not practical for creating large amounts of electric current. Power plants, which supply current to homes and businesses, use generators. As an example of how the electricity is made, consider a disk with magnets in it (figure 10.18). As the disk rotates, first a north pole and then a south pole passes the coil. When the north pole is approaching, the current flows one way. When the north pole passes and a south pole approaches, the current flows the other way. As long as the disk is spinning, there is a changing magnetic field near the coil and electric current is induced to flow. Because the magnetic field alternates from north to south as the disk spins, generators produce alternating current (AC). Remember, in the last chapter we learned that alternating current is used in the electrical system in your home and school. The electrical energy created from a generator isn t free. You have to do work to turn the disk and make the electric current flow. Power plants contain a rotating machine called a turbine. The turbine is kept turning by a flow of air heated by gas, oil, coal, or nuclear energy. One kind of energy is transformed into another and energy is conserved. The energy stored in the gas, oil, coal, or nuclear fuel is transformed into the movement of the turning turbine, which is then transformed into electrical energy. Figure 10.17: A power plant generator contains a turbine that turns magnets inside loops of wire, generating electricity. Figure 10.18: How a generator works. 165

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