Episode 410: Preparation for electromagnetism topic

rawfrogpondUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (4 years and 6 months ago)



Episode 410: Preparation for electromagnetism topic

This topic develops a formal description of magnetic fields and moves on to electromagnetic
forces and induction.

The scheme described follows a fairly standard approach that is similar to the order in wh
ich the
topics appear in most exam specifications. The three main electrical machines, motor, generator
and transformer, are covered at the end so that all the relevant physics will have been covered
before they are discussed. It would be possible to intro
duce motors after Episode 412 but there
would be problems in discussing back emf and eddy currents at this stage. Transformers can be
used as a way of introducing the ideas of Episode 415.

An alternative approach might be to introduce the idea of flux via

the transformer and generator,
offering a different way of thinking.

Episode 411:
Describing magnetic fields

Episode 412:
Force on a conductor in a m
agnetic field

Episode 413:
Force on a charged particle (F = Bqv)

Episode 414:
Electromagnetic induction, flux and flux linkage

Episode 415:
Electric motors

Episode 416:
Generators and transformers

Looking ahead

Magnetic fields will have to be shown; iron filings are a standard way
to do this, but you ma
y also find a magnaprobe useful

this is a small
magnet mounted in a universal joint so that it pivots freely in three dimensions. Fields will also
have to be measured both for permanent magnets and with simple geometries of wires and coils.
A Hall probe
, especially one that is calibrated, is helpful but search coils can also be used; the
latter will need a mains supply that can produce a current of a few amperes and/or a signal

Some form of electron beam tube (‘Teltron tube’) is helpful in Epi
sode 413 but an old black and
white TV or oscilloscope plus a magnet can show the deflection of charged particles.

One or more sets of 120/240 turn coils and C
cores are useful when discussing flux while
physically larger coils can help to develop ideas. I
f C
cores are not available, then retort stands
(uprights) can be used for some work but the magnetic circuits will not be as good. A
demountable transformer is great for some spectacular demonstrations.

'Westminster motor kits' can show both motor and dyn
amo principles but there are many cheap
motors available which will also operate as dynamos when turned by hand or attached to a falling

Main aims

Students will:

Describe the magnetic fields of permanent magnets and current
carrying conductors usi
ng lines
of flux.

Use the terms

flux density

in connection with magnetic fields.

Determine the force (magnitude and direction) on a current
carrying conductor in a magnetic field.


Explain the operation of a simple electric motor.

Determine the ind
uced current or emf (magnitude and direction) when there is relative motion
between a conductor and a magnetic field.

Explain the operation of a simple generator and a transformer.

Prior knowledge

tudents should have met ideas relating to permanent mag
nets, the magnetic field due to a
current, and motors. They will probably have done some electromagnetic induction, probably
including transformers but their ideas in this area are likely to be much

There are links to be made with other fields. It
is helpful, but not essential, if both electric and
gravitational fields have been studied. When considering the force on charged particles, particle
accelerators etc., students will need to be familiar with the equations governing circular motion.

this leads

An understanding of the motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields is vital when
studying particle physics.

You may wish to touch on the relationship between electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic
radiation (and the work of
James Clerk Maxwell), but this idea is rather tenuous for students at
this level.

Electromagnetic theory is one of the cornerstones of physics, and a grasp of these ideas is
fundamental for students who are going on to future studies of physics, chemistry
or engineering.