The development of Electromagnets
Oct 20 , 2021

A Brief Introduction to Electromagnets

History of Electromagnets
Initially, scientists did not believe there was a connection between electricity and magnetism. However, in the 19th century, new research demonstrated the relationship between the two forces. Afterward, scientists began looking for ways to test, measure, and recreate electromagnetic fields. Ultimately, this led to the development of electromagnets, which have since become a key component in electronic devices and systems.

What Are Electromagnets?

guide to electromagnets
An electromagnet is a device that creates a magnetic field when electricity is running through it. Similar to a permanent magnet, it has a north pole and a south pole, both of which repel like poles and attract dissimilar poles. Unlike a permanent magnet, it may or may not demonstrate these magnetic properties depending on whether electric current is flowing. If the current is flowing, the magnetic field exists. If the current is not flowing, the magnetic field does not exist. This characteristic enables users to turn the magnet on and off as needed.

Key Components of Electromagnets
In its most basic form, an electromagnet consists of a single loop of conductive material with a connected power source. The power source applies a current to the loop. As the electrical charges move through the material, it induces a magnetic field.

In practical applications, multiple loops are stacked to increase the strength of the magnetic field. Typically, the loops are formed as a coil, with each loop in the coil increasing the strength of the magnetic field by a specific amount. In these electromagnet setups, the magnetic field exhibits the greatest strength and uniformity within the coil and diminishes in strength and uniformity with greater distance from the coil. The addition of a ferromagnetic core further increases magnetic field strength inside the coil and decreases the magnetic field strength outside the coil.

Applications of Electromagnets
Today, electromagnets find application in a wide range of electronic devices and systems. They are used for small-scale electronic devices, large-scale industrial machinery, and sensitive scientific and medical instruments. Typical uses include:
Dot matrix printers
Earphones and headphones
Fuel injectors
Hard disk drives
Maglev trains
Magnetic lifters
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines
Mass spectrometers
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers
Particle accelerators
Pinball machines
Power transformers
Tape recorders

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