Effect of Magnetic Field on Current Carrying Wire

Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes

What is a Magnet?

Magnet is a device/object that produces an external magnetic field. It applies force over other magnets, charges, electrical current, and magnetic material. There are several types of magnets. Permanent magnets are the ones which do not lose their magnetism. The majority of the magnets you see are man-made around you. Since they were not initially magnetic, they have lost their magnetic properties over time. For example, dropping them weakens their magnetism. Most of the man-made magnets were originally non-magnetic, and so they lose their magnetic character with time. 

What is a Magnetic Field?

The magnetic field is an invisible field around a magnet or magnetic object, in which magnetic force is exerted. The invisible area around a magnetic object can pull up another magnetic object or push away another magnetic object. Moving electric charge generates magnetic fields. A magnetic field can be produced when electrons, which have a negative charge, move about in some certain direction. Magnetic fields can be represented by the continuous line of forces that emerge from the north pole of the magnet and enter into the south pole of the magnet and vice-versa inside the magnet. The density of the lines shows the magnitude of the magnetic field at any point.  

Mathematically, the magnetic field can be defined in terms of the amount of force exerted on a moving charge in a magnetic field. This force can be measured with the help of Lorentz Force law, 

F = qvB


F-Force exerted on the moving charge

q-the amount of charge

v-velocity of the moving charge

B-Magnitude of the magnetic field

Here, this relationship is a vector product, and the force is perpendicular to all other values.

Effect of Magnetic Field on a Current-Carrying Wire

Electric energy is transmitted by the current, which is basically the flow of the electrons, which are the sub-particles of the atom and are negatively charged. This movement of electrons from one location to another power our lights, computers, appliances, and many other things. Another fascinating fact about electric current is that it produces its own magnetic field.  Magnetism and electricity have a close relation in that all closed-loop currents generate their own magnetic fields, and magnetic fields acting on closed-loop circuits may produce current. The magnetic effect of electric current was discovered by Oersted.

Experiment: How Magnetic Field Affects Current-Carrying Wire?


  • Strong horseshoe magnet 

  • Wire stripper 

  • Long insulated wire

  • Electrical tape 

  • D battery 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]


  • Remove 1 inch of insulation of the wire from each side.

  • Place the horseshoe magnet onto a flat surface on its side.

  • Using a tiny piece of electrical tape to tape the metal portion of one end of the wire through the battery's negative terminal.

  • Move the horseshoe magnet wire between the legs.

  • Holding the insulated portion of the wire, connect the wire's open end to the positive battery terminal. What direction is the movement of the electric current? Why do you have to maintain wire insulation instead of metal? List your findings.

  • Flip over the magnet and repeat the procedure. How, if anything, will change? Document your thoughts.


The wire would bend away from the magnet's poles.

Why this Happens

As we know, electric currents always produce their own magnetic fields. The behavior and the direction of the current can always be described by the right-hand rule. Simply point your thumb towards the direction of current flow, and curl your fingers around the wire, the direction of the curl fingers will give the direction of the magnetic field as shown below in the figure. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

That means you also change the direction of the magnetic field when you change the direction of the current. Magnets have two poles, South and North, like the horseshoe magnet used in this exercise. The term 'attracting opposites' refers to magnets; thus, interactions between north and south hold together, and interactions between north and north and south and south repel or move away from each other. 

Fun Facts

  • The north pole and south pole of a magnet cannot be separated. Cutting one magnet in half makes two magnets, with two poles each.

  • Earth’s magnetic field is around 1,000 times weaker than the typical bar magnet.

  • Cranes use huge electromagnets to pick up scrap metal in junkyards.

  • Electromagnets use electricity to generate their magnetic power. When the electricity is turned on and off, the magnetic power can be turned on and off.

  • If you attach a bar magnet to a piece of wood and place it in a water bath, it will gradually turn into the water until the North Pole of the magnet points towards the North Pole of our planet. Temporary magnets are used to do the same.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why and When Does a Current-carrying Conductor Retain Force in a Magnetic Field? List the Factors Depending on Which Direction this Force is Taking?

Ans. Drifting of the conductor’s free electron in a definite direction causes the flow of current through the conductor. If such conductor is put in a uniform magnetic field, then each drifted electron of the conductor will experience a magnetic force. A conductor as a whole feels this intensity collectively. Thus a current-carrying conductor experiences a force in a magnetic field. The magnetic force direction depends on the

  • Current direction through the conductor

  • Magnetic field direction

2. What Constitutes the Field of a Magnet?

Ans. Magnetic Field is an area where one feels the magnetic influence. These are the magnetic lines of force flowing from the north pole of the magnet to the south pole externally and vice versa internally. In idealistic cases, these lines of force extend to infinity (when there is no damping force) but are usually dampened due to interference with other field effects. The magnetic properties of the various materials arise because each material has a particular conductivity and internal atom alignment capability. That atom itself has charges moving through it. This triggers the atom's magnetic moment.