What is an Electromagnet?

Magnet is considered cool as all kinds of fun experiments can be done with their help, but the usefulness of magnet is limited. The magnet always attracts, which is sometimes needed like in a fridge. However, the usage of electromagnets changes that, and the application becomes endless.

A magnet that is created by using the electric current created by electricity is known as the electromagnet. Similarly, an electromagnet can be turned on or off to electricity. Accordingly, its strength can be increased or decreased by strengthening or diminishing the current.

A simple electromagnet can be created with the help of a coil of wire wrapped around an iron core. A core of ferromagnetic material like iron, which serves to increase the magnetic field created. The amount of current through the winding is proportional to the amount of magnetic field generated.

The magnetic field is produced by the coil of wire, also known as a solenoid. The above drawing shows the cross-section through the center of the coil. The crosses are the wires through which the current moves into the page. Here the dots are the wires through which current is moving up out of the diagram.

Electromagnet Definition

The magnetic field, produced with the flow of an electric current in a magnet, is known as the electromagnet. 

It usually consists of a wire wound in a coil, and the current through the wire creates the magnetic field, which is concentrated in the hole, representing the center of the coil. As soon as the current turns off, the magnetic field disappears. The magnetic core around the coil of wire is made of ferromagnetic or ferromagnetic material; for example, iron. The magnetic core strengthens the magnetic flux and makes more powerful magnets.

An electromagnet functions because an electric current generates a magnetic field and the magnetic field generated by an electric current forms circle around the electric current, as shown in the diagram below.

An electromagnet functions because an electric current generates a magnetic field. The magnetic field produced by electric current forms circles around the electric current, as shown in the diagram below:

The primary advantage of an electromagnet over a permanent magnet is that the magnetic field's strength can be monitored by controlling the amount of electricity in the winding. However, compared to a permanent magnet that does not need any power, electromagnet requires a constant supply of current to provide the magnetic field.

How is an Electromagnet Made?

When charges like protons and electrons are stationary, electric forces are created like an attractive or repulsive force between the charged particle. When they move, they produce magnetic forces either a repulsive or attractive force between the charged particles due to the motion. Within a magnet, a lot of particles are moving and generate the magnetic field for the magnet.

Electromagnets generally made from a wire; a wire curled into a series of turns. Strengthens and concentrates the magnetic field more than a single stretch of wire. The wire turns are coiled around an ordinary magnet. Since it is made of ferromagnetic material like iron, it makes the electromagnet more powerful.

The Electromagnet Can Be Made Sturdier By Doing the Following Things.

  • Draping the coil around a piece of iron (such as an iron nail)

  • Increasing the number of turns to the coil

  • Increasing the current flowing through the coil

Due to the resistance of the wire, causing heat, there is a limitation to the quantity of current to pass safely through the wire.

This knowledge of magnetism work is essential because it gives us the ability to create electromagnets. The flow of electrons through a circuit is known as electricity, so an electrical wire produces a magnetic field just like a magnet.

How Electromagnet Works?

To describe how can this principle be utilized to make an electromagnet, consider the below working in brief.

When the electric current passes through a straight wire, it creates a magnetic current all around it. We can create a magnetic field intensity by winding copper wire in a certain direction. If we want to further increase the intensity, we should do multiple windings of the copper wire. However, we need to pay attention as not to wind it in the opposite direction since this will cancel the effect of previous winding. We should do a straight line of one winding direction to another; starting from the end of the winding to multiple windings.

Inside the iron material, each atom acts as a natural magnet since they are in random orientation, the effect of the tiny magnet cancels each other. However, when iron is coiled inside the copper wire winding, the entire tiny magnet inside the winding core will align itself in the direction of the magnetic field. Hence the effect of the electromagnet will be much stronger.

The strength of the magnetic field is also affected by the magnitude of the current passing through it to a saturation point where there is no atom/ion left in the core not aligned with the magnetic field. Also by stopping current flow through an electromagnet, we can remove the magnetism effect on the core and in the wires.

The biggest advantage of the electromagnet is that they can be polarized and changed just by reversing the poles' directions. This gives us the biggest pros while building electric generators or motors. The priority of an electromagnet can be identified here.

We use the right-hand rule to do that. When we grip the ball with the right-hand thumb, the four fingers holding the flow will show the direction of current and the thumb shows magnetic north. If we change the direction of the flow, the gripping of the right-hand rule will be as shown.

Notice that the four fingers will also show the direction in this position and magnetism south becomes magnetic north. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1.      What are the Types of Electromagnets?

There are three types of the electromagnet, namely the superconductors, the robust, and the hybrids. Resistant: With the help of copper wires, a resistive magnet produces the magnetic field, allowing the passage of electricity through the wire, and the electrons produce a weak magnetic field.

2.      How is an Electromagnet Distinguished from a Permanent Magnet?

The main difference between electromagnets and a permanent magnet is that electromagnet has a magnetic attraction towards other metallic objects when a current flows through it. It has many advantages as the power of the magnetic attraction can be controlled by controlling the current flow. Due to this reason, it is widely used in research and industry, where the magnetic attraction is required.

Further, electromagnets have some advantages over permanent magnets. For example:

  • They can be turned off and on at will.

  • The strength of the magnetic field can be controlled

These properties make electromagnets useful for collecting up scrap steel and iron in scrapyards.