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Principal Applications of Electromagnet

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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What is Electromagnet?

We know that the flow of electric current can generate a magnetic field around it in a plane perpendicular to the direction of the flow of electric current. The electromagnets are the coil that is wrapped around the iron bar or rod. The electromagnets are the magnets that are created when the electric current is passed through it. These electromagnets have immense applications in everyday life and every industry. The electromagnets work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. 

Therefore, an electromagnet can be defined as a magnet that works with the help of electricity. But the electromagnets are not like permanent magnets, the strength of the electromagnets can be altered by repeated variation in the amount of electric current that flows through them. If the flow of electric current is disconnected, the property of magnetism will be lost, thus the effect of the electromagnets depends on the amount of electricity. In this article, we will discuss the principal applications of the electromagnet, electromagnet use, electromagnet application, etc…

Uses of Electromagnet:

What is an Electromagnet and How Does it Work?

Before we start with the uses of electromagnets or the principal applications of electromagnets let us have a look at the theory and the principle of electromagnets.  For a long time, people have entrusted the fact that both electricity and magnetism are two different things and can not be studied simultaneously. In the early 18th century many scientists and physicists started to investigate these phenomena and suspected that they were related to each other. As the advancements took place scientists gave the equations that related electricity and magnetism with a good agreement. 

While scientists were working on the relation between electricity and magnetism, a Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted is the first one who discovered the relation between electricity and magnetism, in 1820 he proved that electric currents create magnetic fields. Later, in the year 1824, British scientist William Sturgeon invented the electromagnets without violating the laws of physics.

So, now the question that arose was how does an electromagnet work? The electromagnets work on the principle of electromagnetic induction and the effect of an electric current producing a magnetic field. The magnetic field generated by an electric current appears to be forming circles around the electric current known as the magnetic field lines.

So the construction of electromagnets is very simple, it requires a coil and conducting bar, usually, we use iron as the support. If an electric coil or any wire carrying an electric current is formed into a series of loops (concentric loops), the concentration of the magnetic field can be varied within the loops, by altering it. The strength of the magnetic field generated can be strengthened by wrapping the wire up and around the core of the magnet. The atoms of magnetic materials behave like magnets, for example, iron, nickel, and cobalt, which appear to be behaving like tiny magnets. 

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When we vary the concentration of the magnetic field, suppose we increased the concentration of the magnetic field, the amount of electric current that is flowing around the core increases and as a result of the number of aligned atoms increases which further results in stronger a magnetic field Sooner or later, all of the atoms that are supposed to be aligned will be aligned. At this particular point when the atoms are aligned with each other, the magnet is said to be saturated, and it experiences an increasing electric current flowing around the core. This no longer affects the magnetization of the core itself.

The electromagnets are widely used in most industries, starting from the basic electrical industries to the medical field the electromagnets are used most frequently. Electromagnets are used for various purposes even in our day to day lives, which makes our living easy. For example, electromagnets are used in electric fans, cookers, etc. without these appliances, our lives would have been miserable. Let us have a look at few familiar uses of electromagnets and where are electromagnets used as listed below:

  • The electromagnets are used in the manufacture of electric bells.

  • Electromagnets are used in Headphones and loudspeakers.

  • The electromagnets are an important part of the data storage devices such as VCRs, tape recorders, hard discs, etc...

  • These days, the use of electromagnetism has been a gift in many ways. Especially, for domestic purposes, for example, the Induction cooker which we use in our day to day life works on the principle of electromagnetic induction and uses electromagnets as a crucial part.

  • Just like the electric bells, buzzers, these days even magnetic locks are available in the market that uses electromagnets.

  • The applications of electromagnets are wide, the electromagnets are even used in the medical field, for the MRI machines used to diagnose the patient.

  • When we are discussing the principal applications of electromagnets, we should not forget the Particle accelerators, even the particle accelerators use the electromagnets as their important part.

  • Even in the construction of the mass spectrometers, electromagnets are used.

These are the basic and essential uses of electromagnets that we come across in our day to day lives.

Application of Electromagnet:

We know that there are four fundamental forces available in nature and we study them as the basic forces in physics, and one of the four fundamental forces is the electromagnetic force. As the name itself suggests electromagnetic force is a combination of two forces i.e., the combination of electric forces, and magnetic forces. Let us discuss how these forces can contribute to the working of electromagnets.

The electric force and the magnetic force are very different from each other, but when they combine, as a result of a combination of electromagnetic forces. The electric force and the magnetic forces complement each other in every possible way and are used in many days to day applications.

The elementary particles protons and electrons are the main reason for these two forces to act together. When the electrons and protons are stationary (i.e., at rest), they produce electric forces, which can be either attractive or repulsive in nature depending upon the nature of the charged particles. But when electrons and protons are dynamic in nature (i.e., under motion), they produce magnetic forces which can be either a force of attraction or repulsion between the charged particles that are formed as a result of the motion of the charged Particles.

Now, let us have a look at the application of electromagnets. As we already know electromagnets are having huge applications in almost every field. But they play an important role in several fields of sciences in constructing a few types of equipment. A few important application of electromagnet and how are electromagnets used in the real world are as mentioned below:

The Electromagnets are More Often Used for Domestic Purposes for Many Home Appliances:

  • Most of the electric home appliances used for domestic purposes use electromagnetism as the basic working principle. 

  • A few electromagnets utilized in the household incorporate an electric fan, electric doorbell, induction cooker, magnetic locks, etc... 

  • In an electric fan (either it may be a standing fan or a ceiling fan), the principle of electromagnetic induction keeps the motor rotating without any break, as a result of the rotation of the motor the blades or the wings of the fan keeps rotating without any obstruction. Similarly, even in an electric doorbell when the button is pressed, as a result of the electromagnetic forces, the coil gets energized and the bell rings.

The Electromagnets are Even Used in the Medical Field:

  • The uses of electromagnets are also seen in the medical field. MRI scan which is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a device that uses electromagnets. 

  • The device can scan all the tiny details in the human body with the help of electromagnetism.

The Electromagnets are Used in Memory Storage Devices and Computer Hardware:

  • These days we are completely dependent on computers and mobiles, every piece of important data will be relying on the computer storages, but we know every system has its own capacity to store. So we turn around for the memory storage devices to secure a particular data. The data stored or available in the e-book gadgets and phones are stored in the electromagnetic format in the form of bytes and bits. 

  • The computer hardware is also having magnetic tape and most of the computer hardware works on the principle of electromagnetism. Even in the early days of the invention of computers electromagnets had a huge role in the data storage of VCP and VCR.

The Electromagnets are Even Used in Communication Devices and Power Circuits:

  • Without electromagnets, all communication systems and the devices such as the mobiles and the telephones we use to make phone calls over a long distance could not have taken place. 

  • The electromagnetic pulses sent by the devices and the interaction between the signals make mobiles and telephones very handy, without which nothing can be done. Communication has gotten even more advanced and hence advanced electromagnets are used in most communication systems.

Did You Know?

  • Unlike a regular magnet, we can switch on and off an electromagnet according to the requirements. The electromagnets work only with an external power source. The strength of the electromagnets can be varied from stronger to weaker depending on the amount of current flowing in the wires, it can be varied accordingly. 

  • The electromagnets are also found useful in large industrial areas and they are even used by large Businesses that use machinery to do heavy lifting such as lifting cars or to move it to another location or even by scrapyards to separate iron and other ferrous metals from nonferrous materials.

  • Japan is currently testing a 320 kilometre per hour (200 miles per hour) levitating train that utilizes electromagnets to hover and move around the entire place. 

  • The U.S. Navy is also working with electromagnets and have performed high tech experiments with a futuristic electromagnetic rail gun weapon. The Navy has also used an electromagnetic catapult that has been used to launch planes off carrier decks.

FAQs on Principal Applications of Electromagnet

1. What is the Principle of Electromagnetism?

Ans: The electromagnets basically work on the magnetic effects of electric current. The electromagnet is formed when a strong magnetic field is generated inside a solenoid to magnetise (temporary magnet) a piece of a magnetic material like soft iron.

2. What are the Advantages of the Electromagnet?

Ans: Electromagnets have the principal advantage of changing their magnetic pull strength – both by turning the magnet on or off and by adjusting the current. They also feature greater pull strength than permanent magnets. Some estimates place the largest electromagnet at 20 times stronger than the strongest permanent magnet.

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