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How Do Electromagnets Work?

Electromagnets combine the powers of electricity and magnetism. They can perform industrial-strength jobs due to this powerful combination, and have become indispensable in modern industry.

Electromagnets combine the powers of electricity and magnetism. They can perform industrial-strength jobs due to this powerful combination, and have become indispensable in modern industry.

A magnet that runs on electricity is called an electromagnet. That sounds pretty simple. A magnetic force is created when wire has an electric current running through it. Hence this flow of moving electrons creates a magnetic field. The strength of this type of magnet can be changed by changing the flow of electric current. The electric motor, which is found in many places, is one very good example of the use of electromagnets. In these motors, electromagnets line a cylinder within an engine. This allows the cylinder to spin an electromagnetic shaft within the centre.

When a particle is charged, it moves. This movement creates a magnetic field around the path of the particle's travel. When you apply two magnets together using opposite polarities, one of them moves away from the other. The movement of the charged particle is moving with the magnetic field--always. An electromagnet is also a magnet, but one that is created by having electricity flow through a conductor. The magnetic field is sent around this conductor. Magnetically charged cranes, loud speakers, microwavess, electric motors, cell phones and computers are only some of our everyday objects that contain electromagnetic forces.

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About the Author

Based in central New York, Michele Martinez has been writing self-help articles since 2007. Her articles have appeared on eHow, Associated Content and Helium. She attended Mohawk Valley Community College and has over 20 years of experience in the areas of aviation, real estate, student loans and education.