Electromagnets are cool, aren’t they? They are almost everywhere. They are devices consisting of a core of magnetic material surrounded by a coil through which an electric current passes. This current magnetizes the core. They are basically magnets functioning on electricity. They are not like a permanent magnet and their strength can be manipulated by changing the amount of current passing through them. These devices are used when there is a need for controllable magnets. But have you ever wondered about the uses of electromagnets in daily life? If you have then read this article and learn everything about electromagnets and facts related to a real life example of electromagnet.
1. What are 3 Facts About Electromagnets?Image by pithonius from Pixabay
Electromagnets in daily life are magnets that use electricity to generate a magnetic field. They are devices consisting of a core of magnetic material surrounded by a coil through which an electric current passes. As the current flows through the wire coil it turns magnetic. When the electricity is stopped the coil loses its magnetic field. Below are three interesting facts about electromagnets:
- Danish scientist and researcher Hands Christian Orsted first discovered the concept of an electromagnet in the 19th century. He found that when electricity flows through wire coils it produces a magnetic field. A decade later, William Sturgeon, a British scientist, built an electromagnet out of copper wire. He applied voltage to the coiled copper wire and thus the coil produced a magnetic field.
- Electromagnets have adjustable power levels. By increasing or decreasing the amount of electricity flowing through their wire coil you can adjust the magnetic power. To make a stronger magnetic field more electricity should be allowed to flow through the wire coils. The unique feature of adjustable power is not found in permanent magnets. They have consistent magnetic fields all the time.
- The electromagnets are also controllable and this distinguishes them from traditional magnets. Other magnets are comprised of ferromagnetic materials and have a permanent magnetic field. On the other hand, electromagnets generate a magnetic field only when electricity passes through the wire coils. The magnetic field will be disabled if the flow of current through the wire coils is stopped.
2. What Cool Things can Magnets Do?
Magnets are fascinating devices and can do a lot of cool things. These are a few cool things you can use a magnet for:
- Your food contains a lot of iron and you can check the iron content of your food by using a magnet. You can get a strong neodymium magnet, smash your cereals, and use the magnet to separate iron from your cereals.
- You can create cool magnetic structures and see how they extend outwards in possible ways.
- You can create a homopolar motor.
- You can create a mini magnetic field.
- You can have fun with magnets and ferrofluids. The ferrofluids react strongly to magnetic forces and thus it’s fun to play with them.
3. What are 5 Examples of Electromagnetic Forces?Photo by Terry Vlisidis on Unsplash
These five examples greatly demonstrate the use of electromagnets in daily life:
- Television: To develop images on the screen, cathode ray televisions use electromagnetic force. Electrons are negatively charged particles that are made to pass between the two copper steering coils. This flow of electrons develops a magnetic field which causes a deflection in the charged particles. Here one coil controls the horizontal motion and the other handles the vertical motion. The deflected electrons hit the screen and thus the phosphorescent coating glows and produces the image.
- Loudspeakers: The permanent magnetic speakers also work on the principles of electromagnetism as they convert electrical energy into sound energy. It has a metallic coil that is connected to a permanent magnet. A magnetic field develops around the conducting coil when the current is passed through it. This intrudes the already existing magnetic field around the permanent magnet which further develops vibrations. These vibrations are converted to sound energy. To further amplify the sound you can attach a conical structure to the front of the loudspeaker.
- Chemical bonds: Chemical compounds are usually formed by metallic bonding, ionic bonding, or covalent bonding. Electromagnetic forces also play an important role in forming a chemical bond between two or more elements. These forces work as binding forces. They keep the atoms of different elements in place.
- Molecules: Electromagnetic forces play a key role in establishing intermolecular focus between two atoms. This force is merely responsible for binding the two atoms and thus, in its absence, the molecules will not acquire a stable state.
- Crane: Cranes are examples of the industrial application of electromagnetic forces. It’s used in cranes to collect metallic objects. An electromagnetic disc crane has a large metallic disc wrapped up with a wire. The magnetic head is magnetized and demagnetized with the help of current passing through the externally wrapped wire. A magnetic field develops when the current passes through the conducting wire. This magnetic field helps in attracting and picking up heavy metallic objects.
4. What is a Good Example of Electromagnet?
There are a lot of good examples of electromagnets in daily life but the most commonly used ones are the permanent magnetic speakers commonly used in TV and radios. They are designed to convert electrical waves into audible sounds. In the speakers, a metal coil is attached to a permanent magnet.
When the current flows through the coil, it starts to produce a magnetic field. This magnetic field is then repelled by the magnetic field of the permanent magnet. This repulsion causes vibration which is amplified by the cone-like structure causing the sound. The speaker works on electromagnetism like this. Now let’s learn about a real life example of electromagnet, in the following segment. (See What are Examples of Elements in Everyday Life?)
5. What is a Real Life Example of Electromagnet,?
Almost everybody has heard about an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. It’s a medical device that is used to diagnose injuries as well as illnesses in people. This machine uses the common application of electromagnetics. It relies on superconducting electromagnets to perform its tasks. It features a large coil that is cooled with helium.
It has extremely strong electromagnets. Its magnets can even lift a vehicle. This is also the reason why patients are asked to remove all the jewelry before entering an MRI machine. After understanding this real life example of electromagnet, let’s further discuss why are electromagnets important in everyday life. Must read How Does an X ray Machine Work?
6. Why are Electromagnets Important in Everyday Life?
An electromagnet magnetic field is created by an electric current. It’s a temporary magnet that requires electricity to function. Its strength can be easily increased or decreased by manipulating the amount of electricity flowing and polarity can be changed by the varying direction of the electric current.
Electromagnets are used for various purposes in your daily lives. They are used in electronic devices, communication fields, home appliances, computer hardware, memory storage, power circuits, etc. The extent of their use and involvement in your daily lives answers why are electromagnets important in everyday life. (See What are Some Simple Machines in your House?)
7. What are the Uses of Electromagnets in Daily Life?
The uses of electromagnets in daily life are as follows:
- In Medical Field: An MRI is an important device in the medical field that is used to detect injuries and illnesses. This device uses very strong electromagnets. With the help of electromagnetism, the device is able to scan all the tiny details in the human body.
- In Communication Devices and Power Circuits: Without electromagnets, it’s impossible to imagine the existence of mobiles and telephones. These communication devices are handy because of the electromagnetic pulses and the interaction of signals.
- In Computer Hardware and Memory Storage Devices: These electromagnets in daily life are used to store data in phones and ebook gadgets. The format is in the form of bits and bytes. The computer hardware also has a magnetic tape that works on electromagnetism’s principle. In old days also, electromagnets were used in the data storage of VCR and VCP.
- In Household Appliances: A lot of electric home appliances work on the principles of electromagnetism. For example, electric doorbells, electric fans, magnetic locks, induction cookers, etc.
8. What Devices use Electromagnets?Image by Dmitriy from Pixabay
There are a lot of devices that use electromagnets in daily life, and a few of them are as follows:
- Magnetic locks
- Induction cooker
- Electric buzzers and bells
- Generators, motors, and transformers
- MRI machines
- Mass spectrometers
- Relays and Valves
- Data storage devices like hard discs, tape recorders, VCRs, etc.
9. How does an Electromagnet Work?
Since we have explained many facts about electromagnets in daily life, let’s see the answer to this question- how does an electromagnet work? An electromagnet is different from a permanent magnet, it needs electricity to function. It is composed or made up of coils of wire. When the electricity passes through the coils, the moving charges create a magnetic field and the coil starts behaving like a magnet. When the flow of electricity stops, the coil stops acting like a magnet. This magnet is used in devices where magnetic forces are only needed for a short period of time. Check out What is the Difference Between Open and Closed Circuit?
10. Is a Refrigerator an Electromagnet?
After unraveling how does an electromagnet works, let’s see if a refrigerator is an electromagnet or not. Refrigeration isn’t an electromagnet but it does use electromagnets to perform its function. It uses electromagnets to apply a strong magnetic field to the refrigerant. (Also read What are 7 Electric Motor Parts?)