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Find how varying the current in an electrical circuit affects the strength of an electromagnet.

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The target of my investigation is to find how varying the current in an electrical circuit affects the strength of an electromagnet.

The  c-core that I will be using will be ferromagnetic, meaning that it quickly becomes demagnetised when the current is switched off and that it is very efficient at increasing the strength of the magnetic field created by the current in the wire. It is also known that if there are more coils around the core, the electromagnet is stronger. The type of wire is another factor which will affect an electromagnet’s strength.

Prediction/Scientific reasoning

I predict that as the current increases, the strength of the electromagnet will also increase. I also suggest that there is a relationship of direct proportion between the two variables.

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To become magnetic in the first place, the electrons in the c-core will have to align themselves. In order to do so, they group together in domains. The main implication of these domains is that there is already a high degree of magnetization in ferromagnetic materials within individual domains, but that in the absence of external magnetic fields those domains are randomly oriented. A modest applied magnetic field can cause a larger degree of alignment of the magnetic moments with the external field, giving a large multiplication of the applied field.

In other words, the majority of these domains are usually only partly aligned, and the strength of the magnetic field around the core will increase as the magnetic domains align.

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Eventually though, I predict that the magnetic field around the core will stop getting stronger, (therefore the electromagnet will stop getting stronger). This happens because all the magnetic domains will be aligned up and the electromagnet will have reached its full potential and can be described as  “saturated”. This behaviour can be demonstrated graphically: the curve displaying the relationship between the two variables (current, strength of electromagnet) will eventually level off, showing that the amount of iron filings attracted to the core will not grow anymore.


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