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Investigation into the factors affecting the strength of electromagnets - Planning Experimental Procedures.

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Planning Experimental Procedures

There are three main factors which affect the strength of an electromagnet:

  1. The size of the current.
  2. The number of turns the coil has.
  3. What the core is made of.

For this investigation, I intend to explore how the number of coils of insulated wire around an iron core effects the amount of paper clips attracted to the electromagnet.

My prediction using results from the pilot study is that if I increase the number of coils the strength of the electromagnet will also increase (more paper clips will be attracted to the EM). However I have read that in theory, the strength of the EM will double as the number of coils are doubled (EM strength is directly proportional to the number of turns of coil).  

I will use the following apparatus for this experiment: paper clips, soft iron core, insulated wire, voltmeter, ruler, wire stripper, crocodile clips and power pack. I have chosen this equipment because it suits the experiment I am doing and should also give me accurate results. The power pack will allow me to work with a safe voltage and to convert mains AC to DC.

First I will connect the voltmeter to the power pack. From the voltmeter I will attach two connecting wires to the crocodile clips.

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1st reading

2nd reading

3rd reading









































A further table was drawn in order to show the average results.


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If I were to repeat this investigation I would use slightly different apparatus in order to gain even more accurate results. I would use a wooden stand and clamp the electromagnet at a fixed distance from the tray of paperclips. This would improve the accuracy of the results and perhaps I would have more confidence in my prediction. I would also use different types of wire that can conduct electricity, e.g. nichrome or aluminium. Then I could compare those results with the results gained in this experiment. If possible I would try and investigate readings beyond 100 coils or I would increase the number of coils in steps of 5.  

Also, a different shape of iron core could be used, e.g. u-shaped. “In this case the strength of the electromagnet is more powerful than a straight one for obvious reason that both poles can be used to attract and lift iron objects; but it is actually much more than twice as powerful as a single pole.” If the experiment was done using a u-shaped electromagnet it would give comparable and much more accurate results.

In order to get extra information on the topic I would investigate the other two factors which affect the strength of an electromagnet. I would use varying amounts of currents or I could use a different core for the electromagnet.            

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