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Will increasing current in an electromagnet increase the power of the electromagnet?

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Electromagnetism experiment:


I start the introduction with a question: Will increasing current in an electromagnet increase the power of the electromagnet?

The electromagnet we will be making is a very primitive one compared to that of the complexity of modern electromagnets found in machinery, but the way it works is almost identical. Electromagnetic technology is extremely complex and because it is an electromagnet, the higher the current, the stronger it becomes, and with this an electromagnet can become incomprehensively strong. Such an example is that used in theme park rides to stop moving parts etc. these electromagnets are in fact so strong that when uncovered, if you were to stand with a spanner in your hand 10 metres away, it would pull the spanner out of your hand along with the rest of your arm! To understand fully how an electromagnet works read on…

Background information:

When an insulated wire is wrapped around some form of iron, nickel or cobalt core, whether it be a nail or a u-shaped core, and then attached to a power supply it creates an electromagnet capable of picking anything from the size of a paperclip right up to anything as big as a car and bigger!

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The aim of this project is to test the power of an electromagnet when the current is increased or decreased.

Preliminary experiment

The initial experiment is just to test the strength by seeing how many nails are picked up at varying strength of current. We will also be testing the strength when the amount of coils are increased or decreased.


Crocodile clip x 2

Red insulated wire x 2

Black insulated wire x 1


U-shaped iron core

1: An electrical wire will be coiled around a soft-iron core 30 times.

2: Crocodile clips will be connected to yellow connecting wires at each end.

3: These together with the ammeter will be connected up to the power supply as shown in the circuit diagram.

4: A fixed amount of nails will be poured over the electromagnet with the power switched on

5: The power will be turned off. All of the iron filings that drop off will be weighed.

I will vary only the current in this experiment. All other factors will be kept constant. I will measure the amount of iron filings at 1,2,3,4 & 5 amps. I will repeat each experiment three times for accuracy.


Safety Precautions

We will make sure that there is no bare insulation or any water near any electrical equipment to prevent electrical faults and dangers

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I believe that although there were slight imperfections to do with fair testing my results were relatively constant with no really odd results. There is also a possibility that the nails after the first time were magneticly charged and so were slightly easier to pick up which could explain the increase in nails picked up each attempt.

We did have problems at first with our first magnet because we put a current through the wires which was too large and so our first was destroyed. Because of this our first results were scrapped. In future we know not to put more than 6 amps into the wiring as it does not manage very well above that.

The current was also very hard to put up to exactly 1 amp or 2 amps etc, but this difference was minute, and was likely not to have made much of a difference, if any.

All in all though I think our experiment was successful and was reliable enough to compare my prediction with. Had my prediction been wrong then it would have either meant that the experiment had not been done properly or that my research was incorrect.

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