by on March 22, 2010

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Faraday’s law is one of the foundations of modern technology. Without it there would not have the modern appliances and gadgets, vehicles, and other conveniences that we now take for granted. Faraday’s law states simply that a change in the flux of a magnetic field in a closed wire circuit will will produce voltage or an electromotive force. This is the basis of electromagnetic induction.

If you wonder what this means you can find no better example than an electromagnet. You should notice that an iron nail on its own does not have a magnetic field. However when an electrical current is passed through a wire wrapped around the nail it becomes a magnetic. Faraday’s law simply affirms this relationship but also shows how it can be reversed. Rather than just having voltage produce an electric current and voltage, a magnet in the presence of the right conductor can also produce a current.

Faraday’s law is most seen in most home appliances everything from the electricity that powers you home to the appliances you use rely on this principle of electromagnetic induction. The power for your home comes from various sources such as coal, geothermal, and even wind and solar power. however they all need electromagnetic induction to be converted into electricity. This done by using a turbine. In most cases the turbine is composed of a set of movable magnets maid to rotate around a coiled wire. When the magnet is moved by heated steam or running water this produces electricity.

Electric motors are another byproduct of electromagnetic induction. The mechanics are reversed so that an electric current creates a field that reacts with the magnetic field of the magnets to make the motor turn. This is how your blender works.

Faraday’s law helped mankind to discover and utilized the proportional relationship between electricity and magnetism. It also helped later physicists to discover the true nature of these phenomena as being two sides of the same fundamental force, the electromagnetic force.

If you enjoyed this article there are several others on Universe Today that you will enjoy. There is a great article on static electricity. There is also an interesting piece on electromagnetism.

You can also find some great resources about Faraday’s law online. There is great explanation of it on the GSU physics web page. You can also go to haverford.edu to get a brief history of Faraday’s Law.

You can also listen to Astronomy Cast. There is a great episode on magnetism.

Sources:
Hyperphysics
University of Texas

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