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Electromagnetic Induction

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Electromagnetic Induction

Electromagnetic induction is the process of inducing an electromotive force by moving a charge-carrying conductor (for example, metal wire) in a magnetic field. When an electrical conductor moves through a magnetic field, it crosses the magnetic field lines, causing the magnetic field to change.

When changes in magnetic flux (denoted by Φ) occur, work is done in the form of electrical energy, generating a voltage or an electromotive force through the conductor.

Electromagnetic induction is when an electromotive force is generated in a closed circuit due to varying magnetic flux.

Magnetic flux is a measurement of the total magnetic field in a given area. It can be described as the total number of lines of the magnetic field crossing a certain area.

Be sure to check out our explanation on Emf and Internal Resistance.

The discovery of electromagnetic induction

Michael Faraday discovered the law of induction in 1831. He conducted an experimental procedure in which he connected a battery, a galvanometer, a magnet, and a conducting wire. You can see this in figure 1.

This is what Faraday discovered during his experiment:

  • When he disconnected the battery, there was no flow of electric current, and no magnetic flux was induced in the magnet.
  • When he closed the switch, a transient current could be observed flowing through the galvanometer. Faraday named this ‘the wave of electricity’.
  • When he opened the switch, the measured current quickly spiked to the opposite side of the readings before returning to zero.

In the following months, Faraday continued his experiments, which led him to discover other properties of electromagnetic induction. He observed the same transient currents when he moved a bar magnet quickly through the coil of wires. He also generated direct current (DC) by rotating a copper disk next to the bar magnet with a sliding electrical lead.

Faraday summarised his findings using a concept he named ‘lines of force’. When the switch was initially changed from open to closed, the magnetic flux within the magnetic core increased from zero to the maximum value (which was a constant value). As the flux increased, an induced current on the opposite side was observed. Similarly, when the switch was opened, the magnetic flux in the core would decrease from its constant maximum value back to zero. Hence, a decreasing flux within the core induced an opposite current on the right side.

Electromagnetic Induction Faraday’s electromagnetic induction experiment StudySmarterFaraday’s experiment to try to induce a current from a magnetic field (battery, iron ring, and galvanometer), Wikimedia Commons

Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction

Faraday observed the outcomes of his experiment and expressed his observations mathematically. He noticed that the sudden change in the magnetic flux within the magnet increased from zero to some maximum value. So, when the flux is changed, an induced current on the opposite side is created.

Faraday concluded that a changing magnetic flux in a closed circuit induces an electromotive force or voltage, which is shown in the equation below. In this equation, ε is the electromotive force (measured in volts), Φ is the magnetic flux in a circuit (measured in weber), N is the number of turns of the coil, and t is time (measured in seconds).

From this equation, we can determine the parameters that affect the magnetic field: a stronger magnet (which affects the magnetic flux), more coils (which affects N), and the speed at which the wire moves.

The Maxwell-Faraday equation

The Maxwell-Faraday equation states that a time-changing magnetic field creates a spatially varying electric field and vice versa. You can see the Maxwell-Faraday equation below, where × is a mathematical symbol that stands for the gradient of the electric field E, and B is the magnetic field. Both fields are a function of position r and time t.

Lenz’s law of electromagnetic induction

The induced current in the conductor will create a magnetic field. The direction of the current will be such that the magnetic field opposes the initial changes in the magnetic field that induced the current. This is known as Lenz’s law.

Lenz’s law is also expressed mathematically in the equation below. The minus sign is the addition of Lenz’s law to Faraday’s expression to show that the direction of the induced force opposes the changes in the magnetic field.

Lenz’s law completes Faraday’s law by adding that the direction of induced current will oppose the magnetic field change.

A coil with wire resistors consists of 20 loops. The magnetic field changes from -5T to 3T in 0.5 seconds. Find the induced emf in the coil.

Solution

In the example, T stands for tesla. A magnetic flux density of one Wb/m2 equals one tesla.

Lenz’s right-hand rule

The direction of the induced current can be found using Lenz’s right-hand rule. We extend our fingers so that they are mutually perpendicular to one another. The thumb points to the force (F), the index finger points in the direction of the magnetic field (B), and the middle finger gives the direction of the induced current (I).

Electromagnetic Induction Lenz’s right-hand rule StudySmarterFigure 2. Lenz’s right-hand rule, Oğulcan Tezcan - StudySmarter Originals

Electromagnetic induction and magnetic flux linkage

Magnetic flux linkage (ΦΝ) is the product of magnetic flux and the number of turns in a coil.

You can see this in the equation below, where Φ is the magnetic flux (Wb), N is the number of turns, B is the magnetic flux density (T), and A is the cross-sectional area (m2). When we consider the magnetic flux of a coil, the N component is crucial to calculate the magnetic linkage of a coil.

ΦN = BAN

We calculate the total magnetic linkage by multiplying magnetic flux by the number of turns in a coil. We can ignore the N term when the magnetic flux of a given area is considered.

ΦN = BA

Applications of electromagnetic induction

Electromagnetic induction is very important as it is a way to generate electricity in a closed circuit. Electromagnetic induction is very useful in electrical generators, transformers, and motors. The most well-known applications of electromagnetic induction are the AC generator, electrical transformer, and magnetic flow meter.

Electromagnetic Induction - Key takeaways

  • Electromagnetic induction is the process of inducing an electromotive force by moving a charge-carrying conductor in a magnetic field.
  • Michael Faraday discovered the law of electromagnetic induction. This law states that the change in magnetic flux in a closed circuit induces an electromotive force or voltage in the circuit.
  • The Maxwell-Faraday law states that a time-changing magnetic field creates a spatially varying electric field and vice versa.
  • Magnetic flux linkage (ΦΝ) is the product of magnetic flux and the number of turns in a coil.
  • Electromagnetic induction is very important as it is a way to generate electricity in a closed circuit.

Frequently Asked Questions about Electromagnetic Induction

Electromagnetic induction is the process of inducing an electromotive force by moving a charge-carrying conductor in a magnetic field. When an electrical conductor moves through a magnetic field, it crosses the magnetic field lines, causing the magnetic field to change. 

Electromagnetic induction occurs when an electromotive force is generated in a closed circuit due to varying magnetic flux. When changes in magnetic flux (denoted by Φ) occur, work is done in the form of electrical energy, generating a voltage or an electromotive force through the conductor.

This is Lenz’s law of electromagnetic induction: The induced current in the conductor will create a magnetic field. The direction of the current will be such that the magnetic field opposes the initial changes in the magnetic field that induced the current.

Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction states that when the flux is changed, an electromotive force is induced on the opposite side opposing the change in the flux. 

Electromagnetic induction is used in generators, transformers, motors, etc.

Final Electromagnetic Induction Quiz

Question

What is electromagnetic induction?

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Answer

Electromagnetic induction is the process of inducing an electromotive force by moving a charge-carrying conductor (for example, metal wire) in a magnetic field. When an electrical conductor moves through a magnetic field, it crosses the magnetic field lines, causing the magnetic field to change. 



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Question

What is Faraday's law?

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Answer

Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction states that when the flux is changed, an electromotive force is induced on the opposite side opposing the change in the flux. 



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Question

What does Lenz’s law state? Choose the correct answer. 


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Answer

The direction of the induced current in the conductor due to changes in the magnetic field is such that it will oppose the initial changes in the magnetic field.

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Question

How are Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws related?


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Answer

Lenz’s law completes Faraday’s law by adding that the direction of induced current will oppose the magnetic field change.

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Question

Which of the following is not an application of electromagnetic induction?


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Answer

Discharging batteries.

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Question

What are the units of the electromotive force?


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Answer

The electromotive force is measured in volts (V).

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Question

When a magnet is pushed into a coil, what happens to the coil?


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Answer

The field lines cross through the turns, inducing an emf.

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Question

State the parameters that affect the magnetic field based on Faraday’s law.


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Answer

Moving the wire faster, using a stronger magnet, and adding more coils.

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Question

Which of the following factors will not affect the magnetic field in a closed circuit? Choose the correct answer.


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Answer

Moving the magnet vertically instead of horizontally.

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Question

Why is Faraday’s law important?


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Answer

Faraday’s law is important because it describes how a changing magnetic flux can produce an electric field and vice versa.

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Question

A solenoid with a circular cross-sectional radius of 0.20m2 and 50 turns is cutting a magnetic field with a magnetic flux density of 8 mT. Find the magnetic flux linkage for this solenoid.


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Answer

0.05 Wb turns.

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Question

State the effects of the following in terms of Lenz's law: A circular loop wire with a current flowing through is changed into a narrow, straight wire inside an electric field.


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Answer

By changing the shape of a circular loop into a slim, straight wire, the flux crossing the surface decreases since the surface area decreases. So an induced current will flow opposed to this change according to Lenz’s law and Faraday’s law.

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