Electromagnets in Daily Life

Electromagnets are common in everyday appliances, and are becoming more common as the need for technology increases. Electromagnets are found in doorbells, hard drives, speakers, MagLev trains, anti-shoplifting systems, MRI machines, microphones, home security systems, VCRs, tape decks, motors, and many other everyday objects.

How An Electromagnet Works

A basic electromagnet consists of a power source, an iron core, and a current-carrying wire. The moving charges through the wire create a magnetic field. A weak electromagnet uses a straight wire, but to make it stronger, you can make more current run through the system (by increasing battery voltage or decreasing resistance) or by coiling the wire. The more you coil a wire, the stronger the magnetic field will be.

Here is a diagram of a basic electromagnet using a battery, a nail, and a coiled wire: