Electromagnets 01
What is the difference between an electromagnet and a permanent bar magnet?

Electromagnets 01

An enjoyable way to test your knowledge about electromagnets. What's the purpose of a relay?

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This KS3 Science quiz takes a look at electromagnets. When electricity passes through a wire, it creates a weak magnetic field. If the wire is coiled into a spiral shape, the magnetic field from the wire is stronger. If the coil is wrapped round an iron core e.g. a nail, the magnetic field is made even stronger. But it doesn't stop there ... if you increase the current flowing through the coiled wire, the magnetic effect is also increased. Finally, if you add more coils to the spiral, the magnetism can be increased yet again! A coil of wire round an iron core that is connected to a source of electricity is called an electromagnet.

Electromagnets have two big advantages over permanent magnets - they can be switched on and off and they can be made to be very powerful. Three important uses are in electric motors, electric bells and relays.

A relay is a switch that is operated by electricity. It consists of a springy switch contact which is set up to be attracted by an electromagnet. When the electromagnet is switched on or off, the contact arm is attracted and the switch is operated. A relay is a good safety device as a low voltage circuit can be used to operate the electromagnet which then will operate the switch connected to a high voltage circuit. There is therefore no danger of the person operating the electromagnet coming into contact with the high voltage electricity.

Which of the following is NOT true about the magnetic field around a coil of wire carrying a current?
Changing the direction of the current will reverse the poles
Increasing the number of coils will increase the strength
Making the coil wider will increase the strength
Putting an iron core into the coil will increase the strength
Making the coil wider would make it shorter, unless you used more wire
An electromagnet on a crane is used in a scrapyard because:
It can be turned on and off
It can't be turned on and off
It is stronger than a permanent magnet
It is weaker than a permanent magnet
They can also be made a lot stronger and for less cost than a permanent magnet of the same strength
If the current direction through the wire is reversed, the direction of the magnetic field:
Is also reversed
Stays in the same direction
The current stops flowing
There is no magnetic field
Whenever there is a current flowing, an electromagnet will have a magnetic field around it
The magnetic field around a coil of wire carrying current:
Is a circular shape
Is a diamond shape
Is a square shape
Is the same shape as around a bar magnet
A coil of wire is known as a solenoid
The magnetic field around a straight wire carrying an electric current has:
A circular shape
A diamond shape
A square shape
An oval shape
You may have seen this demonstrated at school using iron filings
Which of the following uses an electromagnetic effect?
Light bulb
Washing machine
Electromagnetic effect is used in any appliance with a motor
A relay uses a small current to:
Attract a magnet
Repel a magnet
Switch off a current
Switch on a larger current
When you press a lift button, it operates a relay that switches on the motor. The motor needs a high current and if that sort of current passed through a lift call button, it would be dangerous if something went wrong
A relay is used in:
A car ignition
An electric bell
An electric cooker
An iron
A starter motor needs a large current
Which of the following is a difference between an electromagnet and a permanent bar magnet?
Electromagnets are stronger
Electromagnets can be turned off
Permanent magnets are stronger
Permanent magnets can be turned off
It is that feature that makes them so useful
If the current in the wire increases, what happens to the strength of the magnetic field?
It decreases
It increases
It stops the magnetic field
No change
There is a direct positive correlation between current and magnetic field strength
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Electromagnets

Author:  Sue Davison

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