Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Electromagnets

Figure from experiment 17 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT

Introduction

Electromagnets are formed by winding a coil of wire around an iron core and applying a current to it. A magnetic field forms when current flows through the wire. The strength of the magnetic field is dependent upon the number of wire turns and the strength of the current flow. Electromagnets are used when really strong magnets or precise control are required, such as for moving old cars in a junk yard. Unlike permanent magnets which are made of iron or some other ferromagnetic material, electromagnets are considered “temporary” magnets because stopping the current flow eliminates the magnetic field. Engineers use electromagnets to design motors, televisions, computer disk drives, and music speakers. In this activity, you will build an electromagnet, and use a Magnetic Field Sensor to study the relationship between the number of wire turns and the magnetic field strength of your electromagnet.

Objectives

In this experiment, you will

  • Build an electromagnet.
  • Use a Magnetic Field Sensor and NXT to measure magnetic field strength.
  • Graph the results.
  • Determine the relationship between number of wire winds and magnetic field strength.

Sensors and Equipment

This project/activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You will also need NXT Sensor Adapter and a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics system.

STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Friction
2First-Class Levers
3Audio Assistant
4Buoyancy
5Pulleys
6String Tension Tester
7Gas Pressure
8Yeast in Action
9Grip Strength
10Cartesian Diver
11Batteries
12Lemon Battery
13Battery Tester
14Solar Cells
15Solar Tracker
16Mapping a Magnetic Field
17Electromagnets
18Migrating Robot
19Magnet Finder
20Mine Sweeper

Project/activity 17 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Lab Book

<em>STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO<sup>®</sup> MINDSTORMS<sup>®</sup> NXT</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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