6: Magnetic Fields

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For the past few chapters, we have been studying electrostatic forces and fields, which are caused by electric charges at rest. These electric fields can move other free charges, such as producing a current in a circuit; however, the electrostatic forces and fields themselves come from other static charges. In this chapter, we see that when an electric charge moves, it generates other forces and fields. These additional forces and fields are what we commonly call magnetism.

• 6.1: Prelude to Magnetic Forces and Fields
Before we examine the origins of magnetism, we first describe what it is and how magnetic fields behave. Once we are more familiar with magnetic effects, we can explain how they arise from the behavior of atoms and molecules, and how magnetism is related to electricity. The connection between electricity and magnetism is fascinating from a theoretical point of view, but it is also immensely practical, as shown by an industrial electromagnet that can lift thousands of pounds of metal.
• 6.2: Magnetism and Its Historical Discoveries
Magnetism has been known since the time of the ancient Greeks, but it has always been a bit mysterious. You can see electricity in the flash of a lightning bolt, but when a compass needle points to magnetic north, you can’t see any force causing it to rotate. People learned about magnetic properties gradually, over many years, before several physicists of the nineteenth century connected magnetism with electricity.
• 6.3: Magnetic Fields and Lines
Even though there are no such things as isolated magnetic charges, we can still define the attraction and repulsion of magnets as based on a field. In this section, we define the magnetic field, determine its direction based on the right-hand rule, and discuss how to draw magnetic field lines.
• 6.4: Force and Torque on a Current Loop
Motors are the most common application of magnetic force on current-carrying wires. Motors contain loops of wire in a magnetic field. When current is passed through the loops, the magnetic field exerts torque on the loops, which rotates a shaft. Electrical energy is converted into mechanical work in the process.
• 6.5: The Hall Effect
E.H. Hall devised an experiment that can be used to identify the sign of the predominant charge carriers in a conducting material. From a historical perspective, this experiment was the first to demonstrate that the charge carriers in most metals are negative.

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