Engineering in Kenya

The Concept of Electricity and Magnetism

Posted by on Jun 26, 2018 in Physics | 0 comments

300x250 animated The Concept of Electricity and Magnetism

There are four fundamental forces that govern our way of life; they include gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear strong forces and the nuclear weaker forces. In the early 1830s Michael Faraday made the observation that a changing current in one electric circuit can cause current to appear “induce a current” in a second circuit, the electromagnetism. Electromagnetism is really a combination of two forces, the electric force and magnetic force. In general electricity and magnetism involves the interaction of charged particles with each other through their electric and magnetic field. Engineering in Kenya has more information.

Understanding what is Electricity and Magnetism

To understand electricity and magnetism caused by electric force we need to understand the few basic things that define what exactly it is. Electricity is due to electric charges that produce electric field that is known as electric current. The term charge is the technical term used to indicate that an object has been prepared so as to participate in electrical forces. The concept of electricity and magnetism involves all about the charge.

The charge as it is observed is due to the atomic electrons and protons which give the characteristic of a charge. Electrons are negatively charged while the protons are positively charged. In the electricity and magnetism we cannot create the charge nor destroy it, we can transfer it. When two things are attracted this could occur either because they are of different charges or one is charged and the other is attracted to it due to an induced polarization of the charge. Induced polarization is when the charge within an object separates, so part of the object is slightly positively charged and some of the object is slightly negatively charged.

Charge particles are particles that are electrically charged which means that the particles can exert forces on each other, which is defined by some law governing the interaction between electricity and magnetism. The law known as Coulomb’s Law defines that electric force is similar to the gravitational force. For two objects, both of which are less than the size of mountains, the electric force between the objects, if non-zero, is generally much larger than the gravitational force between the objects. In fact, the gravitational force between two ordinary objects is usually too small to be detectable, while the electric and magnetic forces between the two objects can be devastatingly strong, as in lightning and in other electrical discharges.

Further in the concept of electricity and magnetism, the electrons in a charged particle is what leads to electric current. Electrons are not created or destroyed, merely transferred from one place to another. Electric current is the flow of charged particles in form of electrons on a conductor or perhaps ions in water solution. Conductors easily conduct electric charge while insulators do not easily conduct electric charge.  Metals are usually good conductors while objects such as plastics, rubber and wood are usually insulators.

Just like electric forces, magnetic forces attract and repel each other and the magnetic forces result from magnetic poles in a similar fashion to electric forces resulting from electric charges. Important concept to understand in electricity and magnetism is the nature of magnetic forces is the result from the motion of electric charge. In most materials the movement of charge is the motion of the electrons of the material. In these materials, there are clusters of atoms called domains, which can be aligned and the material becomes magnetic.

 How Electricity and Magnetism are Associated to each other

Electricity and Magnetism The Concept of Electricity and MagnetismIn studying electricity and magnetism it is discovered that they both as the effect of the other. Moving charges produce magnetic fields so an electric current produces a magnetic field.  The magnetism of a piece of iron can be increased by placing the material in a current carrying coil of wire. This produces an electromagnet. The earth is magnetized and its magnetism is due to the movement of electric currents that result from the thermal convection of the molten interior of the earth.


Magnetic force depends largely on the effect produced by the moving charges. The association between electricity and magnetism makes a charged particle that is moving to “feel” a magnetic field and experience a maximum force when it is moving in a direction perpendicular to the magnetic field lines and zero force when it is moving parallel to the field. This force is very different from gravity and the forces between electric charges since it acts perpendicular to the magnetic field and current.


Importance and Application of Electricity and Magnetism

Generally in the world we live in, it wouldn’t be that easy without the dependent of electricity and magnetism. Electromagnetic induction is the principle governing the operation of electric motors, generators, transformers, and some types of particle accelerators. Faraday’s Law is one of the four cornerstones of electromagnetic theory. Without it, we couldn’t have light.


Other studies did reveal that matter is made up of exactly equal mixtures of both negative and positive charges. The implication of this is that there is usually no net electric force of consequence between separate bodies. The electric force is responsible for holding individual atoms together, and holding the groups of atoms together to form solid matter. This show that electricity and magnetism are of big importance that why the solid matter remains held together.


We are usually unaware of the importance of electricity and magnetism in life such as the presence of charges in most bodies. It is unnoticeable of the presence of charge because most bodies are electrically neutral, that is, they contain equal amounts of positive and negative charge. It is this concept that helps our cells to exchange ions, important to the body, across the cell membrane.

The aspect of electricity and magnetism has being in lots of application in life, in fact it is the most depended discovery since its invention. To enhance the effect of electricity and magnetism instrument such as galvanometer, voltmeters and ammeters have being made. Electric motors also use this principle but in a devious and crafty way. Electric motors convert electrical energy to mechanical energy. Other gadget and instrument that use the same principle includes; electric cooker, electrical generators, car activated traffic lights, audio recording, metal detectors, electrical transformers.  Electricity and Magnetism has thus been described above.