This activity created by the Exploratorium Museum demonstrates the magnetic forces between two current-carrying wires placed in close proximity. The two wires will either attract or repel each other, depending upon the direction of current flow in each wire. Exploratorium "Snacks" are miniature versions of popular exhibits at the museum that can be easily set up or performed in school or home settings. Illustrated directions for set-up are provided, plus an explanation of the relevant physics concepts.
6-8: 4G/M3. Electric currents and magnets can exert a force on each other.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)
4. THE PHYSICAL SETTING
4F (9-12) #3. Accelerating electric charges produce electromagnetic waves around them. A great variety of radiations are electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, radiant heat, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest. In empty space, all electromagnetic waves move at the same speed?the "speed of light."
G. Forces of Nature
4G (9-12) #5. Magnetic forces are very closely related to electric forces and can be thought of as different aspects of a single electromagnetic force. Moving electric charges produce magnetic forces and moving magnets produce electric forces. The interplay of electric and magnetic forces is the basis for electric motors, generators, and many other modern technologies, including the production of electromagnetic waves.
Exploratorium. Exploratorium: Snacks about Magnetism - Cirlces of Magnetism IV. San Francisco: Exploratorium, September 14, 2007. http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/circles_magnetism_IV/ (accessed 5 July 2015).
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