How Do Electromagnets Work?

Electromagnets are intriguing devices that create a magnetic field using electricity and do not always exhibit magnetic properties. These types of magnets function by running a current from some source of electricity through a wire. This simple process can create a magnetic field around another coiled wire, which causes the electromagnet to exhibit the desired behavior and properties as though it has been magnetized.

Electromagnets are unique because they have the ability to be turned on and off. This is done by breaking or completing the circuit that gives the electromagnet its magnetic properties. For this reason, they are often used in different industrial settings that require the movement of large metal objects, such as junkyards.

Electromagnets use a very simple property: tightly coiled wire around a piece of metal that creates a magnetic field if exposed to a current. Usually, the wire wrapped around this metal is copper. By themselves, these parts do not exhibit magnetic properties. However, once they have been introduced to a source of energy, usually from a battery, the magnetic properties activate fully. As long as there is a flow of current running through the wire, it will continue to maintain an electromagnetic field.