Practical application of the relationship between electricity and magnetism, and how to use it in a useful way in everyday life.
Develop these Key Competencies
- Integrated Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- Systems Thinking
- Insulated copper wire
- A clip
- A power source (e.g., a battery)
- A switch (can be a simple on/off switch)
In this exciting activity, we will build a solenoid, a unique coil of wire that acts like a magic magnet when electricity flows through it. Solenoids are used in many cool things like doorbells, locks, and toys! Best of all, we will use materials you might already have at home, so let's start this electrifying adventure!
Step 1: Gather Materials - Collect all the materials needed for building the solenoid. Ensure you have the insulated copper wire, a clip, a power source (like a battery), and a switch.
Step 2: Prepare the Rod or Nail - If you are using a nail, ensure it is clean and has no coating. If you have a cylindrical rod, ensure it is smooth and the size for your solenoid.
Step 3: Start Winding - Winding the insulated copper wire around the rod or nail. Make sure to wrap the wire tightly and uniformly, leaving no gaps between each turn. Wind the wire around the rod several times to form a coil.
Step 4: Create Leads - Leave a small length of wire at both ends of the coil. These ends will serve as leads, helping us connect the solenoid to the power source and the switch.
Step 5: Connect to a Switch - Connect one of the leads to one switch terminal. You can use a crocodile clip or securely solder the wire to the terminal.
Step 6: Connect to the Power Source - Next, connect the other lead to the positive terminal of your power source, like the positive end of a battery.
Step 7: Test the Solenoid - Your solenoid is now ready for testing! When you turn on the switch, an electric current will flow through the coil, creating a magnetic field. This magnetic field will make the solenoid act like an electromagnet, attracting magnetic materials or objects.
You Know It Works If...
The device should work, generating rotary motion. You can even try converting that motion into electricity to power an LED light bulb. Give it a try and see the magic of electromagnets in action!
Safety Note: Always be careful with wires and electricity. Have fun and explore the wonders of science with adult supervision. Avoid buying materials exclusively for this experience; use what you have at home. Enjoy the activity, and let your imagination spark with the power of your homemade solenoid!
Relevant information if you are facilitating
It was in the 19th century that it was discovered that magnetism and electricity are intimately related. A crucial discovery was made: electric currents, like magnets, produce magnetic effects. Many practical devices depend on magnetism, from compasses, motors, loudspeakers, computer memory and ELECTRIC GENERATORS.
A well-known fact is that when two magnets are brought close together, each exerts a force on the other.
A lesser-known fact is that an electric current will produce a magnetic field. A long coil of wire consisting of many turns of wire is called a solenoid. The magnetic field inside a solenoid can be pretty large, as it will be the sum of the fields due to the current in each coil.
The magnetic field increases enormously if a piece of iron is placed inside the solenoid. The resulting magnetic field is the sum of the magnetic fields due to the current and the iron and can be hundreds or thousands of times greater than the field due to the current alone. This arrangement is called an electromagnet. Electromagnets have many practical applications; they are used in motors and generators and produce large magnetic fields for research.
Did you know...
An electric motor works the same way as an electric generator, except that the motor uses electricity to generate motion, and the generator obtains motion to generate electricity.
To learn more about the production of real electricity based on a battery of Zn / Cu / potato as a tool to better understand energy conversion to produce clean energy at home.