Electromagnets and Their Uses

A magnet whose magnetic field is created by an electric current is known as Electromagnet. An electromagnet consists of a soft iron core wound with a coil of conductor wires.

When a direct electric current is passed through the coil of the electromagnet a magnetic field is created around it. Since the magnetic field of electromagnet is a function of electric current flowing through the coil hence, the magnetic field can be alter by changing the amount of electric current. And its polarity can be changed by changing the direction of electric current.

Electromagnets are temporary magnets because they can be demagnetized by reducing the current through the coil to zero. But still there may be some residual magnetism.

Uses of Electromagnets

Electromagnets are used in

  • Electrical machines like generators, motors, transformers.

  • Relays and valves

  • Electric buzzers and bells

  • Loudspeakers and headphones

  • Memory Storage Devices like hard disks, VCRs, Tape recorders, magnetic drums etc.

  • Induction cooker

  • MRI machines

  • Mass spectrometers

  • Particle Accelerators

  • Magnetic Separators

  • Spacecraft Propulsion System

  • Induction Heating

  • Electromechanical solenoids

  • Musical Instruments

Uses of Electromagnets in Home Appliances

Most of the home electric appliances use electromagnets for their operation. Some of them include an electric fan, electric bell, magnetic locks, induction cooker, loudspeakers etc. In the electric fan, the electromagnetic induction keeps the fan motor rotating on which in turn makes the blades of the fan to rotate.

Also in an electric doorbell, when the button is pressed due to flow of current through the coil, electromagnet is created and the bell sounds.

In an induction cooker due to the electromagnetic induction, the body of the subject is heated by induced eddy currents.

Uses of Electromagnets in Memory Storage Devices

The magnetic storage devices are used to store the binary data by magnetising and demagnetising the storage magnetic material of the device. Some examples of magnetic storage devices are hard disks, magnetic drums, magnetic tapes, VCR etc.

Uses of Electromagnets in Medical

A well-known medical device MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses electromagnets. The device can scan all the details in human body with help of electromagnetism.

Uses of Electromagnets in Communication Devices

All the communication devices like telephones and mobiles uses electromagnetic waves for their operation.

Uses of Electromagnets in Power Generation, Transmission and Utilization

As the electric generators, transformers, electric motors and other inductive loads operate on the principle of electromagnetic induction. Hence, the electromagnets play a vital role in the generation, transmission and utilization of electricity.

Industrial uses of Electromagnets

Electromagnets are also used in industries for picking up and moving heavy iron objects like scrap iron and steel.