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Old Feb 19th 2009, 05:22 AM   #1
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Field Strength in an Electromagnet

In electromagnets, does the magnetic field increase in strength towards the middle of the column of coils? I'm under the impression that it does, however, I may be wrong. Either way, I'd like to know why.

I was also wondering whether or not the magnetic field strength in a soft iron core surrounded by coils of wire would be stronger near the edges of the iron core compared to the middle.

Expalnations would be much appreciated.

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Old Mar 10th 2009, 11:09 AM   #2
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Nice question. Maybe you feel that the electromagnet has a larger field at its centre because small iron objects get sucked into it and stay at the centre. What actually happens is that the coil has a north at one end and a south at the other. So logically at the centre it is neither north nor south and the small object experiences no net force and stays there giving the impression that since it is stuck there, the field is strongest there. Actually i feel that the field within the coil is uniform except at the edges.
When an iron core is introduced the object naturally gets stuck at the edges giving the other impression.
A popular question is ; given 2 iron bars which look identical find which one is a magnet without suspending them. Hold any one bar vertical and slide the edge of the other bar across it. If the sliding bar experiences a constant force of attraction along the entire length of the stationary bar, the sliding bar is the magnet. If the force of attracton diminishes towards the centre and again increases, the stationary bar is the magnet because since one end is north and the other south, the centre point is neither and no attraction is felt there
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