In the 1800s, a scientist named Michael Faraday made significant contributions to the study of electricity, magnetism and chemistry. One of his most influential contributions was the discovery of electromagnetic induction. Electromagnetic induction is when an electric current is induced. It occurs when a conductor is placed in the presence of a changing magnetic field.

You can recreate Faraday’s electromagnetic induction experiment with the instructions below.

Supplies

Steps

  1. If you purchased coiled wire that is wrapped around a tube with a hole in it, then leave it on the tube as you will need it for the experiment. If you just have some wire, then wrap it tightly around a hollow shape like an empty tissue paper roll.
  2. A galvanometer measures small electrical current or voltage. Attach the ends of the wire to the connecting galvanometer pieces.
  3. Observe and note the reading on the galvanometer.
  4. Place the bar magnet inside the tube and note the reading on the galvanometer again.

Did the reading change? If so, how and why? These are all good questions to ask while doing this experiment. Try moving the bar magnet in and out of the tube and notice how the galvanometer fluctuates. What causes this?

The conductor━the coiled copper wire━is exposed to a changing magnetic field━the moving bar magnet. This interaction is a simple display of electromagnetic induction at work. In simple terms, the moving magnet causes the electrons in the wire to move.