Exploration 27.1: Map Field Lines and Determine Forces

add a wire with current: and/or the computer screen

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

In the animation there is an object underneath the gray circle that creates a magnetic field. Restart.

  1. Use the compass to determine the direction of the magnetic field. Sketch the vector field and the field lines for each configuration.
  2. Check your field-line diagrams by double-clicking on the animation to show a field line at the location of the mouse.

Add a wire with current coming out of the screen (electrons moving into the screen). Click-drag the wire to move it around. The arrow shows the direction of the force on the wire.

  1. Explain why the force vector points the way it does at two different locations of the wire for each configuration.
  2. If the current was in the other direction, what direction would the force be at the two locations you chose? Explain.
  3. Check your answer by adding a wire with current going into the screen.

Download PDF Worksheet

Exploration authored by Anne J. Cox.

Physlets were developed at Davidson College and converted from Java to JavaScript using the SwingJS system developed at St. Olaf College.

OSP Projects:
Open Source Physics - EJS Modeling
Physlet Physics
Physlet Quantum Physics
STP Book