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Magnetic Field in a Slinky

Submitted by PocketLab on Thu, 06/01/2017 - 19:27

Exploration

Until the late 1800’s, electricity and magnetism were regarded as separate forces. A number of scientists, including Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, made important discoveries which led to our current understanding of electricity and magnetism. The interaction between positive and negative charges is, in fact, one force, the electromagnetic force, which results in both electrical currents and magnetic fields.

With a PocketLab and an electric current running through a metal Slinky, this connection between electricity and magnetism can be observed.

Objective

In this experiment, students will:
1. Explore how the magnetic field changes as an electrical current flows through a slinky.
2. Determine how the magnetic field changes as the direction of the current changes. 
3. Determine how the magnetic field changes as the strength of the current changes.
4. Explain how electricity and magnetic fields are related.

Download PDF for complete lab activity

Electric current through coil diagram
Grade Level