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Force on current carrying conductor

Physics (Year 12) - Electro-magnetism

Dev Lohar

Magnetic force on current-carrying conductors

As we learnt in the previous section that a moving charged particle inside a magnetic field experiences a force, a current-carrying conductor (basically another word for wire) also experiences a force when placed inside a magnetic field. The magnitude of this force is given by the following equation:

Just like the force on a charged particle, the force on a current-carrying conductor is maximum when the conductor is perpendicular to the magnetic field. If it is parallel, then it will experience 0 force.


The direction of the force can be determined by using the right hand palm rule. The only change here is that instead of your thumb pointing in the direction that a charged particle is moving, your thumb should point in the direction that the current is moving in along the conductor. Everything else stays the same.

Try to understand this sub-topic to the best of your ability as it is an important foundation to understand how DC motors work; which will be explained in the next section.

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