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Repulsion Coil

# Repulsion Coil

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Understand Lenz's Law. Build the Repulsion Coil and explore high power electromagnetic forces on a small, home lab, scale.
Understand Lenz's Law. Build the Repulsion Coil and explore high power electromagnetic forces on a small, home lab, scale.

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05/31/2013

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Electromagnetic
By varying the magneticfield you can produce anelectromotive force capa-ble of suspending anobject in the field or re-pelling itBy HAROLD STRAND
This repulsion coil packs enough power to propel a thick aluminumcylinder into the oir for a distance of two or more feet.
E
XPERIMENTS performedwith this repulsion coil enableyou to further understandsuch electromagnetic principlesas Lenz's law of induced currentand how the number of turns of wire in a transformer determinethe voltage that will be produced.Lenz's law holds that an in-duced current is always in sucha direction that the magnetic fieldbuild-up around the conductorwill oppose the magnetic fieldwhich induced it. This principleis shown in Fig. 1 where the mag-netic field built around the coilactually threw the aluminum ringin the air.The thick-wall aluminum ringacts like a closed-circuit singleturn secondary winding throughwhich the magnetic flux producedby the larger primary cuts. Thisinduces a heavy current in thering and a magnetic field aroundit and since the two fields are inopposition to each other, the re-sult is to throw the ring out of the field.
These Repulsion Forces
can beobserved by holding the ringdown with your finger when thebutton is depressed. Slowly allowthe ring to raise to its maximumpoint which will be near the topof the core. Pressing down on thering will show how the opposingfields react, because it will takeconsiderable pressure to hold itdown.
When repulsion force equals pull of grav-ity the ring can "float" on the magnetic
field.

Repulsion Coil
When near to the main coil, themaximum current is developed inthe ring and the resulting mag-netic field around the ring is alsomaximum. The reaction betweenthis strong field and that from themain coil is responsible for therepulsion effect.Heat produced in the ring whenit is held down shows why elec-trical conductors have to have asuitable cross-sectional area inorder to carry the required cur-rent without overheating. In wir-ing, this is determined by con-sulting a table which gives thesize of wire required to safelycarry a given current withoutheating.Suspend the aluminum ring onthe magnetic field (Fig. 2) byallowing it to move up the core toa point where the strength of thefield just balances the weight of the ling, or the repulsion forceequals the pull of gravity. When itis down near to the main coil andthe maximum magnetic field ispresent, the repulsion force of reaction effect greatly exceeds thepull of gravity so the ring is vio-lently thrown into the air.Transfer of Energy from onecoil to another by electromagneticinduction is another experimentthat can be conducted. This coilcan be used to show the principlesof all transformers, where a pri-mary and secondary winding areplaced on a laminated iron core.The relation of the number of turns on each winding determinesthe voltage that will be producedat the secondary.Place a portable coil of wirewith a small lamp connected toits ends over the core to act asthe secondary (Fig. 8), with themain coil as the primary. Whenheld near the top of the core thelamp will barely light, but as itis slowly moved down the core,the light increases until it burnsat full candlepower at the bottom(Fig. 9).The transformer principle worksthis way. When an alternatingcurrent is applied to the primary,an alternating magnetic fluxwhich rises and falls in step with

Notches have to be filed on the end of the plasticcore tube to clear stop pins used to hold the spool end.
the current is developed. This flux cutsthrough the turns of the secondary windingand through the laws of electromagnetic in-duction, a voltage is induced in the second-ary. If the secondary circuit is closed witha load, a current will flow. If the primaryhas 100 turns of wire and the secondary has10 turns, the ratio will be 10:1 or the voltagedeveloped in the secondary will be 1/10 of theapplied voltage or 10 volts, less a small valuefor losses and regulation.In commercial transformers the core ismade as a compact unit with a closed circuitfor the flux to be as short as possible. Thisminimizes leakage reactance.In our experiment the coil has about 800turns, or with 115 volts that is about seventurns per volt. Theoretically this would callfor about 7 x 6.3 or 44.1 turns on the second-ary to light a 6.3-volt pilot lamp. There are,however, certain iron and copper losses andmost important in this case the core does notprovide a closed path for the flux but issimply a bundle of straight iron strips andthe flux has to pass through the air in itspath from the top to the lower end so thecore, as a transformer is very inefficient.Therefore, you have to add more turns tooffset these losses.From experiment it was found that about78 turns on the secondary will producearound 6 volts to the lamp when the coilwas fully down on the base and only about1 volt while near the top.
This Difference in Voltage
is due to thefact that when at the top of the core, themaximum flux lines cannot cut throughthe secondary winding. The flux is weak atthis point so a weak voltage is induced. Onthe other hand, the greatest amount of fluxcan link through the turns when the coil isdown close to the main coil so maximumvoltage is developed. A secondary coil de-signed to be adjustable is the principle of aregulating transformer used for special ap-plications requiring variable voltage.You can demonstrate the principles ex-plained very easily with your repulsion coilby following the methods described. With alittle ingenuity you should be able to work out other interesting experiments.When operating the coil, do not hold theswitch button depressed any longer than nec-essary to perform the experiment, becausethe coil may overheat. It is designed to carrythe maximum amount of current it will standin order to provide good repulsion for thealuminum ling. Continuous use would causean overload on the winding. If the coil be-comes quite warm after a number of experi-ments, allow it to cool a while before con-tinuing.
Start Construction
(Fig. 3) by making upthe iron core. Cut enough pieces of 1/2-in.-wide and 6-in.-long soft sheet metal (see Ma-terials list) so that when clamped tightlytogether they make a stack about 9/16 in.thick. You can use almost any soft steel,except galvanized iron or turned sheet steeland the thickness is not too important. I usedstock that was 1/32 in. thick.Clamp the stock together and drill 1/8-in.holes for three iron rivets (Fig. 3). Also drillthe two small holes used for pin stops thathold the plastic coil spools. Round the cor-
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SCIENCE nnd MECHANICS