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EXPERIMENT 4: THE MAGNETIC FIELD OUTSIDE A STRAIGHT CONDUCTOR

1. AIM:
The Bio-Savart law states that when a current flows through a finite straight
conductor or two parallel straight conductors, a magnetic field is produced around
them as the current flows. The aim of this experiment was to determine the
dependence of this magnetic field on the distance of separation between the
conductors and the current supplied.
2. APPARATUS:
Magnetic probe
Current transformer
Large rectangular loop of a conductor
Loop with two parallel conductors
Power supply
Ammeter

3. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE

3.1. PROCEDURE

The first part of the experiment was to measure the magnetic field (B) outside a
straight conductor as a function of current (I) flowing through the conductor. The
larger rectangular loop was used. It was fed through the small black secondary loop
that was used to measure the current. The loop was mounted with the wing nuts and
the wing nuts were tightened to avoid the contacts heating up. Then a current of 10 A
was applied using the power supply and the magnetic field was measure in mT using
the magnetic probe. This was repeated for the current from 10 A to 120 A in steps of
10A while measuring the magnetic field at each current. The value of the magnetic
field and the current was noted and recorded.

For the second part of the experiment, the purpose was to measure the magnetic field
outside a straight conductor as a function of distance from the conductor. The same
rectangular loop in the first part was used, the current was then set to 100 A. The
magnetic probe was placed very close to the conducting loop, this point was taken as
the reference for the distance, and the magnetic field was recorded at this distance
from the conductor. The probe was then moved away from the conductor at a relative
distance of 1 cm, and the magnetic field was recorded at each distance away from the
conductor for at least 10 points. The current was switched off before removing the
loop.

The loop was then replaced with a different loop with a big loop of parallel
conductors, this was to measure the magnetic field as a function of distance in parallel
conductors with the current in the same direction and opposite directions. For the first
section of the third part, a big loop with two parallel conductors and current in the
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same direction was used. The current was set to 100 A. The distance of the probe was
set at 6 cm away from the conductor and it was moved closer by an interval of a
centimeter towards the conductor, the magnetic field outside the conductor was
measured after every cm until the conductor was touched. The probe was then moved
in between the two parallel conductors, the magnetic field between these conductors
was also measured as a function of a distance, and this was done for at least 6 cm. The
current was switched off before removing the loop.

For the second section of the third part, a loop with current in the opposite direction
was used. The current was again set to 100 A, and the magnetic field was measure at
3cm away from the conductor, the probe was moved by half a centimeter and the
magnetic field was measured at each distance, six values were recorded outside the
conductor. The probe was then placed n between the conductors of opposite current, it
was moved by half centimeter and the magnetic field was measure as a function of the
distance. The probe was then move outside the conductor and moved 3 cm away from
the conductor by half a centimeter interval, the magnetic field was measured as a
function of the distance. The values of the distance and the magnetic field were
recorded. The current and the whole setup was switched off, loops were removed
from the setup and the experiment was concluded.

3.2.EXPERIMENTAL SETUP

Figure1: Experimental setup

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4. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

Table 4.1: Part one with I=100 A
Current I (A) Magnetic field B (mT)
0 0.02
10 0.03
20 0.06
30 0.10
40 0.13
50 0.17
60 0.20
70 0.24
80 0.28
90 0.31
100 0.35
110 0.38
120 0.41

Table 4.2: Part two with I=100 A
Distance (cm) Magnetic field B (mT)
0 (57) 2.80
1 (58) 1.23
2 (59) 0.68
3 (60) 0.43
4 (61) 0.32
5 (62) 0.25
6 (63) 0.20
7 (64) 0.16
8 (65) 0.14
9 (66) 0.12
10 (67) 0.10

Table 4.3: Part three A with I=100 A (current in same direction)
Distance (cm) Magnetic field B (mT)
Towards the conductor
0 0.16
1 0.17
2 0.24
3 0.36
4 0.59
5 1.13
Between the parallel conductors
6 0.90
7 0.37
8 0.14
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9 0.05
10 0.32
11 2.00
Away from the conductor
12 1.55
13 0.87
14 0.63
15 0.54
16 0.48
17 0.44

Table 4.4: Part 3 B with I=100 A (current in opposite direction)
Distance (cm) Magnetic field B (mT)
Towards the conductor
0 0.30
1 0.37
2 0.46
3 0.63
4 0.87
5 1.41
Between the conductors
6 4.04
7 3.87
8 4.35
9 5.73
10 3.00
Away from the conductor
11 1.40
12 1.00
13 0.54
14 0.42
15 0.35

5. DATA ANALYSIS
Table 5.1: For graph 1
ln(I) ln (B)
2.302585 -3.50656
2.995732 -2.81341
3.401197 -2.30259
3.688879 -2.04022
3.912023 -1.77196
4.094345 -1.60944
4.248495 -1.42712
4.382027 -1.27297
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4.49981 -1.17118
4.60517 -1.04982
4.70048 -0.96758
4.787492 -0.8916

Table 5.2: For graph 2
Distance(1/r) Magnetic field(B)
1 1.23
0.5 0.68
0.33 0.43
0.25 0.32
0.2 0.25
0.167 0.2
0.143 0.16
0.125 0.14
0.111 0.12
0.1 0.1

6. DISCUSSION

From the table 4.1 and the graph of ln(B) vs ln(I) it can be observed that the magnetic
field B around the conductor increases linearly with the increase in current. As the
current is increased, the magnetic field outside the conductor also increases, and this
makes sense because from Bio-Savart law it is known that when a current flows inside
a conductor it produces a magnetic field and when current flows it produces its own
magnetic field, and so this results in strong magnetic field with higher currents.

However the magnetic field outside a straight conductor does not only depend on the
current supplied, it also depends on the distance with which the magnetic field is
measured from and the distance of separation between the two parallel conductors.
From table 4.2 and the graph of B vs l/r, it is can be clearly observed that from this
experiment it was determined that the magnetic field outside the conductor increases
linearly with the inverse of the distance (1/r). The further away from the conductor the
weaker the magnetic field and closer to the conductor, the stronger the magnetic field.
Basically the magnetic field is stronger around the conductor than further away from
the conductor, and this is what was expected because from the formula of calculating
the magnetic field it can be seen that the magnetic field is a function of 1/r, the closer
the distance the bigger the magnetic field.

The tables 4.3, 4.4 and the graphs 3 and 2 indeed verify what was explained in the
above paragraph. For the first section of the third part of the experiment a loop with
current flowing in the same direction was used. When the probe was placed 5cm away
from the conductor the magnetic field was weaker, when it was then moved towards
the conductor the magnetic field was increasing and from graph 3 it is seen that the
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magnetic field was increasing exponentially. Between the two parallel conductors
with current flowing in the same direction, the graph shows that the magnetic field
decreases exponentially until the its at center of the distance between the conductors,
where it drops to almost zero and then increases again when it is moved towards the
second conductor. Close to the second conductor the magnetic field goes to maximum
and the decreases exponentially as it is moved away from the second conductor. This
was expected, using Flemings right hand rule to determine the direction of the
magnetic field around the parallel conductors with current flowing in the same
direction it was observed that the magnetic fields cancel each other at the center of the
distance between the conductors. This is why the magnetic field is approximately zero
at the center.

From Flemings right hand rule, it was determined that the magnetic fields of the two
conductors with currents in opposite directions add up together which results in the
magnetic fields doubling up in between the conductors. This is confirmed by table 4.3
and the graph of B vs r. From the graph 4 it is observed that the magnetic field still
increases exponentially when measured towards the first conductor, as it was
discussed that when the currents are in the same direction the magnetic field between
the two conductors is zero. From this graph it is observed that between the conductors
the magnetic field is actually stronger than on the outside of the conductors. This is
because the magnetic field adds up in between the conductors as determined by
Flemings right hand rule. The magnetic field decreases as it is moved away from the
second conductor as expected.

From the regression analysis of this experiment the slope m of the best fit line for
the first graph was calculated as well as the error in the slope. For the graph of ln(B)
vs ln(I) the slope was found to be m=1.061 and the error Sm=0.022. For the graph of
B vs 1/r the slope was calculated to be m=1.2687 and the err Sm=0.03806. The
theoretical value of the magnetic field constant is o=1.26

. For this
experiment the magnetic field constant was calculated to be o=7.97

,
which is approximately the same as the theoretical value.

7. CONCLUSION

The relationship between the magnetic field and the current supplied as well as the
distance of separation between the two parallel conductors, with currents in opposite
direction and same direction was determined. It is concluded that the magnetic field
outside a straight conductor has a linearly increasing relationship with the current
supplied and a linearly increasing relation with the inverse of the distance. From the
regression analysis and the errors, it is also concluded that the results from this
experiment are reliable and acceptable since the errors in the slopes are very small.
The magnetic field constant is very close to the theoretical value.

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8. QUESTIONS

a). 2) The relationship between the magnetic field B and the current I is a linearly
increasing relationship.

c) The graphs are both exponentially for the first and last sections of the graphs, the
graph of B vs r( current in same direction) is parabolic in the middle section while the
graph of B vs r (currents in opposite directions) is not parabolic, instead it just keeps
on increasing in the middle section.

REFERENCES
1. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/magnetic/biosav.html