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The earth possesses a magnetic field, as anyone who has used a compass knows. Although
the existence of the field is no doubt related to the presence of ferromagnetic iron in the earth's core,
the mechanism by which the field arises is imperfectly understood. The symmetry of the field is
similar to that of a bar magnet or to the field generated by current flowing in a circular coil. the
object of this experiment is to measure the magnitude the direction of the earth's field at one station
in the laboratory. The device used is called a rotating coil magnetometer and is based on the
principle of electromagnetic induction.
Theory and Apparatus
By definition, the direction of a magnetic induction field, B, is the direction in which the
north pole of a freely-suspended compass needle points when at rest in the field. Thus B is a vector
quantity. The magnitude or strength of the field is defined in terms of the force which the field
exerts on a charged particle moving in it. This definition, however, is rather awkward to apply in
actual measurements of B. In this experiment, B will be obtained from a measurement of the emf
induced in a rotating coil.
From experiments with magnetic compasses and magnetometers, the large scale symmetry
of the earth's field is known to resemble the sketch below in Fig. 1.
At some arbitrary location on the earth's surface B has both a horizontal and a vertical
component as shown in Fig. 2. The angle % which B makes with the horizontal is called the angle
of dip. At any point on the equator the field is horizontal (i.e., Bv = 0). At the poles it is vertical
(i.e., Bh = 0).

The Magnetometer and Principles of Operation Magnetic field will be measured with a device called a rotating coil magnetometer. say coil S. The magnetometer you are supplied with is only for student use. Fig. Faraday's law gives the induced emf as d ÆB . is placed in a magnetic field of strength B.coils C . but the principles are the same. centrally-located search coil .and the smaller. Coil S is rotatable. B. 2 . 2 Angle of dip of earth's magnetic field. say the earth's field. Examine the instrument and identify the two large Helmholtz coils .coil S. by varying the magnetic induction. 2. Method 2 is used here. "Magnetic Induction Field of a Circular Coil". and by rotating the coil about an appropriate axis when the field is constant. Fig. having much larger dimensions than the ones manufactured commercially. When a coil of wire. Two are of interest to us: 1. being attached to a shaft. an emf can be induced in the coil by changing the flux through the coil. 1 Symmetry of earth's magnetic field. with time. when the coil is held stationary. Method 1 is employed in the experiment. driven by a small electric motor. e=dt The flux can be changed in a number of different ways. If iB is the magnetic flux through the coil.

This is because when an AC voltage is applied to the multimeter set to the AC volts mode the signal is first rectified and then filtered. however.and hence sample either Bv or Bh. Then by definition. If the motor rotates the coil at an angular velocity/frequency of ω rad sec. The multimeter. appearing across the terminals labelled `rotating coil' on the magnetometer. and at an angle q with respect to the normal to the plane of the coil. peak-to-peak (pp) values are obtained as shown below in Fig. 3 on the next page represent coil S. the emf will be measured with the multimeter. 3 . Æ B = nBa cos q. The result is a DC voltage equal to the root-mean-square of the AC input. For a coil with n turns of wire. Peak-to-Peak and RMS Detection For the most part. Fig. Suppose B is perpendicular to the axis of rotation. When the oscilloscope is used.-1. But an oscilloscope can also be used. the magnetic flux through the coil is given by the area of the coil and B is the absolute value of the field strength. 3 The Rotating Coil. then θ = ωt and from eqs (1) and (2). 4 Relationship between sinusoidal signal and its DC root-mean-square. 4. Note that the apparatus can be laid flat or tipped up on end. displays a root-mean-square (rms) value. Fig. This enables the search coil to be rotated about either a horizontal or a vertical axis .Let Fig. e(t) = naBw sin w t = e o sin w t This emf. can be measured. It is large enough not to require amplification.

Before switching on. Fig. 5 Front view of Philips oscilloscope The following familiarization routine is intended only for those students who have not used a scope before and is designed to yield a Lissajous figure . It is a dual beam device. 4 .beam B. carry out the following checks: 1. e rms = 1 2 2 e pp and e pp = 2 e o = 2 2 e rms . As can be seen from the figure there are too many controls for each one of them to be discussed separately here.That is.An Introduction Fig. The Oscilloscope .a necessary condition for measuring frequency in this experiment. but you will use only one beam . 4 shows a front view of the Philips model PM3232 oscilloscope used in this experiment. intensity control mid-range.

Connect the HP model 200AB signal generator to the A-input 5 . The two signals thus superimposed at right angles produce a Lissajous figure. the signals are of the same frequency and the value can be read off the dial of the signal generator. in `via YA' position. the B-input of the scope and put a Philips multimeter in parallel with the input. 6. vary the frequency of the standard signal until you obtain a Lissajous figure which is recognizable. 9. 3. Time base control fully counter-clockwise. Note that the A-input signal provides the time base. Rotate the A. Now switch on the scope and allow 15 sec. A. The signal whose frequency is to be measured is applied to the YB-input of the scope and the output of a signal generator is applied to the YA-input (switched to time base). 8. 4. The Experiment Assembly and Trial Run Begin by assembling the apparatus.`Rotating Coil' .2. X-position and YB-position midrange. 6 shows two useful ones. Measuring Frequency In this experiment the frequency of a signal is measured using the technique of Lissajous figures. Plug the motor which rotates coil S into the variac. Fig. variable controls in `cal' position.and B-amplification controls fully counter-clockwise. for warm up. 7. if a circle is obtained. 5. Finally. Apply the signal to be studied to the B-input and the standard signal (from the signal generator) to the A-input. A-input and B-input lever switches in AC position. A and B beam selectors `in'.and B-amplification controls clockwise until you observe a figure of useful size. Connect the output of coil S .

Why? The Field to be Measured Your job is to measure the magnitude and direction of the earth's magnetic field where your apparatus happens to be located. Direct Method Use your knowledge of the direction of Bh to orient the apparatus so as to sample Bh and Bv separately. respectively (Clark's Tables. Ontario. SQ78 6 . Once the two fields are equal and opposite the output ε should read zero for any value of ω. try following the familiarization routine in the previous section. Get the coil spinning at a modest rate and vary the frequency of the generator until you obtain a Lissajous figure.154 and 0. of T. have yielded 0. a null method. 1965). How must the apparatus be oriented so that only one component is sampled at a time? Make sure to measure ε and ω (=2π f) simultaneously. The Lissajous figure is not always stationary. Null Method Null methods generally yield more precise results than direct methods. given by 8 m o NI B= (5)3/2 R where mo = 4π x 10-7 Weber Ampere-1 meter-1 N = number of turns in a single coil I = current in the coils R = radius of the coils Measurements of Bh and Bv at Agincourt. The component being measured must then equal the field produced by the coils at their geometrical centre. To get a feeling for the direction of the field use a compass and dip needle. One is a direct method.563 x 10-4 Tesla. In this null method a DC current (from the U.of the scope. the other. There are two methods by which the magnetometer can be used to measure the earth's field. power supply) is passed through the pair of Helmholtz coils to produce a magnetic field in opposition to the component of the earth's field under study. if the controls on the scope are confusing. What is the angle of dip? Note carefully the direction of Bh.