Observation of Force and Torque in a Current Loop Using a Simplified Electric Motor

Plaridel, Neopet, Chuvaneshca Physics 72.1 FDE2 National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines motor is that for the latter, the current is made to change direction every time the coil makes a half rotation. After being forced to turn one rotation, the coil continues in motion just in time for the current to reverse, whereupon instead of the coil reversing direction, it is forced to continue another half rotation in the same direction. This happens in cyclic fashion to produce continuous rotation, which has been harnessed to run clocks, operate gadgets, and lift heavy loads. The group aims to be able to create an improvised and fully functional DC motor. The principal goal is to be able to identify the factors that determine how the coiled wire from our improvised set-up rotates in a DC motor. The direction of the magnetic field and the current flow on a conductor will also be observed and analyzed with the aid of the known governing concepts of electricity and magnetism.

I. Abstract
The group replicated a DC motor to be able to observe the force and torque present on a current loop. The motor set-up used permanent bar magnet on a DC Battery (size D) coiled fifteen times with a magnetic wire. This paper discusses our observations on how electricity and magnetism concepts apply on an actual motor through the aid of a simplified motor design. At the end of the activity, the group was able to induce a net torque effect in the coil. The coil either oscillates or rotates depending on the strength of the current and/or the magnet. With the aid of known theories on the presence of force and torque on a current loop, the group was able to observe how a motor works.

II. Introduction
A machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy is called a motor. The design of the galvanometer that was used on class is very similar to the design of an electric motor. If the design of a galvanometer was modified slightly, so that deflection makes a complete rather than a partial rotation, an electric motor is produced. The principal difference between a galvanometer and a

III. Methodology
To be able to construct a simplified model of an electric motor, the following materials are needed: a DC Battery (size D), electrical tape, copper/magnetic wire, a permanent bar magnet (and a small circular magnet if preferred), two


large safety pins, sandpaper (for smoothening out the edges of the safety pins), scissors, long nose pliers, and mechanical pliers.

IV. Results and Discussion
As noted, the principal difference between a galvanometer and a motor is that for the latter, the current is made to change direction every time the coil makes a half rotation. (1) Equation 1 defines the magnitude of a force present on a circular loop, where F is the magnitude of force present on a current loop, q is the amount of charge, v is the speed and B is the strength of magnetic field. For our DC motor set-up, the sum of the forces present is zero. This is because each of the forces present on the opposite sides of the wire cancels out thus leaving no net force on the system. In theory, a magnetic dipole moment, or simply a magnetic moment, causes the rotation on a current loop once exposed to a magnetic field. (2) Equation 2 expresses the magnetic moment as the product of the current (I) and the area (A). The concept of a magnetic dipole moment is essential in understanding why a current loop rotates once exposed to a magnetic field. A magnetic dipole of moment the quantifies the contribution system's internal

Figure 1. Coiling the wire on the battery

The wire was coiled fifteen times around the battery and secured to prevent relapse. (Winding the coil more than fifteen times on the battery will affect the magnitude of the magnetic field strength.) Excess wire was placed and stripped at the start and end points of the coil to serve as rod or shaft to suspend the coil on the support pillar provided by the safety pins. (An alternative set-up replaces the wire with a small circular magnet.) Once the current was established, the circuit was exposed to the magnetic field.

magnetism to the external dipolar magnetic field produced by the system. (3)
Figure 2 An Alternative Improvised DC Motor Set-up with a Magnet placed on the battery

Equation 3 describes the torque induced on a circular loop as the magnetic dipole moment (greek letter mu) cross the magnetic field strength (B).


For this experiment, rotating the wire fifteen times over the battery’s central body produced enough dipole moment strength to induce a net torque once the magnetic field was introduced. The initial results, however, produced a coil that only oscillates back and forth. This is because for an electric motor to undergo continuous rotation, a commutator is needed. The magnetic moment was changing directions and thus the fixed magnetic field causes the coil to turn back and forth. This is the nature of a moving magnetic moment when exposed to a fixed magnetic field. A member of the group touched the set-up and gave it an initial movement/rotation (“flick”). When this initial “flick” (that would give momentum to the coil) is exposed to the magnetic field, the relatively quick changing of the magnetic moment allows the magnetic field to induce a constant rotation since the coil already have an induced momentum.

and the coil decreases. This experiment had also confirmed that by inducing a ‘flick’ or initial movement on the DC set-up, a continuous rotation will be generated by the motor. This is because the momentum of the coil neglects the inappropriate direction of the magnetic moment that it would have to pass through.

VI. References
[1] Dobkowska, M., Gupta, A., Majcher, A., Wojewoda, K., “Simple Models of An Electric Motor”. August 6, 2008 <http://astronomy2009.saao.ac.za/fileadmin/fil es/education/astrocd/resources/GHOU/silnicze k_v1_eng.pdf> [2] Hewitt, P.G., Conceptual Physics, 9th ed., Chapter 5, Addison – Wesley / Prentice Hall USA (2004) [3] Young, H. & Freedman, R. University Physics,11th ed., Chapter 27, Addison Wesley, San Francisco California, (2004).

V. Conclusion
The group noticed that the rate of rotation increases as the distance between the magnet


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful