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Best type of wire for magnetic field?

  1. Sep 21, 2013 #1
    I'm looking at getting a lengthy piece of wire, looping it around into either a circle or an ellipse and running a current through it to get a magnetic field, however I'm unsure what type of wire to go for? There's enamel copper wire and the standard aluminum wire. Which one will give me the better, or stronger, magnetic field? Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2013 #2

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    The magnetic field will be determined by the amount of current flow through the wire.
    However, a single wire has a low resistance and can either burn out your power source, or heat up so much that it starts a fire. Have you ever worked with electronic circuits before at all? Do you know Ohm's Law?
     
  4. Sep 21, 2013 #3
    Yes I'm familiar with all of that. This is for a 3rd year electromagnetism course. We have the necessary impedance in place. Just wondering which type of wire is best suited for a magnetic field? I think it's the enamel copper, but just want to confirm.
     
  5. Sep 21, 2013 #4

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    To my limited knowledge, neither wire is "better". The magnetic field will depend only on the amount of current, which in turn depends on the voltage applied and the resistance of the wire. Of course, an enameled wire may be preferable to a bare one, since you don't have to worry about it shorting out if something touches it.
     
  6. Sep 21, 2013 #5
    Hmm perhaps you're right. I just thought that the wire with the better conductivity would be 'best', which in this case is the enamel copper.
     
  7. Sep 21, 2013 #6

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Since you said you already have your impedance set up, then I assume you plan on limiting the amount of current flow through the wire. In this case I'd say that either of them will work fine. You can always increase or decrease the impedance if you want more current flow. But neither wire is really any better than the other in terms of supporting a magnetic field.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2013 #7
    Thanks for that.
     
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