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Does a straight wire or Electron have a north and south magnetic pole?

  1. Jan 15, 2013 #1
    So does a wire actually have a magnetic north and south pole? I know a coil of wire will form one but a straight wire will only attract another wire if the other wire's current is going in the opposite direction and repel if in the same direction. I have looked for images and they always just show a magnetic field circling the wire with no apparent end like a bar magnet or coil of wire has.


    2nd.
    Does a electron in motion have a magnetic north or south?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2013 #2

    sophiecentaur

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    You need to ask yourself what a magnetic pole is. What is it about a coil that produces 'poles'? You could even ask 'where' the actual pole of a coil of wire is. You have seen pictures of the field lines around various arrangements of wires and magnets.
    Magnetic lines of flux are continuous and it's only in localised regions where they are closer together that we can identify a magnetic pole.
    Straight wires and travelling electrons will generate a field but that field is symmetrical around the line of charge flow and are not 'scrunched up' anywhere.
     
  4. Jan 15, 2013 #3
    So then that is why it is said that magnetic fields don't end or start at anywhere? Electric charges have a start point and end point obviously but then a magnetic field doesn't actually have any start or end right?
     
  5. Jan 15, 2013 #4

    sophiecentaur

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    Correct. The two fields are very different in that respect.
     
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