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Electricity generation without using magnet

  1. Jul 6, 2008 #1
    would like to ask, is that possible to generate electricity without using available electric and magnet?

    is that if we don't have magnet, we wouldn't have electricity?

    could the positive or negative field be gathered without using the magnet?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2008 #2


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    You can generate electricity by many methods without magnetic fields: chemical (batteries and fuel cells), solar (photovoltaic cells), and thermal (thermocouples, Seebeck effect). There are many biological generators as well (nerve and muscle tissues in your body) in addition to the obvious electric eels.
  4. Jul 10, 2008 #3
    magnetism is based everywhere.. infact all natural forces together constitute matter, ie an atom is stable because of soo many factors..... factor also includes magnetism. hence if we say chemical energy is without magnetism...it is wrong.

    ofcourse but we can produce electricity without magnets, ie by converting chemical energy into electricity.
  5. Jul 10, 2008 #4
    You can generate electricty by rubbing your hands together... or more effienciently by rubbing cat furr on glass. Any sort of rubbing causes electrons to move and starts a chain reaction called electricty.
  6. Jul 10, 2008 #5
    Yes, it is possible to generate electric current by a chemical reaction, this is how disposable batteries work, for example.

    I think you mean positive and negative charges, and yes they can be accumulated without magnets. This is also known as "static electricity", that sometimes shocks you when you touch metal after rubbing frictious materials together.
  7. May 4, 2010 #6
    Sorry for reviving this old thread but i thought that it would be better than creating a new redundant thread.

    I have the same question but modified a little bit. Can large amount of electricity easily be created without using magnets?

    Why do i ask that? Well, for we to have magnets we have to have electricity. Power plants use electromagnets which are powerful magnets generated by electricity. But for the electricity to be there for the electromagnets in the first place we have to have actual magnets to generate electricity. So, it feels like chasing after the chicken and the egg terminology here.

    Therefore, i was wondering if something was done before that or if there is anything i am missing in the first place.
  8. May 4, 2010 #7
    Linear Technology has just announced a new batteryless integrated circuit that "harvests" mechanical vibrational energy using a piezoelectric transducer to produce electrical energy for powering integrated circuits. See


    See datasheet at

    http://cds.linear.com/docs/Datasheet/35881f.pdf [Broken]

    Bob S
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. May 4, 2010 #8
    That's really cool but that is low voltage for ICs. My question was about large power energy generation.

    Maybe to be more specific. I know power plants require electromagnets to generate electricity but for there to be electromagnets there have to be electricity first but for there to be electricity there have to be magnets. So, how i am in the magnet (chicken) and electricity (egg) infinite recursion problem.
  10. May 4, 2010 #9


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    As said before, you can make as much as you want (and are willing to pay for!) with solar panels, thermocouples, piezo materials, etc.
    I guess it is, but it has very little effect on the efficiency of generators.
  11. May 4, 2010 #10
    No, it isn't an infinite recursion problem, it ends in a battery ! In a commercial power plant, the batteries flash the field in the generator (energizing the field coils); then rotating the generator makes the electricity flow. No permanent magnets required. The original current from the batteries is chemical based (lead in acid). That's it.
  12. May 5, 2010 #11

    nothing is done before that..! what happens is the core of the electromagnet retains a small part of the magnetic field whenever stopped. small amount of initial magnetic field is enough to get the generator started and in minutes completely magnetizes the core..! this magnetic field is used to produce electricity, small amount of energy does get discharged in producing the magnetic field but it is still convenient to have electromagnets instead of permanent magnets for it is too heavy and does not provide a provision to stop its magnetic interference when undesired.
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  13. May 5, 2010 #12


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    Starting a power station from scratch is tricky. It's called a black start and involves having lots of backup diesel generators to start the main turbines and generators spinning and to operate things like feed water pumps and air blowers.
    Getting an initial field in the generator windings is generally the least of your problems.

    It's more of a problem in micro-power systems (like small windturbines) a common solution is a DC generator with permanent magnets and a PWM circuit to synthesis AC.
  14. May 5, 2010 #13
    Thanks for the replies. Now this is getting better.

    So, it means that starting from scratch is indeed a problem. First we have to create lead batteries and so on and the after having certain tools ready like permanent magnets and so on then we can actually start the plant generator easily. Is that what is happening?

    Then to answer my own question, it means that that the source of energy that gives the start to generate electricity comes from actually an external source which has to be prepared before hand. Is that right?
  15. May 5, 2010 #14


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    You can make AC motors with permanent magnets if you wanted, but for large power stations it's more efficient to simply energize the main windings with a backup supply (either batteries or a DC generator)

    In spite of DeepSeeded's excellent suggestion no major power stations keep a supply of cats on hand as an emergency black start electron source.
  16. May 5, 2010 #15
    Ok. But still, in my mind the problem is that to make permanent magnets one would still need some power source to actually store the energy into the magnets when you make permanent magnets for the first time. And so it is the same for the batteries. You need power source to power up the industry or machinery that makes batteries.
  17. May 5, 2010 #16


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    No, you can make a magnet by just hitting a piece of metal.

    But not electricty, you can make a battery with two metals dug out of the ground and put in a beaker of acid
  18. May 5, 2010 #17
    That is new to me. Is there anywhere can find more information about it? I thought that magnets where metal alloys where you have to charge them up with energy otherwise they would be just a regular metal.

    Cool. Some manual labor but doable.
  19. May 8, 2010 #18
    The external source is already available. I read somewhere that some types of big generators are aligned N-S to minimize voltages induced in the rotating armature by the Earth's magnetic field. So an unshielded rotating coil with its axis perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field will generate a voltage.

    Bob S.
  20. Jul 2, 2010 #19
    No, you have not understood it right. See take a small nut and coil it with a piece wire. pass current through it..... what you make is an electromagnet..... keep it running for sometime.
    later once the battery is removed.....check if the nut still has magnetic field around it. you will notice that it still has some. it is because the nut retains some magnetic field.
    similarly the core also retains some magnetic field when switched off...... whenever it is restarted, this leftover magnetic field is enough to initially start the generator. and then electricity hence produced is used to magnetize the core to the optimum level.

    this eliminates the requirement of lead acid batteries or any other power source to start. and hence is not tricky at all initially.

    i hope this makes it little more easier to understand.
  21. Jul 2, 2010 #20
    loadstone ...... consisting mainly of magnetite, an ore of iron, is the first known magnet to man.
    magnetism is a property of ferrous metal, ie, iron and very few allied metals.

    you will get good info about magnetism here.......
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