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Homework Help: Lorentz Force

  1. Feb 26, 2006 #1
    I'm having difficulty with this whole concept

    I understand that the Lorentz force is the force acting on a charged particle in a magnetic field, and that it is the resultant of the forces due to the electic field and the magnetic field.

    The situation which I am applying this to is a (non-ferous) wire, free to move, mounted on two parrellel rails. A current flows and a magnetic field is created between the two rails - the wire accelerates along the rails.

    I -ve
    I --->
    I +ve

    Am I correct in thinking that the force due to the electrical field simply causes the movement of the electrons through the wire? If this is the case, how does the magnetic force cause the acceleration of the wire? On what exactly does the force act on? As much detail as possible please.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2006 #2
    You can think of it as the electrons in the wire wanting to go in whichever direction, but they keep banging up against the side of the wire. They'll push the wire along and cause it to accelerate.
  4. Mar 2, 2006 #3
    Ok, so the Lorentz force acts on moving charge carriers in magnetic fields. But why? How does a magnetic flux affect an electrically charged particle?
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