Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Q: Electromagnet - Insulated vs Bare

  1. Sep 15, 2012 #1
    There is a post on this forum stating that the insulation should be left on the wire to prevent a short circuit thus making the electromagnet ineffective. Lost the link and can't find it now.
    But I am finding multiple articles on the internet that are using bare wire.
    Ex of bare: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Electromagnet
    Ex of insulated: http://www.energizer.com/learning-center/science-center/Pages/make-electromagnet.aspx
    There are multiples on the web of both versions of creating the electromagnet, both insulated and non.

    Why is either version working? Is there a right way or a wrong way?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2012 #2
    The information provided in first article is incorrect. Look at the pictures, they seem to be just collected from here and there. The cable in first picture is different, wires are smaller. Then in next two pictures the wire is thicker. And see, if the wire is not insulated, the iron nail would short circuit it.

    Ideally, the coil wire should always have insulation on it. The wire for making coils, using in transformers, inductors etc. comes with a tiny varnish or enamel coating so the insulation is very thin. This type of wire visibly looks like non-insulated but its not. The closer the turns of coil are, the better its inductance - this is why special enamel coated wire is used - it allows you to make turns very close but still insulated.

    If you use an ordinary non-insulated wire, one possible thing to do, is carefully wind the turns close but not touching each other. But this way inductance wont be very good.
  4. Sep 16, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    so true .... gosh I cant believe how much garbage there is on the net for something that is so simple to make
    I even left a message posted on the first link stating the pobvious fault ;)

  5. Sep 16, 2012 #4
    Thank you both for confirmation.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook