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Question about right hand rule (magnetism)

  1. Jan 12, 2013 #1
    Is the right hand rule for determining the direction of the magnetic field, force, and current only used when the aforementioned vectors are orthogonal to each other? Or, can the RHR be used in other cases as well?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2013 #2


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    When aren't they orthogonal?
  4. Jan 12, 2013 #3
    They're not always orthogonal I think. The formula for the magnetic force on a charged particle:
    F = qvB sin(theta). The sin is the angle between the velocity vector of the charged particle and the magnetic field, and it doesn't have to be 90.
  5. Jan 12, 2013 #4
    Example: A wire with current going through it has a force applied to it which makes it move. The force could be at any angle but only the portion of the force which is orthogonal to the current will make a magnetic field (which is orthogonal to both the current and the portion of force which is orthogonal to the current.

    I hope that makes sense.
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