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Electro-magnetic Induction

When two currents of unlike direction are brought towards each other, against their natural repulsive tendency work is done, and the consequent energy takes the form of a temporary increase in both currents. When withdrawn, in compliance with the natural tendency of repulsion, the currents are diminished in intensity, because energy is not expended on the withdrawal, but the withdrawal is at the expense of the energy of the system. The variations thus temporarily produced in the currents are examples of electro-magnetic induction. The currents have only the duration in each case of the motion of the circuits. One circuit is considered as carrying the inducer current and is termed the primary circuit and its current the primary current, the others are termed the secondary circuit and current respectively. We may assume a secondary circuit in which there is no current. It is probable that there is always an infinitely small current at least, in every closed circuit. Then an approach of the circuits will induce in the secondary an instantaneous current in the reverse direction. On separating the two circuits a temporary current in the same direction is produced in the secondary.

A current is surrounded by lines of force. The approach of two circuits, one active, involves a change in the lines of force about the secondary circuit. Lines of force and current are so intimately connected that a change in one compels a change in the other. Therefore the induced current in the secondary may be attributed to the change in the field of force in which it lies, a field maintained by the primary circuit and current. Any change in a field of force induces a current or change of current in any closed circuit in such field, lasting as long as the change is taking place. The new current will be of such direction as to oppose the change. (See Lenz's Law)

The action as referred to lines of force may be figured as the cutting of such lines by the secondary circuit, and such cutting may be brought about by moving the secondary in the field. (See Lines of Force; Field of Force) The cutting of 1E8 lines of force per second by a closed circuit induces an electro-motive force of one volt. (See Induction; Mutual)

The inter-reaction of electromagnetic lines of force with the production of currents thereby.

A current passing through a conductor establishes around it a field of force representing a series of circular lines of force concentric with the axis of the conductor and perpendicular thereto. These lines of force have attributed to them, as a representative of their polarity, direction. This is of course purely conventional. If one is supposed to be looking at the end of a section of conductor, assuming a current be passing through it towards the observer, the lines of force will have a direction opposite to the motion of the hands of a watch. The idea of direction may be referred to a magnet. In it the lines of force are assumed to go from the north pole through the air or other surrounding dielectric to the south pole.

Two parallel wires having currents passing through them in the same direction will attract each other. This is because the oppositely directed segments of lines of force between the conductors destroy each other, and the resultant of the two circles is an approximation to an ellipse. As lines of force tend to be as short as possible the conductors tend to approach each other to make the ellipse become of as small area as possible, in other words to become a circle.

If on the other hand the currents in the conductors are in opposite directions the segments of the lines of force between them will have similar directions, will, as it were, crowd the intervening ether and the wires will be repelled.


By Ampére's theory of magnetism, (see Magnetism) a magnet is assumed to be encircled by currents moving in the direction opposite to that of the hands of a watch as the observer faces the north pole. A magnet near a wire tends to place the Ampérian currentsparallel to the wire, and so that the portion of the Ampérian currentsnearest thereto will correspond in direction with the current in the wire.

This is the principle of the galvanometer. A number of methods of memoria technica have been proposed to remember it by.

Thus if we imagine a person swimming with the current and always facing the axis of the conductor, a magnetic needle held where the person is supposed to be will have its north pole deflected to the right hand of the person.


Again if we think of a corkscrew, which as it is turned screws itself along with the current, the motion of the handle shows the direction of the lines of force and the direction in which the north pole of a needle is deflected. This much is perhaps more properly electro-dynamics, but is necessary as a basis for the expression of induction.

If a current is varied in intensity in one conductor it will induce a temporary current in another conductor, part of which is parallel to the inducing current and which conductor is closed so as to form a circuit. If the inducing current is decreased the induced current in the near and parallel portion of the other circuit will be of identical direction; if increased the induced current will be of opposite direction.

This is easiest figured by thinking of the lines of force surrounding the inducing conductor. If the current is decreased these can be imagined as receiving a twist or turn contrary to their normal direction, as thereby establishing a turn or twist in the ether surrounding the other wire corresponding in direction with the direction of the original lines of force, or what is the same thing, opposite in direction to the original twist. But we may assume that the establishment of such a disturbance causes a current, which must be governed in direction with the requirements of the new lines of force.

The same reasoning applies to the opposite case.

The general statement of a variable current acting on a neighboring circuit also applies to the approach or recession of an unvarying current, and to the cutting of lines of force by a conductor at right angles thereto. For it is evident that the case of a varying current is the case of a varying number of lines of force cutting or being cut by the neighboring conductor. As lines of force always imply a current, they always imply a direction of such current. The cutting of any lines of force by a closed conductor always implies a change of position with reference to all portions of such conductor and to the current and consequently an induced current or currents in one or the other direction in the moving conductor.

As the inducing of a current represents energy abstracted from that of the inducing circuit, the direction of the induced current is determined by (Lenz's Law) the rule that the new current will increase already existing resistances or develop new ones to the disturbance of the inducing field.

In saying that a conductor cutting lines of force at right angles to itself has a current induced in it, it must be understood that if not at right angles the right angle component of the direction of the wire acts in generating the current. The case resolves itself into the number of lines of force cut at any angle by the moving wire.

The lines of force may be produced by a magnet, permanent or electro. This introduces no new element. The magnet may be referred, as regards direction of its lines of force, to its encircling currents, actual or Ampérian, and the application of the laws just cited will coverall cases.