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This force is responsible for the pinch effect in electric arcs and plasmas. The force exists whether the currents are in wires or not. In an electric arc, where currents are moving parallel to one another, there is an attraction that squeezes currents into a smaller tube. In large circuit breakers, like those used in neighborhood power distribution systems, the pinch effect can concentrate an arc between plates of a switch trying to break a large current, burn holes, and even ignite the equipment. Another example of the pinch effect is found in the solar plasma, where jets of ionized material, such as solar flares, are shaped by magnetic forces.

The operational definition of the ampere is based on the force between current-carrying wires. Note that for parallel wires separated by 1 meter with each carrying 1 ampere, the force per meter is

F l = × 10 7 T m/A 1 A 2 2 π 1 m = 2 × 10 7 N/m. size 12{ { {F} over {l} } = { { left (4π times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 7} } `T cdot "m/A" right ) left (1`A right ) rSup { size 8{2} } } over { left (2π right ) left (1" m" right )} } =2 times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 7} } " N/m" "." } {}

Since μ 0 size 12{μ rSub { size 8{0} } } {} is exactly × 10 7 T m/A by definition, and because 1 T = 1 N/ A m size 12{1" T"=" 1N/" left (A cdot m right )} {} , the force per meter is exactly 2 × 10 7 N/m size 12{2 times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 7} } `"N/m"} {} . This is the basis of the operational definition of the ampere.

The ampere

The official definition of the ampere is:

One ampere of current through each of two parallel conductors of infinite length, separated by one meter in empty space free of other magnetic fields, causes a force of exactly 2 × 10 7 N/m size 12{2 times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 7} } " N/m"} {} on each conductor.

Infinite-length straight wires are impractical and so, in practice, a current balance is constructed with coils of wire separated by a few centimeters. Force is measured to determine current. This also provides us with a method for measuring the coulomb. We measure the charge that flows for a current of one ampere in one second. That is, 1 C = 1 A s size 12{1`C=1`A cdot s} {} . For both the ampere and the coulomb, the method of measuring force between conductors is the most accurate in practice.

Test prep for ap courses

Two parallel wires carry equal currents in the same direction and are separated by a small distance. What is the direction of the magnetic force exerted by the two wires on each other?

  1. No force since the wires are parallel.
  2. No force since the currents are in the same direction.
  3. The force is attractive.
  4. The force is repulsive.

(c)

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A wire along the y -axis carries current in the + y -direction. An experimenter would like to arrange a second wire parallel to the first wire and crossing the x -axis at the coordinate x = 2.0  m so that the total magnetic field at the coordinate x = 1.0  m is zero. In what direction must the current flow in the second wire, assuming it is equal in magnitude to the current in the first wire? Explain.

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Section summary

  • The force between two parallel currents I 1 size 12{I rSub { size 8{1} } } {} and I 2 size 12{I rSub { size 8{2} } } {} , separated by a distance r size 12{r} {} , has a magnitude per unit length given by
    F l = μ 0 I 1 I 2 2 πr . size 12{ { {F} over {l} } = { {μ rSub { size 8{0} } I rSub { size 8{1} } I rSub { size 8{2} } } over {2πr} } } {}
  • The force is attractive if the currents are in the same direction, repulsive if they are in opposite directions.

Conceptual questions

Is the force attractive or repulsive between the hot and neutral lines hung from power poles? Why?

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If you have three parallel wires in the same plane, as in [link] , with currents in the outer two running in opposite directions, is it possible for the middle wire to be repelled by both? Attracted by both? Explain.

Diagram showing three wires parallel to each other and in the same plane. The currents in wire 1 on the left side of the diagram and wire 3 on the right side of the diagram run opposite each other: I 1 runs form the top right to the lower left; I 3 runs from the lower left to the top right. Wire 2 is between the two, slightly closer to wire 3 than to wire 1.
Three parallel coplanar wires with currents in the outer two in opposite directions.
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Suppose two long straight wires run perpendicular to one another without touching. Does one exert a net force on the other? If so, what is its direction? Does one exert a net torque on the other? If so, what is its direction? Justify your responses by using the right hand rules.

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Use the right hand rules to show that the force between the two loops in [link] is attractive if the currents are in the same direction and repulsive if they are in opposite directions. Is this consistent with like poles of the loops repelling and unlike poles of the loops attracting? Draw sketches to justify your answers.

Diagram showing two current-carrying loops. The planes of the loops are parallel and horizontal, one above the other. In both loops, the current runs counterclockwise.
Two loops of wire carrying currents can exert forces and torques on one another.
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If one of the loops in [link] is tilted slightly relative to the other and their currents are in the same direction, what are the directions of the torques they exert on each other? Does this imply that the poles of the bar magnet-like fields they create will line up with each other if the loops are allowed to rotate?

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Electric field lines can be shielded by the Faraday cage effect. Can we have magnetic shielding? Can we have gravitational shielding?

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Problems&Exercises

(a) The hot and neutral wires supplying DC power to a light-rail commuter train carry 800 A and are separated by 75.0 cm. What is the magnitude and direction of the force between 50.0 m of these wires? (b) Discuss the practical consequences of this force, if any.

(a) 8.53 N, repulsive

(b) This forceis repulsiveand thereforethere isnever arisk thatthe twowires willtouch andshort circuit.

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The force per meter between the two wires of a jumper cable being used to start a stalled car is 0.225 N/m. (a) What is the current in the wires, given they are separated by 2.00 cm? (b) Is the force attractive or repulsive?

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A 2.50-m segment of wire supplying current to the motor of a submerged submarine carries 1000 A and feels a 4.00-N repulsive force from a parallel wire 5.00 cm away. What is the direction and magnitude of the current in the other wire?

400 A in the opposite direction

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The wire carrying 400 A to the motor of a commuter train feels an attractive force of 4 . 00 × 10 3 N/m size 12{4 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 3} } `"N/m"} {} due to a parallel wire carrying 5.00 A to a headlight. (a) How far apart are the wires? (b) Are the currents in the same direction?

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An AC appliance cord has its hot and neutral wires separated by 3.00 mm and carries a 5.00-A current. (a) What is the average force per meter between the wires in the cord? (b) What is the maximum force per meter between the wires? (c) Are the forces attractive or repulsive? (d) Do appliance cords need any special design features to compensate for these forces?

(a) 1 . 67 × 10 3 N/m size 12{1 "." "67" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 3} } `"N/m"} {}

(b) 3 . 33 × 10 3 N/m size 12{3 "." "33" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 3} } " N/m"} {}

(c) Repulsive

(d) No, these are very small forces

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[link] shows a long straight wire near a rectangular current loop. What is the direction and magnitude of the total force on the loop?

Diagram showing two current-carrying wires. Wire 1 is at the top and runs left to right with the current I 1 of fifteen amps also running left to right. Wire 2 makes a square circuit ten point zero centimeters in the vertical dimension and thirty point zero centimeters in the horizontal dimension. The top side of Wire 2 is seven point five zero centimeters below wire 1. The current in wire 2 is thirty point zero amps and runs counterclockwise: left to right along the bottom, up the right side, right to left along the top, and down the left side.
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Find the direction and magnitude of the force that each wire experiences in [link] (a) by, using vector addition.

Figure a shows the cross sections of three wires that are parallel to each other and arranged in an equilateral triangle. The bottom left wire has current of ten point zero amps into the page. The bottom right wire has a current of twenty point zero amps also into the page. The wire at the top of the triangle has current five point zero amps out of the page. The triangle that the wires make with each other is ten point zero centimeters on each side. Figure b shows four parallel wires arranged in a square that is twenty point zero centimeters on a side. The top two wires have current of ten point zero amps out of the page. The bottom two wires have current of five point zero amps into the page.

(a) Top wire: 2 . 65 × 10 4 N/m s, 10 . size 12{"10" "." 9°} {} to left of up

(b) Lower left wire: 3 . 61 × 10 4 N/m size 12{3 "." "61" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 4} } `"N/m"} {} , 13 . size 12{"13" "." 9°} {} down from right

(c) Lower right wire: 3 . 46 × 10 4 N/m size 12{3 "." "46" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 4} } `"N/m"} {} , 30 . size 12{"30" "." 0°} {} down from left

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Find the direction and magnitude of the force that each wire experiences in [link] (b), using vector addition.

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Questions & Answers

an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
Aisha Reply
thanks so much. i undersooth well
Valdes Reply
what is physics
Nwafor Reply
is the study of matter in relation to energy
Kintu
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
Obrian Reply
what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
Sphere
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
Rohit
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
Shii
1.75cm
Ridwan
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
Abu
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
Sphere
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
hi
Godfred
what about the wind vane
Godfred
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
Ju
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
Anurag
What was the previous far point of a patient who had laser correction that reduced the power of her eye by 7.00 D, producing a normal distant vision power of 50.0 D for her?
Jaydie Reply
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
A young woman with normal distant vision has a 10.0% ability to accommodate (that is, increase) the power of her eyes. What is the closest object she can see clearly?
Jaydie
29/20 ? maybes
Ju
In what ways does physics affect the society both positively or negatively
Princewill Reply
how can I read physics...am finding it difficult to understand...pls help
rerry Reply
try to read several books on phy don't just rely one. some authors explain better than other.
Ju
And don't forget to check out YouTube videos on the subject. Videos offer a different visual way to learn easier.
Ju
hope that helps
Ju
I have a exam on 12 february
David Reply
what is velocity
Jiti
the speed of something in a given direction.
Ju
what is a magnitude in physics
Jiti Reply
Propose a force standard different from the example of a stretched spring discussed in the text. Your standard must be capable of producing the same force repeatedly.
Giovani Reply
What is meant by dielectric charge?
It's Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
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