Lesson: Ampere's LawContributed by: VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Educational Standards :
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this lesson, students should be able to
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
In order to solve the MRI problem, we need to understand and measure the magnetic field given by current loops. Engineers continue to study magnetic fields, and they will work with safety engineers to see if they can design a more powerful MRI machine around 7 Tesla, opposed to the conventional 1.5 Tesla used in most imaging facilities.
Demo: Force Between Two Current Loops
Objective: The goal of this demonstration is to show the force between two current carrying loops. The attraction and repulsion between the loops closely resembles the force between magnets and can help students begin to visualize the force between current loops as related to a current within the solid or to the magnetic moment.
*This demo was tested with a 2 inch diameter coil of 100 turns using 20 gauge magnet wire held together with duct tape.
Before presenting the demonstration, pose the problem of two short segments of wire aligned in a parallel fashion and have the students determine the direction of the magnetic field in each segment produced by the other segment. Then have them determine the direction of the magnetic force on each segment. Then consider many of these segments forming a loop in which each segment of the loop is attracted to the corresponding segment on the other loop. Have the students determine the magnetic moment vector of each coil to conclude that loops with parallel magnetic moments will attract.
Set up the demonstration as shown in the diagram above. Connect each loop to its own power supply, but do not complete the circuit until you are ready to start the demonstration as the wires may overheat. Do not leave the circuits connected for more than a few seconds. Momentarily complete the circuit to both coils and watch them attract. Reverse the current in one of the loops to see them repel.
Lesson Background & Concepts for Teachers (Return to Contents)
Legacy Cycle Information
This lesson fits into the research and revise phase of the legacy cycle where students will be provided with additional information enabling them to revise their initial ideas for solving the challenge. The research aspect will consist of a demonstration on the force between two current loops and a formal lecture on Ampere's law and its applications.
Although the total magnetic flux through a closed surface must be zero, the sum of the magnetic field around a closed loop does not have to be zero. More specifically, if a closed loop is imagined in space, we can create a vector at each tiny segment called dl pointing in the direction of the loop with a magnitude equal to the length of the segment. Then we will look at the magnetic field at that point, and take the dot product
As you might imagine, the magnetic field around a loop would be greater if a wire carrying current was passing through the interior of the loop. In fact, the exact value of the field around the loop is
This result is named Ampere's Law, after its discoverer.
Much like Gauss law, it is useful in determining the magnitude of the magnetic field in highly symmetric situations.
Example: Determine the magnetic field outside of an infinitely long straight wire.
Solution: Consider a closed circular loop of radius R around the wire centered on the axis of the wire, as shown in the diagram. You can see that the diagram is rotationally symmetric, so that the magnetic field must have a constant magnitude around the loop.
Now by Ampere's law,
This result is in agreement with the Biot-Savart law. Note that this would appear to work for a finite segment of wire and give the same result, contradicting the result from the Biot-Savart law saying that
A toroid is basically a solenoid that is bent into a circle, as shown. This doughnut shaped figure has an inner radius a, an outer radius b, a current I, and a total number of turns N. To determine the magnetic field using amperes law, we will imagine a circular loop of radius r sharing a center with the toroid in the plane of the toroid.
Case 1: r < a
If r < a, then there is no current passing through the loop, so
Case 2: a < r < b
In this case, each turn passes through the loop in one direction, as shown in the cross sectional view to the right.
Case 3: r > b
In this case, for each inner turn passing current I through the loop in one direction, there is an outer turn passing current I through the loop in the other direction, so that the total current through the Amperian loop is zero, thus B = 0 everywhere outside the outer radius.
Vocabulary/Definitions (Return to Contents)
Attachments (Return to Contents)
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Ampere's Law: Homework questions are provided as an assessment tool enabling teachers to follow students' progress with the concepts Ampere's Law.
References (Return to Contents)
Dictionary.com. Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House. Accessed June 23, 2008. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mri mri - Definitions from Dictionary.com
ContributorsEric Appelt, Primary Author
Copyright© 2006 by Vanderbilt University
Including copyrighted works from other educational institutions and/or U.S. government agencies; all rights reserved. The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a grant from the National Science Foundation RET grants no. 0338092 and 0742871. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Last Modified: September 16, 2014