Factors That Affect the Strength of an Electromagnet

••• Robert Kyllo/iStock/Getty Images

Electromagnets are fundamentally useful devices, producing controllable amounts of magnetic force from an electric current. The strongest magnets are cool, have many turns of wire in their coils and use large amounts of current.


Insulated wires.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

An electromagnet is usually a coil of insulated wire wound around an iron core. It becomes magnetized when you run an electric current through it and loses magnetism when the current stops.


Pieces of a clock with electromagnet and coil.
••• Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

To make an electromagnet stronger, you can wind a coil with more turns of wire. The number of turns multiplied by current in amperes gives ampere-turns, a factor that determines magnet strength.


Wires coming through walls.
••• Ivan Mikhaylov/iStock/Getty Images

Generally, a magnet’s strength increases with greater electric current. At a certain point, the magnet will saturate, reaching a maximum strength.


Iron metal.
••• Andrey Kuzmin/iStock/Getty Images

An electromagnet will be stronger if you wind the wire turns around a metal core. The best metals are typically ferrous, or iron-bearing.


Liquid nitrogen.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

The current-carrying ability of wire improves with very low temperatures. The strongest magnets are made of superconductors cooled with liquefied nitrogen or helium.

Related Articles

Relationship Between Electricity & Magnetism
Simple Explanation of Electromagnets
How Are Magnets Used to Generate Electricity?
How Strong Is a Standard Magnet?
Three Ways to Magnetize a Nail
Science Fair Magnet Ideas
How to Build a Magnetic Coil
The Uses of Different Shaped Magnets
Kinds of Magnets
What Is the Gauss Rating for a Strong Magnet?
Two Advantages of an Electromagnet Over a Permanent...
What Causes a Permanent Magnet to Lose Its Magnetism?
How to Magnetize an Iron Rod
Types of Metals That Attract Magnets
How to Make an Electromagnet for Kids
How to Strengthen an Electromagnetic Field
Four Factors Affecting Electromagnets
How to Calculate the Force of an Electromagnet
How to Calculate the Inductance of a Ferrite Inductor