How to Use a Magnet to Create Electricity

••• Jupiterimages/ Images

That magnets can create electricity was discovered accidentally by Hans Christian Oersted in 1819 while giving a lecture. Waving a magnet past a circuit, he made an ammeter twitch. By 1831, Englishman Michael Faraday and American Joseph Henry independently had formalized the theory for this “induction” of a current. Specifically, because the wires cut the magnetic field lines while the magnet is moving, a quantifiable electromagnetic force arises in the wire--pushing electrons and thus making a current.

    Attach the ends of one of the two wires to the two contacts of an ammeter.

    Wave a magnet over the wire. The ammeter should register both positive and negative current as you wave it back and forth.

    Make the circuit a little more complex--a little more like an AC generator--by attaching the two wires to the two ammeter contacts, and attaching the available ends of the wires to the opposite ends of a metal coil. Use a coil that is larger than the magnet, so the magnet can fit inside.

    Insert the (rodlike) magnet into the coil and take it back out again. As you do this repeatedly, the ammeter needle should bounce back and forth, again registering current in a positive and negative direction.

    Things You'll Need

    • Two wires
    • Metal coil
    • Magnet (rod-like is preferable)
    • Ammeter


    • Note that the motion of the magnet with respect to the coil is the rudiment of an alternating current generator, which converts mechanical energy (magnet motion) into electrical energy (electric current). An energy source could propel the magnet in cyclic motion like a piston.

Related Articles

How to Calculate IRMS
What Is AC & DC Electricity?
How Does an Ammeter Work?
How to Calculate 30 KW to Amps
How to Produce Power With Magnets
What Are the Parts of an AC Generator?
How to Reverse the Poles on a Magnet
How to Make Super Strong Permanent Magnets
How to Make a Negative Charge Magnet
How to Convert 12 Volt Alternator to 120 Volts
How to Make an AC Current Electromagnet
How to Calculate Ohms
How to Calculate Voltage Across a Resistor
How to Change Electrical Amps to Watts
How to Use a 9-Volt Battery to Power LEDs
How to Figure kW Rating of a 3 Phase Electric Motor
How Are Magnets Used to Generate Electricity?
How to Calculate the Henrys in a Coil

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!