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Magnetic Field Due to a Current Through a Straight Conductor

Oersted's experiment shows that around ever wire carrying a current there is a magnetic field. Therefore, as in the case of a bar magnet, the direction of the field can be mapped by means of a small magnetic compass. Take a rectangular piece of cardboard having a hole in the middle through which a thick metallic wire can pass. The cardboard is fixed horizontally and the wire is mounted vertically through the hole as shown below.


The magnetic field may be explored with the help of a compass needle placed at various positions on the cardboard. The direction in which the North pole of the needle points is the direction of the field at the point. This shows the lines of force when the current is passed in one direction and shows the field pattern when the direction of the current is reversed.

Magnetic field lines around a straight conductor carrying current are concentric circles whose centres lie on the wire.



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