Mammoth Memory

Which end of an electromagnet is north?

Without using a compass there is a simple mnemonic for finding which is the north pole or south pole of an electromagnet.

Electromagnet

Turn the electromagnet so that the end faces your eye. If the electricity travels clockwise around the electromagnet then the end you are looking at is the south pole. If the electricity travels anticlockwise around the electromagnet then the end you are looking at is a north pole.

This is summarised by the following pictures:

Clockwise south pole anticlockwise north pole

If we draw out each of the possible configurations you can see the polarity of each.

Polarity of electromagnets in a circuit

 

Polarity of electromagnets in a circuit with current travelling in opposite direction

 

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