# Lenz's law

Last updated Lenz's law tells the direction of a current in a conductor loop induced indirectly by the change in magnetic flux through the loop. Scenarios a, b, c, d and e are possible. Scenario f is impossible due to the law of conservation of energy. The charges (electrons) in the conductor are not pushed in motion directly by the change in flux, but by a circular electric field (not pictured) surrounding the total magnetic field of inducing and induced magnetic fields. This total magnetic field induces the electric field.

Lenz's law, named after the physicist Emil Lenz (pronounced ) who formulated it in 1834,  states that the direction of the current induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field is such that the magnetic field created by the induced current opposes the initial changing magnetic field. A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies. Heinrich Friedrich Emil Lenz, usually cited as Emil Lenz, was a Russian physicist of Baltic German ethnicity. He is most noted for formulating Lenz's law in electrodynamics in 1834. A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence of electric charges in relative motion and magnetized materials. The effects of magnetic fields are commonly seen in permanent magnets, which pull on magnetic materials and attract or repel other magnets. Magnetic fields surround and are created by magnetized material and by moving electric charges such as those used in electromagnets. They exert forces on nearby moving electrical charges and torques on nearby magnets. In addition, a magnetic field that varies with location exerts a force on magnetic materials. Both the strength and direction of a magnetic field vary with location. As such, it is described mathematically as a vector field.

## Contents

It is a qualitative law that specifies the direction of induced current, but states nothing about its magnitude. Lenz's law explains the direction of many effects in electromagnetism, such as the direction of voltage induced in an inductor or wire loop by a changing current, or the drag force of eddy currents exerted on moving objects in a magnetic field. Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force is carried by electromagnetic fields composed of electric fields and magnetic fields, is responsible for electromagnetic radiation such as light, and is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three fundamental interactions are the strong interaction, the weak interaction, and gravitation. At high energy the weak force and electromagnetic force are unified as a single electroweak force. An inductor, also called a coil, choke, or reactor, is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through it. An inductor typically consists of an insulated wire wound into a coil around a core.

Eddy currents are loops of electrical current induced within conductors by a changing magnetic field in the conductor according to Faraday's law of induction. Eddy currents flow in closed loops within conductors, in planes perpendicular to the magnetic field. They can be induced within nearby stationary conductors by a time-varying magnetic field created by an AC electromagnet or transformer, for example, or by relative motion between a magnet and a nearby conductor. The magnitude of the current in a given loop is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field, the area of the loop, and the rate of change of flux, and inversely proportional to the resistivity of the material. When graphed, these circular currents within a piece of metal look vaguely like eddies or whirlpools in a liquid.

Lenz's law may be seen as analogous to Newton's third law in classic mechanics. 

## Definition

Lenz's law states that the current induced in a circuit due to a change or a motion in a magnetic field is so directed as to oppose the change in flux and to exert a mechanical force opposing the motion.

Lenz's law is contained in the rigorous treatment of Faraday's law of induction, where it finds expression by the negative sign: Faraday's law of induction is a basic law of electromagnetism predicting how a magnetic field will interact with an electric circuit to produce an electromotive force (EMF)—a phenomenon called electromagnetic induction. It is the fundamental operating principle of transformers, inductors, and many types of electrical motors, generators and solenoids.

${\mathcal {E}}=-{\frac {\partial \Phi _{\mathbf {B} }}{\partial t}},$ which indicates that the induced electromotive force ${\mathcal {E}}$ and the rate of change in magnetic flux $\Phi _{\mathbf {B} }$ have opposite signs. Electromotive force, abbreviated emf, is the electrical action produced by a non-electrical source. A device that converts other forms of energy into electrical energy, such as a battery or generator, provides an emf as its output. Sometimes an analogy to water "pressure" is used to describe electromotive force. In physics, specifically electromagnetism, the magnetic flux through a surface is the surface integral of the normal component of the magnetic field B passing through that surface. The SI unit of magnetic flux is the weber (Wb), and the CGS unit is the maxwell. Magnetic flux is usually measured with a fluxmeter, which contains measuring coils and electronics, that evaluates the change of voltage in the measuring coils to calculate the measurement of magnetic flux.

This means that the direction of the back EMF of an induced field opposes the changing current that is its cause. D.J. Griffiths summarized it as follows: Nature abhors a change in flux. David Jeffrey Griffiths is a U.S. physicist and educator. He worked at Reed College from 1978 through 2009, becoming the Howard Vollum Professor of Science before his retirement. He is not to be confused with the late physicist David J. Griffiths of Oregon State University.

If a change in the magnetic field of current i1 induces another electric current, i2, the direction of i2 is opposite that of the change in i1. If these currents are in two coaxial circular conductors 1 and 2 respectively, and both are initially 0, then the currents i1 and i2 must counter-rotate. The opposing currents will repel each other as a result.

### Example

Currents bound inside the atoms of strong magnets can create counter-rotating currents in a copper or aluminum pipe. This is shown by dropping the magnet through the pipe. The descent of the magnet inside the pipe is observably slower than when dropped outside the pipe.

When a voltage is generated by a change in magnetic flux according to Faraday's law, the polarity of the induced voltage is such that it produces a current whose magnetic field opposes the change which produces it. The induced magnetic field inside any loop of wire always acts to keep the magnetic flux in the loop constant. In the examples below, if the flux is increasing, the induced field acts in opposition to it. If it is decreasing, the induced field acts in the direction of the applied field to oppose the change.

## Detailed interaction of charges in these currents

In electromagnetism, when charges move along electric field lines work is done on them, whether it involves storing potential energy (negative work) or increasing kinetic energy (positive work).

When net positive work is applied to a charge q1, it gains speed and momentum. The net work on q1 thereby generates a magnetic field whose strength (in units of magnetic flux density (1 tesla = 1 volt-second per square meter)) is proportional to the speed increase of q1. This magnetic field can interact with a neighboring charge q2, passing on this momentum to it, and in return, q1 loses momentum.

The charge q2 can also act on q1 in a similar manner, by which it returns some of the momentum that it received from q1. This back-and-forth component of momentum contributes to magnetic inductance. The closer that q1 and q2 are, the greater the effect. When q2 is inside a conductive medium such as a thick slab made of copper or aluminum, it more readily responds to the force applied to it by q1. The energy of q1 is not instantly consumed as heat generated by the current of q2 but is also stored in two opposing magnetic fields. The energy density of magnetic fields tends to vary with the square of the magnetic field's intensity; however, in the case of magnetically non-linear materials such as ferromagnets and superconductors, this relationship breaks down.

## Conservation of momentum

Momentum must be conserved in the process, so if q1 is pushed in one direction, then q2 ought to be pushed in the other direction by the same force at the same time. However, the situation becomes more complicated when the finite speed of electromagnetic wave propagation is introduced (see retarded potential). This means that for a brief period the total momentum of the two charges is not conserved, implying that the difference should be accounted for by momentum in the fields, as asserted by Richard P. Feynman.  Famous 19th century electrodynamicist James Clerk Maxwell called this the "electromagnetic momentum".  Yet, such a treatment of fields may be necessary when Lenz's law is applied to opposite charges. It is normally assumed that the charges in question have the same sign. If they do not, such as a proton and an electron, the interaction is different. An electron generating a magnetic field would generate an EMF that causes a proton to accelerate in the same direction as the electron. At first, this might seem to violate the law of conservation of momentum, but such an interaction is seen to conserve momentum if the momentum of electromagnetic fields is taken into account.

## Related Research Articles Magnetism is a class of physical phenomena that are mediated by magnetic fields. Electric currents and the magnetic moments of elementary particles give rise to a magnetic field, which acts on other currents and magnetic moments. The most familiar effects occur in ferromagnetic materials, which are strongly attracted by magnetic fields and can be magnetized to become permanent magnets, producing magnetic fields themselves. Only a few substances are ferromagnetic; the most common ones are iron, cobalt and nickel and their alloys. The prefix ferro- refers to iron, because permanent magnetism was first observed in lodestone, a form of natural iron ore called magnetite, Fe3O4. In electrical engineering, two conductors are said to be inductively coupled or magnetically coupled when they are configured such that a change in current through one wire induces a voltage across the ends of the other wire through electromagnetic induction. A changing current through the first wire creates a changing magnetic field around it by Ampere's circuital law. The changing magnetic field induces an electromotive force in the second wire by Faraday's law of induction. The amount of inductive coupling between two conductors is measured by their mutual inductance. Electromagnetic or magnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force across an electrical conductor in a changing magnetic field. A Hall effect sensor is a device that is used to measure the magnitude of a magnetic field. Its output voltage is directly proportional to the magnetic field strength through it. Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) is a form of magnetic levitation in which there are conductors which are exposed to time-varying magnetic fields. This induces eddy currents in the conductors that creates a repulsive magnetic field which holds the two objects apart.

A magnetic circuit is made up of one or more closed loop paths containing a magnetic flux. The flux is usually generated by permanent magnets or electromagnets and confined to the path by magnetic cores consisting of ferromagnetic materials like iron, although there may be air gaps or other materials in the path. Magnetic circuits are employed to efficiently channel magnetic fields in many devices such as electric motors, generators, transformers, relays, lifting electromagnets, SQUIDs, galvanometers, and magnetic recording heads. An eddy current brake, also known as an induction brake, electric brake or electric retarder, is a device used to slow or stop a moving object by dissipating its kinetic energy as heat. However, unlike friction brakes, in which the drag force that stops the moving object is provided by friction between two surfaces pressed together, the drag force in an eddy current brake is an electromagnetic force between a magnet and a nearby conductive object in relative motion, due to eddy currents induced in the conductor through electromagnetic induction.

Counter-electromotive force, also known as back electromotive force, is the electromotive force or "voltage" that opposes the change in current which induced it. CEMF is the EMF caused by magnetic induction. The Faraday paradox or Faraday's paradox is any experiment in which Michael Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction appears to predict an incorrect result. The paradoxes fall into two classes: In electrical engineering, an armature is the power-producing component of an electric machine. The armature can be on either the rotor or the stator of the electric machine.

The search coil magnetometer or induction magnetometer, based on an inductive sensor, is a magnetometer which measures the varying magnetic flux due to Lenz's law. An inductive sensor connected to a conditioning electronic circuit constitutes a search coil magnetometer. It is a vector magnetometer which can measure one or more components of the magnetic field. A classical configuration uses three orthogonal inductive sensors. The search-coil magnetometer can measure magnetic field from mHz up to hundreds of MHz. A homopolar generator is a DC electrical generator comprising an electrically conductive disc or cylinder rotating in a plane perpendicular to a uniform static magnetic field. A potential difference is created between the center of the disc and the rim with an electrical polarity that depends on the direction of rotation and the orientation of the field. It is also known as a unipolar generator, acyclic generator, disk dynamo, or Faraday disc. The voltage is typically low, on the order of a few volts in the case of small demonstration models, but large research generators can produce hundreds of volts, and some systems have multiple generators in series to produce an even larger voltage. They are unusual in that they can source tremendous electric current, some more than a million amperes, because the homopolar generator can be made to have very low internal resistance. Also, the homopolar generator is unique in that no other rotary electric machine can produce DC without using rectifiers or commutators.

In electrical engineering, electric machine is a general term for machines using electromagnetic forces, such as electric motors, electric generators, and others. They are electromechanical energy converters: an electric motor converts electricity to mechanical power while an electric generator converts mechanical power to electricity. The moving parts in a machine can be rotating or linear. Besides motors and generators, a third category often included is transformers, which although they do not have any moving parts are also energy converters, changing the voltage level of an alternating current.

Electromagnetism is the study of interactions between particles and the electromagnetic field. It includes the study of forces between charged particles, electromagnetic fields and potential, the behavior of conductors and insulators in fields, circuits, magnetism, and electromagnetic waves. An understanding of electromagnetism is important for practical applications like electrical engineering and chemistry. In addition, concepts taught in courses on electromagnetism provide a basis for more advanced material in physics, such as quantum field theory and general relativity. This article focuses on a conceptual understanding of the topics rather than the details of the mathematics involved.

1. Lenz, E. (1834), "Ueber die Bestimmung der Richtung der durch elektodynamische Vertheilung erregten galvanischen Ströme", Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 107 (31), pp. 483–494. A partial translation of the paper is available in Magie, W. M. (1963), A Source Book in Physics, Harvard: Cambridge MA, pp. 511–513.
2. Schmitt, Ron. Electromagnetics explained. 2002. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
3. Giancoli, Douglas C. (1998). Physics: principles with applications (5th ed.). p. 624.
4. Griffiths, David. Introduction to Electrodynamics. p. 315. ISBN   978-0-321-85656-2.
5. The Feynman Lectures on Physics : Volume I, Chapter 10, page 9.
6. Maxwell, James C. A treatise on electricity and magnetism, Volume 2. Retrieved 16 July 2010.