Activity Number
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Activity Credits

Electrical Generators (a one page demonstration)

Interactive model, with minimal support

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Overview and Learning Objectives

This model shows that charged particles within a conductor wire will move unidirectionally when the wire moves in a direction that cuts across the force lines of a magnetic field. Thus, the mechanical energy used to move the wire is converted into an electric current.

This is the physical principle of the homopolar electrical generators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The homopolar generator was first built by the great English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday in 1831. Unlike other dynamos, Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction cannot be applied to this case (because we can connect the wire to a circuit whose enclosed area intersects no magnetic flux, but electricity can still be generated).

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Converting mechanical energy into electrical energy: the principle of homopolar electrical generators.

Additional Related Concepts


  • Electricity

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Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: Molecular Logic using Molecular Workbench

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NSF Logo
These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701, EIA-0219345, DUE-0402553, and 0628181.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.