What Is An Electromagnet | Electromagnet vs Permanent Magnet, What Are The Differences

This article will explain what an electromagnet is, its working principles and advantages, and the difference between an electromagnet and a permanent magnet, etc.

What is an Electromagnet?

Electromagnets generate magnetism by energizing them. A conductive winding matching its power is wound outside the iron core. This current-carrying coil is magnetic like a magnet. It is usually made into a bar or hoof shape to make the iron core easier to magnetize.


In order to demagnetize the electromagnet immediately when it is powered off, it is often made of soft iron or silicon steel that degausses faster. Such electromagnets are magnetic when energized and demagnetized when de-energized.

How Does an Electromagnet Work?

When current passes through a wire, a magnetic field is generated around the wire. Therefore, when the current passes through the solenoid, a uniform magnetic field will be created inside the solenoid. By placing an iron core in the center of the solenoid, this iron core is magnetized and the magnetic field is greatly enhanced. The magnetic field generated by the electromagnet is related to the magnitude of the current, the number of coil turns, and the ferromagnet in the center.

Note: The iron core of the electromagnet needs to be made of soft iron, not steel. Because once the steel is magnetized, it will remain magnetic for a long time and cannot be demagnetized, so its magnetic strength cannot be controlled by the magnitude of the current.

Why is an Electromagnet Classified As a Temporary Magnet?

Because the electromagnet is a device that generates magnetic force through current, the activation or elimination of the magnetism of the electromagnet can be controlled by controlling the current.

  • The magnetism of the electromagnet can be controlled by energizing and de-energizing the current.
  • The magnitude of the current can control the magnitude of the magnetism of the electromagnet.

What Are the Differences Between an Electromagnet and a Permanent Magnet?

permanent magnets

The difference between permanent magnets and electromagnets is mainly reflected in the following three aspects:

1. Whether the magnetism of the magnet can be controlled

  • The magnetism of the electromagnet can be controlled by electrification. There is magnetism when there is electricity, and there is no magnetism when there is no electricity.
  • Permanent magnet has its own magnetism, which has nothing to do with whether it is electrified or not.

2. Whether the magnetic force of the magnet can be controlled

  • The magnetic force of the electromagnet can be controlled, which is related to the magnitude of the current, the number of turns of the coil, the magnetic material, and the design structure.
  • The magnetic force of the permanent magnet is relatively stable, and it is mainly affected by the external magnetic field, temperature and storage time.

3. Can the magnetic pole of the magnet be changed?

  • The magnetic pole of the electromagnet can be changed, which can be changed by the positive and negative poles of the electrified solenoid and the winding direction of the coil.
  • Permanent magnet poles N and S are fixed.

What are the Advantages of Using an Electromagnet

Through the above introduction and analysis, it can be known that the main advantage of the electromagnet is that it can control the direction of the magnetic poles, the presence or absence of magnetism, and the strength of magnetism. Therefore, the reason why we choose to use electromagnets is mainly to control the presence or absence of magnetism, the direction of magnetic poles and the strength of magnetism.

How Can You Increase the Strength of an Electromagnet?

The magnetic strength of an electromagnet can be increased by the following methods.

1. Increase the intensity of the current.

2. Increase the number of turns of the coil.

3. Increase the thickness of the wire.

4. Increase the volume of the iron core.

5. Change the shape of the iron core.


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