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Unexplained Phenomenon - Simplest Electric Motor

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Published on Apr 22, 2009

This is the simplest motor in the world. But what unexplained phenomenon makes it go? Make an ultra-simple homopolar electric motor with only a battery, a magnet, and a piece of wire. Cool science fair project or weekend project.

Comments • 3,281

Simon Sutton
The homopolar motor is not an unexplained phenomenon at all, it singular line of force, with a magnetic monopole.  And that's all there is to it.
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Tyler Thoren
Inside the battery is an army of teeny, tiny lunch ladies who aimlessly ride on the back's of ill-tempered gorillas across barren, acidic deserts. As soon as the battery touches the magnet and the copper wire starts spinning, it produces an ear drum shattering, high pitched squeal inside the battery that is inaudible to humans. Upon hearing this, a magically magic magician farts out a handful of smelly fingers and flies away.               THE END
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Observ45er
I don't understand why folks find the homopolar motor so confusing.  Fleming's Left Hand (motor) Rule explains it easily.  Follow the current and it just falls out of this fundamental phenomenon of nature/physics/electromagnetism. You must, however, be aware that the magnetic field doesn't stop at the poles.  It continues inside the magnet. The current is flowing radially inside the magnet and in this region we now have a magnetic field and current that are flowing at right angles to each other.  The Fleming Left Hand Rule shows the direction of the force and resulting torque and movement. Cheers, ScienceAdvisorSteve P.S. The coiled up wire that is around the battery is not necessary for rotation.  Look at some of the other non-coiled versions.   The field from that portion of the wire will either create a force upward or downward on the wire depending on the polarity of the battery, polarity of the magnet and sense (right, ot left) of the turns in the wire.  It may just work better if the coiled wire is attracted down to the magnet.  If the wire is repelled upward it may cause a poor contact on the top and erratic operation.
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Richard Grafton
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casper. do it all
This is why it works the battery and the wire are acting like A magnet like those big magnets in the junkyard that pick up cars when electricity is added to a metal it can become a magnet so what is happening is one magnet is repelling the other magnet therefore making thrust just like when you put two magnets together they will stick but then when you reverse one magnet they will repel each other all the magnet is doing is repelling the wire
lwblack64
It works by stored energy from the battery being released thru the wire to create a magnetic field and the battery created magnetic field interacts with the permanent magnets field. Simple..
claton blade
faraday did this in 1821
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Nicholas Hubbard
It's an inside out motor. Two magnetic lines of flux opposing the current induced into the wire.hey try using a D battery with two long hooks made of paper clips on both sides of the battery. Tape them on using electrical. Tape. Stick a magnet on the battery in between the hooks. Make a coil of an old cell battery charger wire. Wrap the wire around a plastic soda cap tightly. How many wraps is the fun part. Remove the cap, leave two ends of your new coil out. One to the left one to the right. Long enough as to sit on your hooks off of the battery. Watch your little servo motor take flight. Watch out the hooks will get hot the faster it spins. Pretty cool.
John Dreamer
Well when I attended the school we did this kind of experiments in grade 6 -- it is very unusual that somebody writes "Unexplained Phenomenon". This "phenomenon" was discovered at dawn of electricity science. Never the less it is a very good demonstration how electrical motor of direct current works.
Alex Danco
what's so unexplained about this? It's a fucking motor, and it works like a fucking motor.
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