Experimental researches in electricity/Evolution of electricity from magnetism

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§ 2. _Evolution of Electricity from Magnetism._


27. A welded ring was made of soft round bar-iron, the metal being seven-eighths of an inch in thickness, and the ring six inches in external diameter. Three helices were put round one part of this ring, each containing about twenty-four feet of copper wire one twentieth of an inch thick; they were insulated from the iron and each other, and superposed in the manner before described (6.), occupying about nine inches in length upon the ring. They could be used separately or conjointly; the group may be distinguished by the letter A (Pl. I. fig. 1.). On the other part of the ring about sixty feet of similar copper wire in two pieces were applied in the same manner, forming a helix B, which had the same common direction with the helices of A, but being separated from it at each extremity by about half an inch of the uncovered iron.

28. The helix B was connected by copper wires with a galvanometer three feet from the ring. The helices of A were connected end to end so as to form one common helix, the extremities of which were connected with a battery of ten pairs of plates four inches square. The galvanometer was immediately affected, and to a degree far beyond what has been described when with a battery of tenfold power helices _without iron_ were used (10.); but though the contact was continued, the effect was not permanent, for the needle soon came to rest in its natural position, as if quite indifferent to the attached electro-magnetic arrangement. Upon breaking the contact with the batterry, the needle was again powerfully deflected, but in the contrary direction to that induced in the first instance.

29. Upon arranging the apparatus so that B should be out of use, the galvanometer be connected with one of the three wires of A (27.), and the other two made into a helix through which the current from the trough (28.) was passed, similar but rather more powerful effects were produced.

30. When the battery contact was made in one direction, the galvanometer-needle was deflected on the one side; if made in the other direction, the deflection was on the other side. The deflection on breaking the battery contact was always the reverse of that produced by completing it. The deflection on making a battery contact always indicated an induced current in the opposite direction to that from the battery; but on breaking the contact the deflection indicated an induced current in the same direction as that of the battery. No making or breaking of the contact at B side, or in any part of the galvanometer circuit, produced any effect at the galvanometer. No continuance of the battery current caused any deflection of the galvanometer-needle. As the above results are common to all these experiments, and to similar ones with ordinary magnets to be hereafter detailed, they need not be again particularly described.

31. Upon using the power of one hundred pairs of plates (10.) with this ring, the impulse at the galvanometer, when contact was completed or broken, was so great as to make the needle spin round rapidly four or five times, before the air and terrestrial magnetism could reduce its motion to mere oscillation.

32. By using charcoal at the ends of the B helix, a minute _spark_ could be perceived when the contact of the battery with A was completed. This spark could not be due to any diversion of a part of the current of the battery through the iron to the helix B; for when the battery contact was continued, the galvanometer still resumed its perfectly indifferent state (28.). The spark was rarely seen on breaking contact. A small platina wire could not be ignited by this induced current; but there seems every reason to believe that the effect would be obtained by using a stronger original current or a more powerful arrangement of helices.

33. A feeble voltaic current was sent through the helix B and the galvanometer, so as to deflect the needle of the latter 30° or 40°, and then the battery of one hundred pairs of plates connected with A; but after the first effect was over, the galvanometer-needle resumed exactly the position due to the feeble current transmitted by its own wire. This took place in whichever way the battery contacts were made, and shows that here again (20.) no permanent influence of the currents upon each other, as to their quantity and tension, exists.

34. Another arrangement was then employed connecting the former experiments on volta-electric induction (6-26.) with the present. A combination of helices like that already described (6.) was constructed upon a hollow cylinder of pasteboard: there were eight lengths of copper wire, containing altogether 220 feet; four of these helices were connected end to end, and then with the galvanometer (7.); the other intervening four were also connected end to end, and the battery of one hundred pairs discharged through them. In this form the effect on the galvanometer was hardly sensible (11.), though magnets could be made by the induced current (13.). But when a soft iron cylinder seven eighths of an inch thick, and twelve inches long, was introduced into the pasteboard tube, surrounded by the helices, then the induced current affected the galvanometer powerfully and with all the phenomena just described (30.). It possessed also the power of making magnets with more energy, apparently, than when no iron cylinder was present.

35. When the iron cylinder was replaced by an equal cylinder of copper, no effect beyond that of the helices alone was produced. The iron cylinder arrangement was not so powerful as the ring arrangement already described (27.).

36. Similar effects were then produced by _ordinary magnets_: thus the hollow helix just described (34.) had all its elementary helices connected with the galvanometer by two copper wires, each five feet in length; the soft iron cylinder was introduced into its axis; a couple of bar magnets, each twenty-four inches long, were arranged with their opposite poles at one end in contact, so as to resemble a horse-shoe magnet, and then contact made between the other poles and the ends of the iron cylinder, so as to convert it for the time into a magnet (fig. 2.): by breaking the magnetic contacts, or reversing them, the magnetism of the iron cylinder could be destroyed or reversed at pleasure.

37. Upon making magnetic contact, the needle was deflected; continuing the contact, the needle became indifferent, and resumed its first position; on breaking the contact, it was again deflected, but in the opposite direction to the first effect, and then it again became indifferent. When the magnetic contacts were reversed the deflections were reversed.

38. When the magnetic contact was made, the deflection was such as to indicate an induced current of electricity in the opposite direction to that fitted to form a magnet, having the same polarity as that really produced by contact with the bar magnets. Thus when the marked and unmarked poles were placed as in fig. 3, the current in the helix was in the direction represented, P being supposed to be the end of the wire going to the positive pole of the battery, or that end towards which the zinc plates face, and N the negative wire. Such a current would have converted the cylinder into a magnet of the opposite kind to that formed by contact with the poles A and B; and such a current moves in the opposite direction to the currents which in M. Ampère's beautiful theory are considered as constituting a magnet in the position figured[A].

 [A] The relative position of an electric current and a magnet is by
 most persons found very difficult to remember, and three or four helps
 to the memory have been devised by M. Ampère and others. I venture to
 suggest the following as a very simple and effectual assistance in
 these and similar latitudes. Let the experimenter think he is looking
 down upon a dipping needle, or upon the pole of the north, and then
 let him think upon the direction of the motion of the hands of a
 watch, or of a screw moving direct; currents in that direction round a
 needle would make it into such a magnet as the dipping needle, or
 would themselves constitute an electro-magnet of similar qualities; or
 if brought near a magnet would tend to make it take that direction; or
 would themselves be moved into that position by a magnet so placed; or
 in M. Ampère's theory are considered as moving in that direction in
 the magnet. These two points of the position of the dipping-needle and
 the motion of the watch hands being remembered, any other relation of
 the current and magnet can be at once deduced from it.

39. But as it might be supposed that in all the preceding experiments of this section, it was by some peculiar effect taking place during the formation of the magnet, and not by its mere virtual approximation, that the momentary induced current was excited, the following experiment was made. All the similar ends of the compound hollow helix (34.) were bound together by copper wire, forming two general terminations, and these were connected with the galvanometer. The soft iron cylinder (34.) was removed, and a cylindrical magnet, three quarters of an inch in diameter and eight inches and a half in length, used instead. One end of this magnet was introduced into the axis of the helix (fig. 4.), and then, the galvanometer-needle being stationary, the magnet was suddenly thrust in; immediately the needle was deflected in the same direction as if the magnet had been formed by either of the two preceding processes (34. 36.). Being left in, the needle resumed its first position, and then the magnet being withdrawn the needle was deflected in the opposite direction. These effects were not great; but by introducing and withdrawing the magnet, so that the impulse each time should be added to those previously communicated to the needle, the latter could be made to vibrate through an arc of 180° or more.

40. In this experiment the magnet must not be passed entirely through the helix, for then a second action occurs. When the magnet is introduced, the needle at the galvanometer is deflected in a certain direction; but being in, whether it be pushed quite through or withdrawn, the needle is deflected in a direction the reverse of that previously produced. When the magnet is passed in and through at one continuous motion, the needle moves one way, is then suddenly stopped, and finally moves the other way.

41. If such a hollow helix as that described (34.) be laid east and west (or in any other constant position), and a magnet be retained east and west, its marked pole always being one way; then whichever end of the helix the magnet goes in at, and consequently whichever pole of the magnet enters first, still the needle is deflected the same way: on the other hand, whichever direction is followed in withdrawing the magnet, the deflection is constant, but contrary to that due to its entrance.

42. These effects are simple consequences of the _law_ hereafter to be described (114).

43. When the eight elementary helices were made one long helix, the effect was not so great as in the arrangement described. When only one of the eight helices was used, the effect was also much diminished. All care was taken to guard against tiny direct action of the inducing magnet upon the galvanometer, and it was found that by moving the magnet in the same direction, and to the same degree on the outside of the helix, no effect on the needle was produced.

44. The Royal Society are in possession of a large compound magnet formerly belonging to Dr. Gowin Knight, which, by permission of the President and Council, I was allowed to use in the prosecution of these experiments: it is at present in the charge of Mr. Christie, at his house at Woolwich, where, by Mr. Christie's kindness, I was at liberty to work; and I have to acknowledge my obligations to him for his assistance in all the experiments and observations made with it. This magnet is composed of about 450 bar magnets, each fifteen inches long, one inch wide, and half an inch thick, arranged in a box so as to present at one of its extremities two external poles (fig. 5.). These poles projected horizontally six inches from the box, were each twelve inches high and three inches wide. They were nine inches apart; and when a soft iron cylinder, three quarters of an inch in diameter and twelve inches long, was put across from one to the other, it required a force of nearly one hundred pounds to break the contact. The pole to the left in the figure is the marked pole[A].

 [A] To avoid any confusion as to the poles of the magnet, I shall
 designate the pole pointing to the north as the marked pole; I may
 occasionally speak of the north and south ends of the needle, but do
 not mean thereby north and south poles. That is by many considered the
 true north pole of a needle which points to the south; but in this
 country it in often called the south pole.

45. The indicating galvanometer, in all experiments made with this magnet, was about eight feet from it, not directly in front of the poles, but about 16° or 17° on one side. It was found that on making or breaking the connexion of the poles by soft iron, the instrument was slightly affected; but all error of observation arising from this cause was easily and carefully avoided.

46. The electrical effects exhibited by this magnet were very striking. When a soft iron cylinder thirteen inches long was put through the compound hollow helix, with its ends arranged as two general terminations (39.), these connected with the galvanometer, and the iron cylinder brought in contact with the two poles of the magnet (fig. 5.), so powerful a rush of electricity took place that the needle whirled round many times in succession[A].

 [A] A soft iron bar in the form of a lifter to a horse-shoe magnet,
 when supplied with a coil of this kind round the middle of it,
 becomes, by juxta-position with a magnet, a ready source of a brief
 but determinate current of electricity.

47. Notwithstanding this great power, if the contact was continued, the needle resumed its natural position, being entirely uninfluenced by the position of the helix (30.). But on breaking the magnetic contact, the needle was whirled round in the opposite direction with a force equal to the former.

48. A piece of copper plate wrapped _once_ round the iron cylinder like a socket, but with interposed paper to prevent contact, had its edges connected with the wires of the galvanometer. When the iron was brought in contact with the poles the galvanometer was strongly affected.

49. Dismissing the helices and sockets, the galvanometer wire was passed over, and consequently only half round the iron cylinder (fig. 6.); but even then a strong effect upon the needle was exhibited, when the magnetic contact was made or broken.

50. As the helix with its iron cylinder was brought towards the magnetic poles, but _without making contact_, still powerful effects were produced. When the helix, without the iron cylinder, and consequently containing no metal but copper, was approached to, or placed between the poles (44.), the needle was thrown 80°, 90°, or more, from its natural position. The inductive force was of course greater, the nearer the helix, either with or without its iron cylinder, was brought to the poles; but otherwise the same effects were produced, whether the helix, &c. was or was not brought into contact with the magnet; i.e. no permanent effect on the galvanometer was produced; and the effects of approximation and removal were the reverse of each other (30.).

51. When a bolt of copper corresponding to the iron cylinder was introduced, no greater effect was produced by the helix than without it. But when a thick iron wire was substituted, the magneto-electric induction was rendered sensibly greater.

52. The direction of the electric current produced in all these experiments with the helix, was the same as that already described (38.) as obtained with the weaker bar magnets.

53. A spiral containing fourteen feet of copper wire, being connected with the galvanometer, and approximated directly towards the marked pole in the line of its axis, affected the instrument strongly; the current induced in it was in the reverse direction to the current theoretically considered by M. Ampère as existing in the magnet (38.), or as the current in an electro-magnet of similar polarity. As the spiral was withdrawn, the induced current was reversed.

54. A similar spiral had the current of eighty pairs of 4-inch plates sent through it so as to form an electro-magnet, and then the other spiral connected with the galvanometer (58.) approximated to it; the needle vibrated, indicating a current in the galvanometer spiral the reverse of that in the battery spiral (18. 26.). On withdrawing the latter spiral, the needle passed in the opposite direction.

55. Single wires, approximated in certain directions towards the magnetic pole, had currents induced in them. On their removal, the currents were inverted. In such experiments the wires should not be removed in directions different to those in which they were approximated; for then occasionally complicated and irregular effects are produced, the causes of which will be very evident in the fourth part of this paper.

56. All attempts to obtain chemical effects by the induced current of electricity failed, though the precautions before described (22.), and all others that could be thought of, were employed. Neither was any sensation on the tongue, or any convulsive effect upon the limbs of a frog, produced. Nor could charcoal or fine wire be ignited (133.). But upon repeating the experiments more at leisure at the Royal Institution, with an armed loadstone belonging to Professor Daniell and capable of lifting about thirty pounds, a frog was very _powerfully convulsed_ each time magnetic contact was made. At first the convulsions could not be obtained on breaking magnetic contact; but conceiving the deficiency of effect was because of the comparative slowness of separation, the latter act was effected by a blow, and then the frog was convulsed strongly. The more instantaneous the union or disunion is effected, the more powerful the convulsion. I thought also I could perceive the _sensation_ upon the tongue and the _flash_ before the eyes; but I could obtain no evidence of chemical decomposition.

57. The various experiments of this section prove, I think, most completely the production of electricity from ordinary magnetism. That its intensity should be very feeble and quantity small, cannot be considered wonderful, when it is remembered that like thermo-electricity it is evolved entirely within the substance of metals retaining all their conducting power. But an agent which is conducted along metallic wires in the manner described; which whilst so passing possesses the peculiar magnetic actions and force of a current of electricity; which can agitate and convulse the limbs of a frog; and which, finally, can produce a spark[A] by its discharge through charcoal (32.), can only be electricity. As all the effects can be produced by ferruginous electro-magnets (34.), there is no doubt that arrangements like the magnets of Professors Moll, Henry, Ten Eyke, and others, in which as many as two thousand pounds have been lifted, may be used for these experiments; in which case not only a brighter spark may be obtained, but wires also ignited, and, as the current can pass liquids (23.), chemical action be produced. These effects are still more likely to be obtained when the magneto-electric arrangements to be explained in the fourth section are excited by the powers of such apparatus.

 [A] For a mode of obtaining the spark from the common magnet which I
 have found effectual, see the Philosophical Magazine for June 1832, p.
 5. In the same Journal for November 1834, vol. v. p. 349, will be
 found a method of obtaining the magneto-electric spark, still simpler
 in its principle, the use of soft iron being dispensed with
 altogether.--_Dec. 1838._

58. The similarity of action, almost amounting to identity, between common magnets and either electro-magnets or volta-electric currents, is strikingly in accordance with and confirmatory of M. Ampère's theory, and furnishes powerful reasons for believing that the action is the same in both cases; but, as a distinction in language is still necessary, I propose to call the agency thus exerted by ordinary magnets, _magneto-electric_ or _magnelectric_ induction (26).

59. The only difference which powerfully strikes the attention as existing between volta-electric and magneto-electric induction, is the suddenness of the former, and the sensible time required by the latter; but even in this early state of investigation there are circumstances which seem to indicate, that upon further inquiry this difference will, as a philosophical distinction, disappear (68).[A]

 [A] For important additional phenomena and developments of the
 induction of electrical currents, see now the ninth series,
 1048-1118.--_Dec. 1838._