Discovery of Magneto-electricity: Explanation of Argo's magnetism of rotation: Terrestrial magneto-electric induction: The extra current.

Discovery of Magneto-electricity:
Explanation of Argo's magnetism of rotation:
Terrestrial magneto-electric induction:
The extra current.

The work thus referred to, though sufficient of itself to secure no mean scientific reputation, forms but the vestibule of Faraday's achievements. He had been engaged within these walls for eighteen years. During part of the time he had drunk in knowledge from Davy, and during the remainder he continually exercised his capacity for independent inquiry. In 1831 we have him at the climax of his intellectual strength, forty years of age, stored with knowledge and full of original power. Through reading, lecturing, and experimenting, he had become thoroughly familiar with electrical science: he saw where light was needed and expansion possible. The phenomena of ordinary electric induction belonged, as it were, to the alphabet of his knowledge: he knew that under ordinary circumstances the presence of an electrified body was sufficient to excite, by induction, an unelectrified body. He knew that the wire which carried an electric current was an electrified body, and still that all attempts had failed to make it excite in other wires a state similar to its own.

What was the reason of this failure? Faraday never could work from the experiments of others, however clearly described. He knew well that from every experiment issues a kind of radiation, luminous in different degrees to different minds, and he hardly trusted himself to reason upon an experiment that he had not seen. In the autumn of 1831 he began to repeat the experiments with electric currents, which, up to that time, had produced no positive result. And here, for the sake of younger inquirers, if not for the sake of us all, it is worth while to dwell for a moment on a power which Faraday possessed in an extraordinary degree. He united vast strength with perfect flexibility. His momentum was that of a river, which combines weight and directness with the ability to yield to the flexures of its bed. The intentness of his vision in any direction did not apparently diminish his power of perception in other directions; and when he attacked a subject, expecting results he had the faculty of keeping his mind alert, so that results different from those which he expected should not escape him through preoccupation.

He began his experiments 'on the induction of electric currents' by composing a helix of two insulated wires which were wound side by side round the same wooden cylinder. One of these wires he connected with a voltaic battery of ten cells, and the other with a sensitive galvanometer. When connection with the battery was made, and while the current flowed, no effect whatever was observed at the galvanometer. But he never accepted an experimental result, until he had applied to it the utmost power at his command. He raised his battery from 10 cells to 120 cells, but without avail. The current flowed calmly through the battery wire without producing, during its flow, any sensible result upon the galvanometer.

'During its flow,' and this was the time when an effect was expected-- but here Faraday's power of lateral vision, separating, as it were, from the line of expectation, came into play--he noticed that a feeble movement of the needle always occurred at the moment when he made contact with the battery; that the needle would afterwards return to its former position and remain quietly there unaffected by the flowing current. At the moment, however, when the circuit was interrupted the needle again moved, and in a direction opposed to that observed on the completion of the circuit.

This result, and others of a similar kind, led him to the conclusion 'that the battery current through the one wire did in reality induce a similar current through the other; but that it continued for an instant only, and partook more of the nature of the electric wave from a common Leyden jar than of the current from a voltaic battery.' The momentary currents thus generated were called induced currents, while the current which generated them was called the inducing current. It was immediately proved that the current generated at making the circuit was always opposed in direction to its generator, while that developed on the rupture of the circuit coincided in direction with the inducing current. It appeared as if the current on its first rush through the primary wire sought a purchase in the secondary one, and, by a kind of kick, impelled backward through the latter an electric wave, which subsided as soon as the primary current was fully established.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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