What Does an Electric Motor Do?
An electric motor uses electricity to create movement. It does this using a special science trick called electromagnetism – which is just a fancy word for the way electric currents and magnets interact.
Here’s a simple explanation of how a basic electric motor works:
- Electricity passes through a loop of wire (we call this the armature), which sits in a magnetic field (from strong magnets).
- This electricity creates its own magnetic field around the loop. According to the rules of electromagnetism, this makes the wire loop experience a force and spin around.
- As the loop spins, a gadget known as a commutator flips the direction of the electricity. This ensures that the wire loop keeps spinning the same way.
- The spinning loop can then be used to do things like spinning a fan blade or making the wheels of a toy car turn.
Different Kinds of Electric Motors
There are many kinds of electric motors, but here are two you might have heard of:
- DC Motors: These motors use direct current, like from a battery. We can control the direction of the current and the magnetic field to change the motor’s speed and which way it turns.
- AC Motors: These motors use alternating current, like from a wall socket. They are often used in household appliances and big machines because they last a long time and work efficiently.
Why Are Electric Motors Important?
Electric motors are very important in our everyday lives. They’re inside many items we use at home, from the fridge that keeps our food fresh, to the electric toothbrush that helps us clean our teeth, to the fan that cools us down on a hot day.
As we create new technology, electric motors are becoming even more essential. For example, in electric cars, electric motors are used instead of gas engines. This helps reduce pollution and is a big step towards protecting our environment.
So the next time you play with your battery-operated toy car or switch on your fan, remember it’s all thanks to the amazing electric motor!