Magnetic Force vs Electric Force
Magnetic forces and electric forces are two forces that occur in nature. Electric forces are the forces that occur due to electric charges whereas magnetic forces are the forces that occur due to magnetic dipoles. Electric forces and magnetic forces combine to give the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four basic forces of nature. Other three basic forces are the gravitational force, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force. The concepts of magnetic forces and electric forces are applied in fields such as mechanics, electromagnetic, electrostatics, magnetostatic and various other fields related to physics. In this article, we are going to discuss what are electric forces and magnetic forces, the definitions of these two, their applications, the similarities and differences between electric forces and magnetic forces.
Electric forces are the forces that occur due to electric charges. There are two types of electric charges. They are positive and negative. An electric charge is described by the electric field associated with it. The electric field and the electric charge are like the “chicken and egg” problem. One is required to describe the other. An electric field is said to be produced by all electric charges whether they are moving or stationary. An electric field can also be produced using any time varying magnetic fields.
There are several important factors of electric fields. These are electric field intensity, electric field potential and electric flux density. The electric potential by a point charge is given by V = Q/4πεr. The electric force on a point charge of charge q placed inside an electric field is given by F = V q where V is the potential at that point.
Electric forces can be either attractive or repulsive. If both of the charges are of the same type (negative or positive), the forces are repulsive, if they are of different types the forces are attractive.
Magnetic force is the force that is created by two magnets. A single magnet cannot create a magnetic force. Magnetic forces are created when a magnet, a magnetic material, or a current carrying wire is placed at an external magnetic field.
Forces due to uniform magnetic fields are easy to calculate, but forces due to irregular magnetic fields are relatively hard. Magnetic forces are measured in newton. These forces are always mutual.
A magnet has two poles. They are namely the South Pole and the North Pole. Similar poles repulse each other, whereas opposite poles attract each other.
What is the difference between Electric and Magnetic Forces?
• Electric forces can be produced by either stationary or moving electric charges, whereas magnetic forces can be produces only by moving charges.
• Magnetic force on a moving charge is always normal to the direction of the movement and the magnetic field whereas the force by an electric field on a moving charge is always parallel to the electric field and does not depend on the direction of movement.