<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation
Our Terms of Use (click here to view) have changed. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our new Terms of Use.
You are viewing an older version of this Concept. Go to the latest version.

Lorentz Force

Charged particles in motion create magnetic fields.

Atoms Practice
Estimated6 minsto complete
Practice Lorentz Force
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated6 minsto complete
Practice Now
Turn In

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A technician takes readings as a prototype railgun is fired. [Figure1]

Remember how a current through a wire creates a magnetic field? One of the many uses of the Lorentz Force is in a new prototype weapon that launches projectiles much faster than previously possible. This weapon is called a railgun, and unlike other guns, it works off of electricity, not gunpowder. The gun creates a circuit between two parallel rails, a power source, and a projectile. The current in the system creates a strong magnetic field which pushes against the magnetic projectile and propels it forward. The result is an extreme increase in speed making this weapon so interesting and dangerous. A good explanation of the workings of a railgun can be seen in this explanatory video:

Creative Applications:

  1. What are some everyday devices that utilize the Lorentz Force?

  2. What are other designs that could potentially be used to create a gun based on similar principles? (Hint: research coil guns)

  3. What are the advantages, disadvantages, and concerns posed by creating such a weapon?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Please to create your own Highlights / Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Lorentz Force.
Please wait...
Please wait...