Alternating-Current Generator

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Michael Faraday invented the electric generator to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. It consists of a number of wire loops rotating freely in a magnetic field. When the velocity of the loop is perpendicular to the magnetic field, the current produced by the induced EMF (electromotive force, the potential difference given to charges, commonly by a battery) is greatest, reaching a maximum value . For an alternating current generator—also known as an alternator—the electric current inverts its direction each half-spin, as shown by the orange arrow.


Increasing the iron core or the number of loops increases the induced EMF and then the current.


Contributed by: Enrique Zeleny (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The expression to calculate the electromotive force is , with being the magnetic field, the length of the wire, its velocity and the angle between the wire and the magnetic field.

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