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5 Magnetic Fields and Forces

• It is necessary to understand the magnetic fields and magnetic forces on the bodies to be
able to understand levitation and its application in machines.
• We know that the attractive forces per unit length between two parallel current carrying
F= N/m --- (1)
• Here r is the distance between two wires
• I1 and I2 are the currents passing through wires 1 and 2
• o = 4 x 10-7 H/m or N/A2.
• Similarly the force between two aligned point dipoles magnets
of strength m1 and m2 is given by,
F = (m2 )B1 ---- (2)
• Here F is the force experienced by m2 due to the field produced by m1.
• The vector potential of m1 at a distance r from its center is,
× ̂
---- (2)
• The magnetic field produced by m1 at r is
) ---- (3) In spherical polar coordinates
• For m1 along z direction, eq. 3 becomes,
--- (4) since, =0

• Eq. 4 in cartesian co-ordinate can be written as Fig.11

 Cos ) ---- (5)
• Again for the given Fig.  =0 and r=z is the distance between two magnets, then eq. (5)
can be written as,
--- (6)
• By substituting eq. (6) in eq. (2),
F=[m2  ] ----(7)\

--- (8)
• When the dipoles are not aligned along each other there would be a torque or couple on
each of them and it is,
• When the dipoles are oriented 90o each other -- (9).

7. 6 Induced Magnetic Forces

• We know that electric currents and permanent magnets are sources are magnetic force.
However, the second body need not be the independent source of magnetic field. For
example, if a current carrying wire is brought close to a ferromagnetic material such as
iron and its alloys ( not permanent magnets), they experience force due to induced
magnetic dipoles in the ferromagnetic material.
• A long wire with current I placed parallel to a ferromagnetic half-space (semi infininte)
produces an attractive force,
 2 or

 N/m --- (1)
• Here h is the distance between wire and surface of FM. Here r is the relative permeability
and for ferromagnet, it is of the order of 102, so r -1 or r +1 is close to r .
• One way to understand the above force is by replacing the ferromagnetic half space with
an image current filament as shown in the following figs.


• By assuming image current, once can obtain the force between the currents I1 = I2 = I by
replacing r as 2h and I1 I2 as I2 in eq. 1. i.e.
F= = = ------ (2)
• Another example of induced magnetic force is that between a long current carrying filament
and a thin layer superconducting plane shown in Fig.11. As the current filament is brought
close to the superconducting layer, supercurrents are setup such that they oppose the
external current carrying wire to maintain zero field inside the Type-I superconductor.


• The magnetic force between the superconducting layer and the current filament is ,
F = ------ (3)
• Again an image current filament can be used to replace the effect of the layer but in this
case, the image current is of opposite sense to the source current that is I1 = -I2 = I, r = 2h
as in eq.1.
• The same effect of flux exclusion and repulsive force can be obtained with a normal
conducting layer of thickness  and electric conductivity  by moving the current filament
parallel to the parallel to the flat sheet with velocity v.
• The repulsive force normal to the sheet is, F = ---- (4)

• Where, is a characteristic velocity. This phenomenon is known as eddy

current levitation. It is the basis of electromagnetic levitation of high speed vehicle.