# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: What makes up a magnetic field?  (Read 12637 times)

#### Ben Rios

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« on: 26/03/2010 05:30:04 »
Ben Rios  asked the Naked Scientists:

If electrons flow, creating electricity and exerting the force, what flows from north to south in a magnetic field?

Thank you for any clarification you can give.

Ben,
from Brooklyn, New York

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 26/03/2010 05:30:04 by _system »

#### Soul Surfer

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #1 on: 26/03/2010 09:24:40 »
In effect nothing because that is not the way a magnetic field is created  a magnetic field comes from moving electrical charge for example the flow of electrons you describe in your question however the magnetic field is created AT RIGHT ANGLES to the direction of the flow so if the electrons are moving through a wire the field runs round the wire in the direction defined by the corkscrew rule taking a conventional current flowing from positive to negative (electrons go the other way) the magnetic field direction is clockwise in the direction of flow.  electrical flow and magnetic fields are inextricably linked that is a changing magnetic field creates an electrical current flow

#### Ben Rios

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #2 on: 28/03/2010 15:13:46 »
How would that apply to the magnetic field of the Earth?  The liquid metal core circulates, creating the magnetic field that protects us. The electrical component of this magnetic field is not taken into account. There is something that can be measured in the magnetic filed that goes from Antarctica to Greenland (south/north or north/south).

#### Soul Surfer

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #3 on: 28/03/2010 17:57:01 »
To a first approximation the earth's magnetic field is like a bar magnet aligned along the earth's axis of rotation. (with the south pole near  the north pole!) following my explanation above such a field would be produced by an electrical current circulating inside the earth somewhere around the equator.

The earth's core is partially liquid and electrically conducting.  it is also convecting a heat flows from the centre to the surface.  rotating liquids that are convecting will demonstrate shear flows in the direction around the equator because of the Coriolis forces associated with the conservation of angular momentum.  this will cause a net flow around the equator and generate the magnetic field.

However it is not quite as simple as that because a dynamo needs priming and the direction of the field is arbitrary.  The local magnetic field in the solar system helps to prime the earths field but it also feeds back in a way that tries to cancel it out and as the earth rotates this cancelling effect gradually winds up over thousands of years until the earth's field flips from the current south pole at the north to a north pole at the north.  We can measure many of these flips in the rocks on either side of the expansion zones notably the mid atlantic ridge.  This flip is due to happen shortly ( within hundreds of years say) and there are currently strong indications that it is on the way now.  This flip could also have some "interesting" effects on climate and radiation levels and is one of the regular features that mankind must learn to cope with,

WE DO NOT LIVE IN AN UNCHANGING AND STABLE WORLD AND WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT MANKIND HAS SOME "SLACK" TO COPE WITH BIG CHANGES.   FAILURE TO DO THIS IS JUST PLAIN STUPID.
« Last Edit: 28/03/2010 18:00:06 by Soul Surfer »

#### Ben Rios

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2010 01:54:24 »
These are very concise explanations of how magnetic fields are made, but what are they made of?

What is doing the work which a magnetic field does?

#### Soul Surfer

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2010 18:28:19 »
The moving electrical fields are creating the magnetic fields in the same way that moving magnetic fields create electrical fields. It is a feedback proces that comes from the fact that the fields are moving.  This is why we have welectromagnetic waves and radiation

#### Supercryptid

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #6 on: 05/04/2010 14:31:28 »
Magnetic fields, like electric fields, are "made of" virtual photons. They act as the exchange particle.

#### acsinuk

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #7 on: 07/04/2010 08:59:23 »
Magnetic fields, like electric fields, are "made of" virtual photons. They act as the exchange particle.
Well? magnetic fields have no mass as they can move at around the speed of light so therefore the energy cannot be particle based.  Are photons and virtual photons always found in pairs? Can you ever have a "virtual photon" without a real photon being attached??
CliveS

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #8 on: 07/04/2010 09:39:51 »
Magnetic fields, like electric fields, are "made of" virtual photons. They act as the exchange particle.
Well? magnetic fields have no mass as they can move at around the speed of light so therefore the energy cannot be particle based.

You really should inform the photon that it needs to have mass and can't move at the speed of light.  It's been making a nasty habit of breaking both of your rules!

In answer to your other two questions, virtual photons don't have to be attached to real photons as far as I know, unlike virtual fermions.

#### yor_on

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #9 on: 08/04/2010 11:21:40 »
The idea of virtual photons being energy carriers is quite fascinating. When we talk about them we describe something happening under Plank time in whatever frame of reference we are looking at :), as I understands it? Or does 'virtual photons' in themselves have an existence above Plank time?

We can't really say, or can we?
The real mystery to me is the idea of time, or as we see it, times arrow. Those are the 'instants' binding our conception of how things should 'work' together, and the smallest meaningful 'instants' we have defined so far are those Plank defined.

What he did was a wonder in my eyes :)
Well deserving of ten Nobel prizes as far as I'm concerned. As I'm not sure how to see 'virtual photons' I have no definition of what they are, on the other hand I'm not sure what 'real photons' are either :)

It seems as if our definitions of what is above this mystical Plank time will differ with velocity, and as I understands it, also with mass. That means that what we from one frame deem to be 'virtual', as seen from another frame will be called 'real'.

Now, the question one have to ask oneself, looking at it my way, is then what constitutes this 'seamless universe' we expect ourselves to alway be able to observe if 'reality' only is a definition from your frame of reference?

No matter if your 'frame of reference' allows you to see those 'virtual photons', well, virtual according to my frame, as being real or not we will still be able to observe each other 'frames' and so experience ourselves to live in the 'same universe'.

And that is a deep mystery to me :)

Time is like an ocean, and we're inside it, it flows and have different stratas but just as a fish we observe ourselves as always having the same 'time' being in the 'same' ocean.

If you look at 'virtual photons' that way the question seems to become if it is us not defining them correctly? Planck time is a good measure, not of time, but of usefulness for us, as it will be valid in whatever frame you are. Assume that you are traveling at a constant acceleration giving you a constant one Gravity, like Earths gravity. At some point you will see those formerly 'virtual photons' becoming real, for you in your frame of reference accelerating. You should be able to use the energy created by them so they are, really, really real to you.

But to me being left on Earth, although I have observed you at all times, accelerating, I will not observe any such phenomena.. But as you then sit down and test you will find, on that I'm fairly sure, that Planks constants still will hold true for you in your frame of reference. That means that the light you see that I can't will be 'real photons' and that you also will have what's called 'virtual photons' inside that frame.

Now I'm gonna use my God-Sight here :) and observe both frames, in one there will be no light, in the other those photons will 'live' inside our arrow of time and be very 'real'. Well, I can't really do this except in my mind, but what I do know is that both frames never lost contact with each other, although what they call 'real' is very different from each other as I see it, looking at both.

So, assuming that you see a Plank time in your accelerating frame, would you then call that Plank time as 'smaller' than mine Plank time, me being at rest relative both our origin (Earth)?

If you do so it seems to me that you're introducing a layered universe, coexisting as a whole, and I don't think that is the right way of looking at it. I prefer to look at what is the same instead. And that is the frame you are in, moving or not moving. Your heartbeat will be the same according to your wristwatch no matter what frame you are in, loosely speaking naturally :)

And then the question seems to become, what is time?
« Last Edit: 08/04/2010 11:31:04 by yor_on »

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #10 on: 08/04/2010 11:41:34 »
As far as I can tell from reading up on it, all these Planck time/Planck scale units just have to do with the scales at which gravity becomes important in quantum theory, i.e. the point at which our current theory breaks down.  I don't think it means that these are the smallest possible units in the universe (presumably quantum gravity introduces smaller scales).

But Planck units and virtual particles kind of deserve their own topic, don't you think?

#### yor_on

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #11 on: 08/04/2010 11:48:35 »
Nicely put JP :)
But it wasn't me introducing 'virtual photons' as 'carriers'?
I know it's an accepted idea, but if you look at it as I do it all falls back to times arrow. Frame dependent if I may call it that.
===

Here is another description.
What is electric charge? What is magnetic force?

:)
hmm
« Last Edit: 08/04/2010 12:08:50 by yor_on »

#### acsinuk

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #12 on: 19/04/2010 04:12:44 »
What makes up a magnetic field is 3 dimensional flux! I think it can be formed under the poles of a generator by setting up a loop of current comprising of excitation current at right angles to the conductors electrons charge current an area that can be multiplied by adding more turns to the windings.
This area of loop current can be made to move forward at nearly the speed of light by a voltage applied in the 3rd right angle direction as voltage is the rate of flux change per second in that direction.
CliveS

#### Pmb

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #13 on: 19/04/2010 07:10:15 »
Quote from: Ben Rios
If electrons flow, creating electricity and exerting the force, what flows from north to south in a magnetic field?
I don’t understand what you’re saying here. Where did you get the idea that the flow of  electrons (always?) creates “electricity”? (what do you mean by “electricity”. Do you mean electric field? I’ll assume that is the case and go with that for now.)? What force are you referring to? The Lorentz force?

It’s quite possible to have charges in motion and still have zero electric field. E.g. a current carrying wire can have a flow of charges inside it, to have zero charge everywhere but have no electric field present even though there is a magnetic field present.

What do you mean by “flows from north to south”? Are you referring to a bar magnet as N and S poles in such a magnet? If so then consider the fact that there are no such poles in an EM waves.

#### Ben Rios

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #14 on: 19/04/2010 17:01:57 »
Quote from: Ben Rios
If electrons flow, creating electricity and exerting the force, what flows from north to south in a magnetic field?
I don't understand what you're saying here. Where did you get the idea that the flow of  electrons (always?) creates electricity? (what do you mean by “electricity”. Do you mean electric field? I’ll assume that is the case and go with that for now.)? What force are you referring to? The Lorentz force?

It’s quite possible to have charges in motion and still have zero electric field. E.g. a current carrying wire can have a flow of charges inside it, to have zero charge everywhere but have no electric field present even though there is a magnetic field present.

What do you mean by “flows from north to south”? Are you referring to a bar magnet as N and S poles in such a magnet? If so then consider the fact that there are no such poles in an EM waves.

Electric flow , as I understand, is what is described in powering the lights, monitors, phone.  The electrons meeting resistance and doing something.  That is what I meant by work being done by the electric flow.

Magnetic fields, depicted as lines from the ends of a bar magnet or a planet, are able to exert a force, do work.

Light is a wave with a particle (-ish, a photon), electricity has electrons, is it the virtual photon in a standing wave which makes up the magnetic field's power, ability to do work?

#### Ron Hughes

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #15 on: 20/04/2010 02:58:01 »
Pmb, in effect what he wants to know is what makes up the field of an electron. Someone said it is made of virtual particles. I would love for that someone to tell us the experiment that verifies virtual particles. Virtual particles are absolutely required by the standard model otherwise they must throw it in the garbage.

#### acsinuk

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #16 on: 28/04/2010 21:45:12 »
Ron
I think you may be correct in throwing the standard model in the garbage if it is not based on a 3D model of electricity.  Virtual electrons are not particles but magnetic flux enclosures and are measured at power plant by electrical generation engineers in terms of power factor corrections by adjusting the flux excitation amps. It is a very complex subject and can only be demonstrated practically in a power house not mathematically.

CliveS

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #17 on: 29/04/2010 04:16:17 »
Ron, the evidence for virtual particles is that the standard model works so well.  By definition, virtual particles aren't detected like normal particles, but you can observe their effects in many situations.  There's a list on wikipedia of some such effects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle#Manifestations  If someone wants to make a case that virtual particles don't exist, then they'd need to come up with an alternative model that works just as well as the standard model.

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #18 on: 29/04/2010 04:19:00 »
CliveS,
Flux is the amount of a something that flows through an area per unit time.  It's a result of a magnetic field existing, not a definition of what makes up the magnetic field.

#### Ron Hughes

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #19 on: 01/05/2010 20:33:15 »
I agree Jp. We need to come up with another solution.If the field of the electron and proton is made up of virtual particles then that would mean the virtual particles surrounding the proton must be different from those surrounding the electron in order to present different polarities. Until we can explain how and why those fields are different we do not understand no matter how much success the standard model has exhibited.

#### acsinuk

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #20 on: 09/05/2010 16:37:11 »
JP think of electromagnetic energy as a volume of magnetic flux vibrating or helixing forward through a conducting medium.  You can then visualise not only how electricity works, but also how telephone signals are transmitted at the speed of light and even how MRI scanners work.
We need to unify this electric concept so that all forms of massless electromagnetic energy are covered by one single fits all equation
CliveS

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #21 on: 10/05/2010 07:05:24 »
I agree Jp. We need to come up with another solution.If the field of the electron and proton is made up of virtual particles then that would mean the virtual particles surrounding the proton must be different from those surrounding the electron in order to present different polarities. Until we can explain how and why those fields are different we do not understand no matter how much success the standard model has exhibited.

The standard model explanation doesn't claim the two fields are the same.  They're produced by the same basic mechanism, but behave differently to account for the difference in charge.  Both use virtual photons, but not all virtual photon interactions are identical, which allows the standard model to treat both problems.

#### JP

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #22 on: 10/05/2010 07:23:31 »
JP think of electromagnetic energy as a volume of magnetic flux vibrating or helixing forward through a conducting medium.  You can then visualise not only how electricity works, but also how telephone signals are transmitted at the speed of light and even how MRI scanners work.
We need to unify this electric concept so that all forms of massless electromagnetic energy are covered by one single fits all equation
CliveS

As I noted before, magnetic flux is certainly a useful property for visualizing how a field behaves since it's one of the measurable quantities of that field.  It's not too useful for describing what a field is.

You're welcome to disagree with mainstream physics on this point, but this board is for answering questions in terms of the currently accepted models.  The proper forum to describe new models is in New Theories:  http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?board=18.0

« Last Edit: 10/05/2010 07:25:45 by JP »

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##### What makes up a magnetic field?
« Reply #22 on: 10/05/2010 07:23:31 »