Monday, August 5, 2013

Kids Love Science... Simple Electric Motor

Kids love science.  No really, trust me, they do.  You just need to show it to them.  Present it to them in a way that's real.  They need to touch, taste, or feel it.  You just might find that it helps make the connection from the theoretical book learning to their real world.  With that, you could have a junior geek on your hands.

So I'm always looking for interesting little experiments / projects to do with the kids.  I stumbled on this link to an Instructables article on how to make a simple electric motor.  Now this isn't as impressive as the multi-coil motor above.

Nor will it have enough power to drive anything like this one.  It's just one coil of wire, one magnet, and one battery.  Just enough power to make the coil spin, and all it takes to show how the magnetic field generated by the electric current in the coil will try to align with the magnetic field of the magnet.  One note if you're not familiar with this type of wire, it's often referred to as 'magnet wire'.  This is a solid core wire with a varnish finish for insulation.  This keeps the wire very thin even with the insulation, and allows you to scrape off the insulation from only one side of the wire.  Something that would be hard to do with standard wire insulation.

Looking around the net, I found this second article on ways to improve and make a more solid unit. This would be ideal for a science project or demo.  You'll notice I had to fiddle with mine to get the coil spinning.  As it moved left to right it would move over parts of the wire that still had insulation and lose it's conductivity.  Another problem solved in the second article.

Either way, even my quick build method worked as intended.  Most importantly it was still approved by my 10 year old.

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