Volume 81, Number 6, March 2008
Article Number 60002
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 20 February 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 60002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/60002

A general law for electromagnetic induction

G. Giuliani

Dipartimento di Fisica "Volta" - Via Bassi 6, I 27100, Pavia, Italy

received 31 August 2007; accepted in final form 19 January 2008; published March 2008
published online 20 February 2008

The definition of the induced emf as the integral over a closed loop of the Lorentz force acting on a unit positive charge leads immediately to a general law for electromagnetic induction phenomena. The general law is applied to three significant cases: moving bar, Faraday's and Corbino's disc. This last application illustrates the contribution of the drift velocity of the charges to the induced emf : the magneto-resistance effect is obtained without using microscopic models of electrical conduction. Maxwell wrote down "general equations of electromotive intensity" that, integrated over a closed loop, yield the general law for electromagnetic induction, if the velocity appearing in them is correctly interpreted. The flux of the magnetic field through an arbitrary surface that have the circuit as contour is not the cause of the induced emf. The flux rule must be considered as a calculation shortcut for predicting the value of the induced emf when the circuit is filiform. Finally, the general law of electromagnetic induction yields the induced emf in both reference frames of a system composed by a magnet and a circuit in relative uniform motion, as required by special relativity.

03.50.De - Classical electromagnetism, Maxwell equations.

© EPLA 2008