Did you know that you probably used an electric motor today? Yes, that's right. If you put on clothes that were washed in a washing machine, rode in a car, ate food from a fridge, warmed up lunch in a microwave, or played a video game, you used an electric motor! Try this science fair project and you'll learn how to make a simple electric motor by having two magnets "talk" to each other. As they interact, they will alternate between "liking" each other (being pulled together), and "disliking" each other (pushing away from one another). All that pushing and pulling will create some serious spinning, and you will have built an electric motor! So, what do windshield wipers, CD players, VCR's, blenders, ice makers, computers, and talking toys have in common? They all contain electric motors! In fact, if you walk through your house, it is possible to find as many as 50 electric motors hidden in electrical devices, appliances, and toys in every room in your home. They are a very important and vital part of modern life. Have you ever played with magnets before? If so, you are well on your way to understanding how simple electric motors work. Magnets have a magnetic field with a north pole and a south pole. If you play with two magnets and try to push the north poles of each magnet together, the magnets will not go together. They will repel each other. The same thing happens if you try to push two south poles together. If two poles are the same, they will repel each other. If, however, you play with two magnets and bring the north pole of one close to the south pole of another, they will attract each other and stick strongly together—opposites attract! An electric motor uses the attraction and repelling properties of magnets to create motion. An electric motor contains two magnets: a permanent magnet (also called a fixed or static magnet) and a temporary magnet. The temporary magnet is a special magnet, called an electromagnet. It is created by passing an...
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