Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


I like Analyze the physics of science fiction, and so I’m going to argue that the Mary Melodies cartoon “Compression rate“In the distant future when animals rule the world. I mean, Bugs Bunny and Weil E. Coyote Walk on two legs, talk and make things. How could that not be science fiction?

Let me set the scene — and I don’t think we have to worry about spoiler caution since this episode is 60 years old. The basic idea, of course, is that Wile E. Coyote decided he should eat rabbits. After several failed attempts to catch the bugs, he came up with a new plan. First, he’s about to throw a carrot-shaped piece of iron into a bug rabbit hole. After eating carrots (and I don’t know how it will happen), Wile E. Coyote will launch a The monster Pull the electromagnet and the rabbit to him. It’s a simple and great plan, it has to work, doesn’t it?

But wait! Here’s the part I really like: While Wile E. Coyote is assembling his contraption, we can see that it comes in a huge crate labeled “A 10,000,000,000 Volt Electric Magnet Do It Yourself Kit”.

In the end, you can probably guess what happens: the bugs don’t actually eat the iron carrots, so once the coyote turns on the magnet, it just zooms in and out of its cave. And of course a bunch of other things are attracted to it – including a lamppost, a bulldozer, a huge cruise ship and a rocket.

Okay, let’s break down the physics of this giant electromagnet and see if bugs would have worked for it.

What is an electromagnet?

There are basically two ways to create a constant magnetic field. The first is with a permanent magnet, like that thing Stick to your refrigerator door. They are made of some kind of ferromagnetic material like iron, nickel, alnico or neodymium. A ferromagnetic element basically consists of regions that act like separate magnets, each with a north and a south pole. If all these magnetic domains were aligned, the element would act like a magnet. (There are some very complicated things going on at the nuclear level, but let’s not worry about it right now.)

However, in this case Wile E. Coyote has an electromagnet, which creates a magnetic field with an electric current. (Note: We measure the electric current in amps, which will not be confused with the voltage, which is measured in volts.) All electric current creates a magnetic field. Typically, to make an electromagnet you need to take some wire and wrap it around a ferromagnetic element like iron and turn on the current. The strength of its magnetic field depends on the electric current and the number of wire loops around the core. It is possible to make an electromagnet without an iron core, but it will not be as strong.

When an electric current creates a magnetic field, this field interacts with the magnetic domain in the piece of iron. Now that iron Also Works like a magnet – the result is that the electromagnet and the induced magnet attract each other.

What about 10 billion volts?

I don’t know how the script for this episode came about, but I think they are a group of writers working together. Maybe someone came up with the idea of ​​an electromagnet and an iron carrot and everyone agreed to put it there. Someone must have raised their hand and said, “You know, we can’t just make an electromagnet. It has to be big over-the-top.” Another writer must have answered, “Let’s give a number here. What about 1 million volts?” Someone else interrupted: “Of course, 1 million volts cool-But what about 10 billion volts? “

What does 10 billion volts mean for even an electromagnet? Remember, the most important thing about an electromagnet is the electric current (ampease), not the voltage (in volts). In order to connect voltage and current, we need to know the resistance. Resistance is a property that tells you how difficult it is to move an electric charge through a wire, and it is measured in ohms. If we know the resistance of the electromagnet wire, then we can use Ohm’s law to find the current. As an equation, it looks like this:



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