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Oersted’s experiment HTML5


The deviation of a compass needle caused by an electric current, observed by Oersted in 1820, is known to be one of the first experimental links between electricity and magnetism.
Notice that this phenomenon was used for a long period to build DC ammeters because the needle’s deviation is proportional to the DC current. It is also the basis for the functioning of all electromagnets.

Drag the slider to control the current intensity in the coil.

Learning goals

  • To illustrate Oersted's experiment.
  • To show how a current flow can generate a magnetic field and so  act like a magnet