In my article on electricity we saw how an electric current comprised of numerous electrons in motion created by photon energy exchanges between them. We learnt that a one amp current is 6.25 billion, billion outer electron movements passing a wire location every single second. We learnt electron progress was slow because such a vast number of outer electrons is present in a tiny fraction of a millimeter length of wire. That wasn’t the whole story because here we learn that atomic particles have a spin property that is responsible for magnetism.
Quantum physics says this spin property should not be regarded as real spin. It does so because the observed angular momentum is far greater than that possible from a spinning ball like particle. Now we know proton and neutron particles are composed of energy fragments and every indication is that an electron is similarly so. This being the case the observed spin could be the sum total of energy fragment spins just as planetary spins are the sum of particle spins.
Within an atom many electrons are paired and have opposite motions. Their spin energies cancel one another. Random motions of unpaired outer electrons similarly cancel out spin energies. However when many outer unpaired electrons have motions in the same direction, as happens in an electric current flow, their spin energies support one another and a magnetic field is observed.
The diagram shows the direction of the circular magnetic energy field around a current carrying wire. Its direction is shown by the curl of your fingers when your right thumb points in the direction of current flow (opposite to electron movements). So what is this magnetic field?
It is one of low energy photons spun outward by the numerous same direction spins of the same direction movements of electrons in the wire. Being of low energy these photons are attracted back to join the linear flows of photons absorbed by the moving electrons. To put it another way, the magnetic fields around current carrying wires are high volumes of photon energies that spiral outward from moving electron particles as part of their emissions and then inward to be absorbed by other moving electron particles. We see this energy field as circular and diminishing with distance from the wire. Essentially you should realise that these magnetic photon flows are a part of the photon exchanges between electrons.
Let us consider several outer electrons with motions into the paper ( a miniscule current toward us) as in the diagram. Around the moving electrons we show just a tiny few of the vast numbers of paths that low energy spin photons take. Between the electrons many photon conflicts occur because of their opposite directions. The conflicts cause changed photon paths; some now curve rapidly inward and are absorbed by electrons whilst others take longer routes round multiple electrons before being similarly absorbed. I hope you can see that even in this simple electron scene that photons are spending longer times in the surround space.
Now consider a current of one amp flowing in a wire. Some 6.25 billion, billion electrons per second are now moving in the same direction and sending out like directional spin photons. There are now considerably more conflicts and the photon flow paths from source electron to destination electron are much extended so that we observe a magnetic field around the wire.
When an increasing voltage tries to increase the numbers of electrons in motion some of the increased photon energies received by electrons are dispatched as increased spin photons and go to expand the magnetic energy field. Consequently the rise in current lags behind the rise in voltage. The effect is called inductance, in this case self inductance, and science sees it as a temporary electromotive force (voltage) induced in the wire that opposes the current rise.
When a decreasing voltage is intent on decreasing an electric current, the reduced electron photon interactions means the magnetic field contracts. Spin photons take shorter paths and the reducing magnetic field energy is intent on sustaining the linear electron motions. Consequently the fall in current lags behind the fall in voltage. Science sees this as an induced electromotive force (voltage ) that acts to try and sustain the current.
Unlike a close wound coil (solenoid) the single wires we have been talking about have low inductance. When a current flows in a coil the photon energies round each wire now conflict with those in wires next to them and billions of them take paths like the example paths shown in the green cross section. The magnetic energy fields of coils are now much more substantial.
When a coil supply voltage collapses the collapsing magnetic field can deliver induced voltage (photon pressures) considerably higher than those of the collapsed supply voltage source. The photon pressures can cause electrons to jump air gaps as happens with car engine spark plugs. If it cannot escape as a current flow the field energies may slowly dissipate as photons of thermal heat away from the coil.
We may wonder why the magnetic field coil photons do not go hurtling off into space away from the coil. Well I suspect some do but are replaced by others drawn from space. The majority follow one another in flows because photon energies interact with one another. Photon energies like particle mass energies have not got absolutely fixed energies and interact with other photons. They will cohere in a wave front but also take a path of least energy expenditure which means they move into a photon vacated space. If there are structures in their path they may divert round it but if like iron they are supportive of their flow they will pass through it. Iron is much used to support and direct magnetic photon flow paths.
Magnetic materials like iron have soft flexible particle structures and do not make good magnets. Their grain structures can turn so that their outer electrons near align and act in a supportive way when in the presence of an external magnetic field. Magnetic photon energies like to interact with iron structures and the particles of iron are attracted to the photon flows of magnetic fields. Magnetic photons are low energy, highly curving photons that nuclear particles desire and are therefore highly sought of by electrons.
Iron is much used in transformers and electrical machines to extend and direct magnetic energy paths. Iron has no difficulty repetitively changing its structure when subjected to alternating magnetic fields. You might wonder at why iron is a good magnetic material whilst copper and aluminium are poor magnetic materials. The reason is that iron atoms holds onto their outer electrons about 6 times more strongly than copper atoms do. Whilst copper and aluminium electrons subjected to photon pressures move from atom to atom, iron electrons remain with their parent atoms but relocate and align to suit the external photon pressures.
Permanent magnets are not like magnetic materials. They have hard inflexible structures. Their electron structures have been pre-aligned by high magnetic fields in their manufacturing process. They consequently exchange linear photons that have a permanent directional flow. Only softening by heat is likely to destroy their magnetism.
We describe permanent magnets as having a north and a south pole but in reality there are north and south poles throughout the magnet because they are particle related. We can cut a magnet many times across its length to make many magnets.
The unlike poles of magnets attract because south poles desire the energies north poles have. When two north energy emitting poles come together their photons conflict and they veer apart. When two energy desiring south poles come close together they veer apart because they each seek photons and there are few photon energies between them.
We will all have seen how substantial the forces of attraction and repulsion are. They are the the result of their particle desires for photon energies and such desires can be extremely strong. High forces do not mean high energy. As with the coil above a permanent magnet’s surround photon energies are not all circulating. Like any structure a magnet is absorbing energies from other sources and releasing energies to other sources. A magnet is not a mass energy store like a battery or a spring.
If you still need convincing that photon energies interact like particle energies do let us look at what happens when we have an electrical flow in a magnetic field as happens with electrical machines.
In the diagram the electrical wire flow into the page is producing a circulating photon magnetic field and the permanent magnets are producing linear photon flows. The photon conflicts on the left of the wire encourage the magnetic field photons to flow on the right of the wire.
The photons on the right of the wire are now compressed and want more space so they energy interact with other photons to get that space and that is what causes the force on the wire and its motion.
Next time you have a magnet to play with try the following. Suspend the magnet on a piece of card between say two beakers. Invert say a cup,egg cup or plastic container and position it beneath the magnet and try balancing two 5p coins on top of one another. You may have to put packing under the beakers or cup to get it right but you will succeed and if you now blow at the coins through a straw they will spin one on top of the other.
Another bit of fun you can have is because the royal mint started making copper coated steel pennies in 1992. Unlike earlier pennies they respond to magnets. Give your friend a non magnetic penny and invite him/her to move it using a magnet under a table like you have done with a magnetic penny. Tell them they can’t be holding the magnet right.