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Question

Two wires carrying equal currents i each, are placed perpendicular to each other, just avoiding a contact. If one wire is held fixed and the other is free to move under magnetic forces, what kind of motion will result?

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Solution

The magnetic force on a wire carrying an electric current i is $\stackrel{\to }{F}=i.\left(\stackrel{\to }{l}×\stackrel{\to }{B}\right)$, â€‹where l is the length of the wire and B is the magnetic field acting on it. Suppose we have one wire in the horizontal direction (fixed) and other wire in the vertical direction (free to move). If the horizontal wire is carrying current from right to left is held fixed perpendicular to the vertical wire, which is free to move, the upper portion of the free wire will tend to move in the left direction and the lower portion of the wire will tend to move in the right direction, according to Fleming's left hand rule, as the magnetic field acting on the wire due to the fixed wire will point into the plane of paper above the wire and come out of the paper below the horizontal wire and the current will flow in upward direction in the free wire. Thus, the free wire will tend to become parallel to the fixed wire so as to experience maximum attractive force.

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