Modeling the interaction between a non-uniform magnetic field and a rotating conductive object provides insight into the drag force, which is used in applications such as eddy current braking and linear induction motors, as well as the transition to a repulsive force, which is the basis for magnetic levitation systems. Here, we study the interaction between a non-uniform field generated by a cylindrical magnet and a rotating conductive sphere. Each eddy current in the sphere generates a magnetic field which in turn generates another eddy current, eventually feeding back on itself. A two-step mathematical process is developed to find a closed-form solution in terms of only three eddy currents. However, the complete solution requires decomposition of the magnetic field into a summation of spherical harmonics, making it more suitable for a graduate-level electromagnetism lecture or lab. Finally, the forces associated with these currents are calculated and then verified experimentally.
The American Journal of Physics – American Association of Physics Teachers
Published: Jun 6, 2018