What does a generator work

How does a generator work? Simple explanation

With a generator, kinetic energy can be converted into electrical energy, i.e. into electricity. We'll show you how this works in this article.

How does a generator work? background knowledge

To understand how a generator works, you first need some background knowledge:

  • Magnetic field: A magnet creates a magnetic field between the north and south poles. In this field, the magnet can exert a force on a ferromagnetic material, for example iron or copper.
  • Electrical conductors: An electrical conductor is a medium that has freely moving charge carriers. With metals, mostly copper, electrons serve as carriers of electrical charge.
  • Lorentz force: If a conductor, for example a copper wire, moves in a magnetic field, the charge in the conductor moves perpendicular to the movement. So if a copper wire is moved through a magnetic field, electrons move to one end or the other, depending on the direction in which the conductor is moved in the magnetic field.

How does a generator work?

  • A generator consists of a magnet inside that creates a magnetic field.
  • In this magnetic field there is a mechanical wave. In idealized terms, this is a copper wire that is guided in a rectangular shape around an axis of rotation in the middle of the magnetic field.
  • The wave is driven by muscle power, wind power or by steam or water. As a result, the conductor, i.e. the copper wire, moves in the magnetic field.
  • The Lorentz force now ensures that the free electrons in the wire move perpendicular to the direction of movement.
  • An electrical voltage is created, i.e. a charge gradient between the two ends of the copper wire.
  • The direction of movement of the wire and thus the tension changes with every half turn. Alternating current is generated.

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On the next page we will show you how an engine works.