• Electromagnets are used in many ways for many everyday activities. Some electromagnets are used in household devices while others have more heavy-duty jobs. One heavy-duty way we use electromagnets is in junkyards.


    Electromagnets are used in junkyards to move large amounts of scrap metal, such as iron and steel. No natural magnet could ever lift such heavy scrap metal, but electromagnets are made to be strong enough with the help electricity.

    How Electromagnets Work

    An electromagnet works like a regular magnet, but it is controlled by an electric force. The amount of electricity applied to the magnet determines the magnet's strength. Electricity is pushed into the magnet through coiled wire around the magnet's core. Stronger magnets have more electric wire.

    Controlling the Magnet

    Because electricity is utilized to control an electromagnet's strength, the user can switch the electricity on to make the magnet pick up junk and turn it off to make the magnet drop the junk.


    Electromagnets are made of iron. They are very large and generally circular. They hang from a crane.


    In a junkyard, a crane with a giant electromagnet hanging from it is lowered near junk until the force of the magnet picks up the junk. The crane is then lifted, and the junk is driven to the desired location.


    Ron Kurtus' School for Champions: Electromagnetic Devices

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