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Device consisting of a core of magnetic material such as iron, surrounded by a coil through which an electric current is passed to magnetize the core. When the current is stopped, the core is no longer magnetized. Electromagnets are particularly useful wherever controllable magnets are required, as in devices in which the magnetic field is to be varied, reversed, or switched on and off. Suitably designed magnets can lift many times their own weight and are used in steelworks and scrap yards to lift loads of metal. Other devices that utilize electromagnets include particle accelerators, telephone receivers, loudspeakers, and televisions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on electromagnet, visit Britannica.com.