Electromagnetic force: manifestations

The electromagnetic force is a fundamental force that has many different manifestations in the natural world. The force itself cannot be directly observed in the same way that a physical object might be observed. Instead, it is understood and studied through its effects on matter and energy.

  • Manifestations of the electromagnetic force can be observed in:
  • These manifestations are underpinned by the following facets of electromagnetism:
Electrostatic force
  • The electrostatic force is the component of the electromagnetic force that acts between electrically charged particles. It is the force that holds atoms together and is responsible for the formation of molecules. It is used to generate electricity, which is used to power our homes and schools.
Magnetic force
  • The magnetic force is the other component of the electromagnetic force, a phenomenon that arises from the motion of electric charges. It is the force that acts between magnets and moving electric charges. Magnets are objects that produce a magnetic field, which is a region of space where a force is exerted on other magnets and on moving electric charges. Magnets are used in compasses, motors, and generators.
  • Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation can travel through space in the form of waves. Light is used by our eyes and is also used for communication and heating.
Chemical Bonding
  • Chemical bonding is the force that holds atoms together to form molecules. It is caused by the attraction between the electrons in the atoms and the protons in the nucleus.
The Structure of Atoms and Molecules
  • The electromagnetic force is responsible for the structure of atoms and molecules. The electrons in an atom are held in place by the attractive force between the negatively charged electrons and the positively charged nucleus. The bonds between atoms are also produced by the electromagnetic force, specifically the attraction between the electrons in one atom and the protons in another atom.
Behaviour of Matter
  • The electromagnetic force affects the behaviour of matter in many ways. For example, it affects the way that matter conducts heat and electricity, the way that matter interacts with light, and the way that matter reacts with other matter.
Formation of Stars and Galaxies
  • The electromagnetic force is involved in the formation of stars and galaxies. It is responsible for the formation of clouds of gas and dust within space, and it also plays a role in the collapse of these clouds to form stars and galaxies.