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The National MagLab is funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of Florida.

Interactive Tutorials

These demonstrations about laws and tools associated with electricity and magnetism allow you to adjust variables at and to visualize invisible forces — which makes them almost better than the real thing.

Alternating Current

Every time you plug something into the electricity in your house, you are utilizing the power of alternating current (AC.)

Arc Lamp thumbnail

Arc lamps were the first type of electric light, so brilliant the lamps were used for lighthouses and street lights.

Barkhausen Effect thumbnail

The Barkhausen effect makes the concept of magnetic domains audible.

Bullet Speed thumbnail

This tutorial takes a shot at explaining how circuits can be used to measure things beyond the capacity of human senses.


A capacitor is similar to a battery, but a few key differences make them crucial additions to many machines.

Electromagnetic Deflection in a Cathode Ray Tube, I thumbnail

Discover how cathode rays behave in a magnetic field.

Electromagnetic Deflection in a Cathode Ray Tube, II thumbnail

For decades, the Cathode Ray Tube was used for video displays from televisions to computer screens. 

Compasses in Magnetic Fields

The invention of the magnetic compass radically changed the way humans navigated from place to place. Travelers could orient themselves even when the …

Contracting Helix thumbnail

This device demonstrates how parallel wires attract because of the magnetic fields they generate.

Current Flow thumbnail

This tutorial illustrates the flow of electricity through a circuit and how that flow is impacted by resistors in the circuit.

Daniell Cell thumbnail

English chemist John Frederick Daniell came up with a twist on the simple voltaic cell.

DC Motor

This simple direct current (DC) motor has been created by pairing a permanent magnet and an electromagnet. The permanent magnet is called a stator bec…

Deionization thumbnail

The magnets here at the lab generate massive amounts of heat. To cool them off, we need massive amounts of water. But first, we have to take the ions …

Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism thumbnail

Certain metals exhibit a strong response to a magnetic field. But everything reacts to magnetic fields in some way.

Electricity Meter thumbmail

The newest electric meters rely on different techniques to measure usage. But power to many homes and businesses is still monitored by traditional met…

Electromagnetic Induction

When a permanent magnet is moved inside of a copper wire coil, electrical current flows inside of the wire. This important physics phenomenon is calle…

Electromotive Force in Inductors thumbnail

Electromotive Force is an important phenomenon that impacts the way electrons flow through a conductor.

Electrostatic Generator thumbnail

Though simple by today's standards, the early electrostatic generators were a great milestone in humankind's understanding of electricity.

Electrostatic Repulsion in Van de Graaff Bubbles thumbnail

A fun way to illustrate electrostatic forces from a Van de Graaff generator.

Faraday Motor thumbnail

Just a year after electromagnetism was discovered, the great scientist Michael Faraday figured out how to turn it into motion.

Faraday's Ice Pail thumbnail

Out of a humble ice pail the great experimentalist Michael Faraday created a device to demonstrate key principles of attraction, repulsion and electro…

Foucault's Disk thumbnail

In 1855, a French physicist created a device that illustrated how eddy currents work.

Galvanometer thumbnail

A galvanometer detects and measures small amounts of current in an electrical circuit.

Guitar Pickup tumbnail

This simple device transforms the mechanical energy of the vibrating guitar strings into electrical energy.

Hall Effect thumbnail

When a magnetic field is applied to a flowing current, it creates a weak but measurable voltage. This is the Hall effect.

Heat Resistance

Metals conduct electricity because their atoms have free electrons that can move between them. As those free electrons move through the metal conducto…

Ignition Coil thumbnail

Start your engines and learn about the ignition coil, a key to operating your car.

Inductive Pendulum thumbnail

Get the swing of electromagnetic induction with this device.

Inductive Reactance thumbnail

Like resistance, reactance slows down an electrical current. This phenomenon occurs only in AC circuits.

Kelvin Water Dropper thumbnail

The legendary Lord Kelvin made electricity from water with his water dropper.

Lodge's Experiment thumbnail

Sir Oliver Lodge's experiment demonstrating the first tunable radio receiver was an important stepping stone on the path toward the invention of a pra…

Lorentz Force thumbnail

A wire fashioned into a pendulum moves inside a magnetic field, demonstrating the Lorentz force.

Magnetic Core Memory thumbnail

Magnetic core memory was developed in the late 1940s and 1950s, and remained the primary way in which early computers read, wrote and stored data unti…

Magnetic Domains

Why can some materials be turned into magnets? It’s all thanks to magnetic domains.

Magnetic Field Around a Wire, I

Whenever current travels through a conductor, a magnetic field is generated.

Magnetic Field of a Solenoid

You can create a stronger, more concentrated magnetic field by taking wire and forming it into a coil called a solenoid.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines, commonly known as MRIs, are awesome diagnostic tools for medical applications and research. Relying on strong sup…

Magnetic Shunt thumbnail

Magnetic shunts are often used to adjust the amount of flux in the magnetic circuits found in most electrical motors.

Mass Spectra thumbnail

Mass spectrum reveals how many isotopes of a given element are to be found in a material.

Mass Spectrometer (Dual Sector)

Mass spectrometers are instruments that give scientists insight into the composition of complex materials. These spectrometers can analyze materials a…

Mass Spectrometer (Single Sector)

Mass spectrometers are instruments that give scientists information on the composition of a material. Mass spectrometers can pick apart complex substa…

Microwaves thumbnail

How does a microwave heat your food? Water interacting with high-frequency electromagnetic waves.

Ørsted's Compass

In 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism in this very simple experiment.

Parallel Wires thumbnail

A pair of parallel wires serves to illustrate a principle that French scientist André-Marie Ampère was the first to comprehend.

Pixii Machine thumbnail

This “magneto-electric machine” was the first to turn motion into electricity.

Simple Electrical Cell thumbnail

The simple electrical cell explained here is the most basic type of "wet" cell and demonstrates the fundamental chemistry behind batteries.

Tape Recorder thumbnail

Two heads — or even three — are better than one when it comes to understanding how tape recorders harness electromagnetic induction.

Transformers thumbnail

Transformers are devices that transfer a voltage from one circuit to another circuit via induction.

Transmission Lines thumbnail

Electricity goes through some ups and downs on its way from the power plant to your house. Here's how it works.

Van de Graaff Generator

The Van de Graaff generator is a popular tool for teaching the principles of electrostatics. You might remember it as the thing that made your hair st…

Voltaic Pile thumbnail

Italian scientist Alessandro Volta was the first to recognize key principles of electrochemistry, and applied those principles to the creation of the …

Wheatstone Bridge thumbnail

This circuit is most commonly used to determine the value of an unknown resistance to an electrical current.