Electricity vs. Magnetism

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Electricity and Magnetism is that the Electricity is a physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge and Magnetism is a class of physical phenomena.

  • Electricity

    Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. In early days, electricity was considered as being not related to magnetism. Later on, many experimental results and the development of Maxwell’s equations indicated that both electricity and magnetism are from a single phenomenon: electromagnetism. Various common phenomena are related to electricity, including lightning, static electricity, electric heating, electric discharges and many others.

    The presence of an electric charge, which can be either positive or negative, produces an electric field. The movement of electric charges is an electric current and produces a magnetic field.

    When a charge is placed in a location with a non-zero electric field, a force will act on it. The magnitude of this force is given by Coulomb’s law. Thus, if that charge were to move, the electric field would be doing work on the electric charge. Thus we can speak of electric potential at a certain point in space, which is equal to the work done by an external agent in carrying a unit of positive charge from an arbitrarily chosen reference point to that point without any acceleration and is typically measured in volts.

    Electricity is at the heart of many modern technologies, being used for:

    electric power where electric current is used to energise equipment;

    electronics which deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies.Electrical phenomena have been studied since antiquity, though progress in theoretical understanding remained slow until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even then, practical applications for electricity were few, and it would not be until the late nineteenth century that electrical engineers were able to put it to industrial and residential use. The rapid expansion in electrical technology at this time transformed industry and society, becoming a driving force for the Second Industrial Revolution. Electricity’s extraordinary versatility means it can be put to an almost limitless set of applications which include transport, heating, lighting, communications, and computation. Electrical power is now the backbone of modern industrial society.

  • Magnetism

    Magnetism is a class of physical phenomena that are mediated by magnetic fields. Electric currents and the magnetic moments of elementary particles give rise to a magnetic field, which acts on other currents and magnetic moments. The most familiar effects occur in ferromagnetic materials, which are strongly attracted by magnetic fields and can be magnetized to become permanent magnets, producing magnetic fields themselves. Only a few substances are ferromagnetic; the most common ones are iron, cobalt and nickel and their alloys. The prefix ferro- refers to iron, because permanent magnetism was first observed in lodestone, a form of natural iron ore called magnetite, Fe3O4.

    Although ferromagnetism is responsible for most of the effects of magnetism encountered in everyday life, all other materials are influenced to some extent by a magnetic field, by several other types of magnetism. Paramagnetic substances such as aluminum and oxygen are weakly attracted to an applied magnetic field; diamagnetic substances such as copper and carbon are weakly repelled; while antiferromagnetic materials such as chromium and spin glasses have a more complex relationship with a magnetic field. The force of a magnet on paramagnetic, diamagnetic, and antiferromagnetic materials is usually too weak to be felt and can be detected only by laboratory instruments, so in everyday life, these substances are often described as non-magnetic.

    The magnetic state (or magnetic phase) of a material depends on temperature and other variables such as pressure and the applied magnetic field. A material may exhibit more than one form of magnetism as these variables change. As with magnetizing a magnet, demagnetizing a magnet is also possible.

  • Electricity (noun)

    Originally, a property of amber and certain other nonconducting substances to attract lightweight material when rubbed, or the cause of this property; now understood to be a phenomenon caused by the distribution and movement of charged subatomic particles and their interaction with the electromagnetic field. from 17th c.

  • Electricity (noun)

    The study of electrical phenomena; the branch of science dealing with such phenomena. from 18th c.

  • Electricity (noun)

    A feeling of excitement; a thrill. from 18th c.

    “Opening night for the new production had an electricity unlike other openings.”

  • Electricity (noun)

    Electric power/energy as used in homes etc., supplied by power stations or generators. from 19th c.

  • Magnetism (noun)

    The property of being magnetic.

  • Magnetism (noun)

    The science which treats of magnetic phenomena.

  • Magnetism (noun)

    Power of attraction; power to excite the feelings and to gain the affections.


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