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Getting a Charge From Classroom Research

Taking part in interesting research at Rockhurst isn't relegated only to out-of-the-classroom research opportunities. In fact, you'll often engage in challenging, hands-on research projects in the classroom, as faculty utlize innovative classroom experiences to enhance students' learning and find solutions to real-world problems.

The brushes are hollow. The material we use is hollow on the inside, and so that just decreases the weight. And we thought it would just be a fun way to-- you know, everyone else's was kind of similar. So we thought, you know, let's try something different and see how that turns out.

The students have built electric motors that we can test today, and they've built a key part of the motor.

So electric motors use the fundamentals of magnetism and electricity combined together. In order to rotate this motor when it's put inside of a-- well, there's a large magnet on the bottom, a smaller magnets on the top. And whenever a current is passed through these wires, it will turn.

We have below and above a permanent magnet here and here, which is represented on the real motor by these electromagnets, these two coils. Then the rotating part that's inside of here is what the students have built.

So the goal was to design a motor that could successfully lift a mass of 40 grams while spinning inside the magnetic field, given the 3 volts of electricity that we are supplied. Every time that one of these pieces of copper tape come into contact with a copper tape on the mount, the electricity will run through these wires. And each one of them have a corresponding wire. And when the current goes through there, through the magnetic field, it will cause rotation.

So the whole purpose of this is for this to rotate, but have torque, which is the power with which it rotates in order to lift the mass.