Feeling negative with all of the electrons involved in HSC Physics Module 6: Electromagnetism?

Don’t fret, we’re here to walk you through it!

Last year, we talked about Electric Fields in ‘Module 4: Electromagnetism.’ We covered:

  • Charged Objects & Interactions
  • Electric Circuits, and
  • Magnetic Objects

Now that we have built the foundations last year, it is time to “build the house” on top of these foundations as we look at how electric fields and magnetic fields interact with one another for some useful applications in our everyday lives.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of HSC Physics Module 6: Electromagnetism and break down each of the inquiry questions as well as giving you our top 3 tips to acing this module!

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s jump right in!

Changes From the Old Module
Overview of HSC Physics Module 6
Inquiry Question 1
Inquiry Question 2
Inquiry Question 3
Inquiry Question 4
3 Tips to Getting a Band 6 in HSC Physics Module 6

Changes From the Old Module

In the changes from the old syllabus (which was Topic 2: Motors and Generators), a stronger focus on concepts is prevalent rather than a mix of concepts and their impacts in society and on the environment. 

We also take a deeper look into electromagnetic induction in relation to the quantitative maths behind the effects.

What’s There to Learn in HSC Physics Module 6?

In HSC Physics Module 6: Electromagnetism, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of electromagnetism, including;

  1. Electric fields make a return, with this time a focus on how particles are affected by them
  2. You’re back using Electric Circuits, except this time you are focusing on how wires move when in contact with a magnetic field
  3. You merge two ideas together in how electric fields and magnetic fields relate to one another
  4. You look at how technological advances and everyday machines use the effects and laws inside this topic.
  5. There are a lot of equations in this topic with a lot of maths to wrap your head around.

Overview of HSC Physics Module 6: Electromagnetism

Now we’ll walk you through each of the inquiry questions and break down its key concepts!

Inquiry Question 1: What happens to stationary and moving charged particles when they interact with an electric or magnetic field?

This part of the topic is all about how charged particles travel through both an electric and magnetic field.

When talking about charged particles and an electric field, you imagine a tiny “charged particle cannon” firing these particles through these fields to produce parabolic paths, just as if you fired a cannonball.

It’s also important to know if your particle is positive or negative, as this could have drastic effects on the path and forces of the electron.

In regards to magnetic fields, it’s important to tell your North from your South and how your charged particles will react when entering a magnetic field.

When entering perpendicular, the particle gets the maximum “oompf” from the field whereas there is no effect if you are travelling parallel to the field.

Inquiry Question 2: Under what circumstances is a force produced on a current-carrying conductor in a magnetic field?

You look at the motor effect, the effect between a current carrying conductor and a uniform magnetic field.

Remember that maximum force is achieved when our field is perpendicular to the the current-carrying conductor and that no force is produced on the conductor if the field is placed parallel.

Next, you consider two wires travelling side by side (parallel) to each other in this section.

Whilst opposites attract in relation to positive and negative charges, you chuck all if this information “out the window” when it comes to the direction of currents.

You note that opposite current directions repel and create a pushing force on one another whilst those travelling in the same direction are drawn towards one another.

Inquiry Question 3: How are electric and magnetic fields related?

You take a plunge into how magnetic flux can change, that is, the measure of the amount of magnetic field in an area.

You also observe how an electric force can be generated by a moving magnet according to Faraday’s Law and how that current created travels in the opposite direction to the one that created it, by Lenz’s Law.

You also delve into transformers and how solenoids use the effects of Faraday’s Law and Lenz’s Law.

Whilst you do discuss imperfections such as the resistive heat production of transformers, you ignore these in our calculations as the ratio of voltage to the number of coils remains constant across transformer coils.

Inquiry Question 4: How has knowledge about the Motor Effect been applied to technological advances?

You continue to build upon the Motor Effect as we look at how this is involved within simple DC motors.

You’ll put on your builder’s hat as you put together a DC Motor with parts like the Axle and Rotor and how torque, the force of rotation, is produced by these motors.

Emf is also generated in a reverse direction according to Lenz’s and Faraday’s laws when operating a motor, which you use in Left Hand Rule to determine this back EMF.

Finally, you incorporate the overarching Law of Conservation of Energy and how this law helps getting a DC Motor turning and how we stop trains and rides with magnetic braking.

3 Tips to Getting a Band 6 in HSC Physics Module 6

Tip #1: Right Hand Rules are Your Friend

Throughout this topic, there is going to be a lot of scenarios where you’re using the Right Hand Rule.

Whether it’s a current-carrying conductor moving through a magnetic field or a spinning motor, it’s important to know your right hand rule to indicate which direction your motor will spin or which way your wire with move.

Don’t be afraid to use these in an exam, as they are extremely helpful at indicating the right direction and could score you some easy multiple choice marks.

Tip #2: Know Your Eddy Currents

Eddy currents are prevalent throughout many aspects of this topic, particularly how they resist total energy transformation within transformers.

We need to know how these eddy currents “spin” in the opposite direction to the currents that created them (as according to Lenz’s Law) and how the heat created is an unwanted energy transformation as opposed to the transformation of the voltage.

Tip #3: Learn Lenz and the Reverse

Lenz’s law also appears in many different circumstances of this module.

We use this to describe the direction of currents in wires and solenoids.

Whilst we can use the Left Hand Rule to describe this, it’s easier to describe this as the “opposite to the Right Hand Rule” to free up some memory for your exam.

We also note that Lenz’s law plays a vital role in creating back emf in the opposite direction and important in magnetic braking technology to slow down fast moving trains.

And that wraps up our guide to HSC Physics Module 6: Electromagnetism – good luck!

You can also check out our other HSC Physics guides below:

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Sean Stephen graduated in 2018 with an ATAR of 97.1 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies / Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) at UNSW. Beginning at Art of Smart in 2019, Sean works across the Resource Design, Innovation and Blogging Teams to support thousands of students throughout their HSC. When away from studying, Sean enjoys everything pop culture from videogames to TV, music and movies.