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Difference between Electric Field and Magnetic Field

Difference between Electric Field and Magnetic Field

Electric field

Electric field is the property of electricity regarding each point in space that contains a charge that can be present in any form. Electric field can be defined in simple words as electric force present per unit charge. The following is the formula for electric field,


Where, E = electric

field F = force

Q = charge

Electric fields can be generally caused with the help of varying electric charges or magnetic fields. The SI unit of electric field strength is volt per meter (V/m).

The electric field direction is the direction of a force that can be exerted on a positive charge. This field can be seen radially inwards towards its negative side and radially outwards from its positive point charge.

NCERT Class 10 Science Chapter 13 Magnetic Effects of Electric Current talks thoroughly about some fundamental topics related to the electric fields like electromagnetism and magnetic field. 

Definition of electric field

Mathematically, an electric field can be described as a vector field which is contacted with each point in space. This field can be produced with the help of electric charge or can be generated by a magnetic field which contains time-varying characteristics. While talking on an atomic scale, the electric field can be found accountable for the attraction of forces among the atomic nucleus and electrons that could hold them together.

Coulomb’s law indicates that a particle which is present with an electric charge q1 at a certain position, let’s say x1 which is capable of exerting a specified force on the particle that possesses a charge with q0 at position x0. This can be expressed as follows,



r1,0 is considered as the unit vector in a direction from x1 to x2 0 is the electric constant. This can also be called as absolute permittivity of free space


The force can be said as positive if the charges q0 and q1 contain the same sign. This direction is seen away from other charges which indicate they can repel one another.

Electric field can be obtained by calculating force per unit charge. This can be expressed as, 


To calculate the electric field in a simple way, one can use the Gauss law. It states that the entire electric flux contained inside a closed surface is equal to the charge disclosed divided by the term called permittivity. In other words, total flux contained with a surface can be seen 10 times that of the charge which is disclosed by a closed surface. This is expressed as follows, 


Magnetic field

Magnetic field is described as the region which is present around a magnetic material or else an electric charge which is in motion within which the magnetism force acts. The symbol of the magnetic field is B or H. Its SI unit is Tesla.

Definition of magnetic field

Mathematically, a magnetic field can be defined as a vector field. This vector field is a collection of various vectors which are drawn on a grid.

Magnetic field lines are used as an alternative procedure which represents the data present inside a magnetic vector field. These lines are imaginary. They are a visual tool and are helpful in representing magnetic fields. Magnetic field lines define the magnetic force direction on the north monopole at any specified position.

The density of the imaginary magnetic field lines denotes the magnitude possessed by the field. For example, the magnetic field is said to be stronger and crowded near the magnetic poles. If the magnet is moved away from the pole, then it will experience less dense and is weaker in nature.

Equation involved

According to Ampere’s law, the magnetic field present at a particular distance r from a current carrying conductor l, is provided by, 



B = Magnetic field

0 = permeability constant of free space

Properties of magnetic field lines

  • Magnetic field lines can never cross one another
  • These lines always make closed loops
  • If the density of the field lines is high, then it demonstrates that it contains high strength as well
  • Magnetic field lines always start from the north pole (top side of the bar magnet) and terminate at the south pole.

Difference between Electric Field and Magnetic Field

Electric Field Magnetic Field
It produces an electric charge in the surrounding It produces an electric charge around the magnets which are in motion
It is proportional for the electric charge It is proportional to the speed of electric charge
It is perpendicular to the magnetic field It is perpendicular to the electric field
Measured as newton per coulomb, volt per meter Measured as gauss or tesla
An electrometer is utilised to measure the electric field The magnetometer is a device used to measure the magnetic field

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