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Electricity and Magnetism Demos

Click on any link in order to view the demonstration with an instructional video. Additionally, there are procedure/activity plans listed for some of the demonstrations below. If you have an idea for an activity plan, download the demonstration template from the navigation panel, fill it out and email it to

Damped Driven Oscillator

Demonstrate the effect of a damped oscillator using an oscilloscope with the built circuit to show the graph of the voltage.

Eddy Current

A Copper bar is swung between two very strong magnets. When the bar passes through the magnetic field, the field induces a current that creates a magnetic field that decelerates the bar.

Electric Whirl

A rotating apparatus is connected to the Whimshurst machine. As the charge is built up at the ends of the electric whirl, it ionizes the surrounding air that begins to propel the apparatus.


A glass rod is charged up by rubbing it with cotton or silk. The bar is then moved close to the electroscope causing the bar in the middle of the circle to rotate because of the presence of the charged rod.

Franklin Bell

A metal bob is hung between the two nodes of the Whimshurst machine. When the Whimshurst machine builds up charge the ball will be pulled to one of the nodes. When the ball strikes the node it will charge up with opposite charge as the node and be repelled to the other node. The process is repeated, thus causing the metal bob to oscillate back and forth.


Galvanometer records current as a magnet passes through a coil of copper. As the magnet passes through the coil, it induces a current by changing the magnetic flux.

Leyden Jar

Demonstrates how to use a Leyden Jar and goes over demonstration ideas involving them. Leyden Jars are large capacitors capable of storing large amounts of charge which may be discharged at the experimenters will.

Light Bulb Circuit

Large apparatus that has light bulbs and extenders that can be placed in the apparatus to demonstrate different types of circuits.

CAUTION: Due to the nature of this demonstration, someone from the lecture demonstration staff will set this out right before the lecture and remove it immediately after. It cannot be left out for extended periods of time without supervision and only the professor demonstrating the apparatus should operate it.

CAUTION: High voltage.

Magic Fabric

Apparatus with strings is connected to the Whimshurst machine. As the Whimshurst machine builds up charge the strings begin to levitate.

Magic Ring

Rings are placed around a copper coil with a magnetized iron core. As current is ran through the copper coil, it will shoot the ring off of the coil and into the air.

Magnet and a Wire

A copper wire and a magnet hang from a ring stand. When current is ran through the wire, the magnet is attracted to the wire because of the magnetic field created by moving charge.

Magnetic Field Lines and Iron Filings

Different arrangements of copper wire on plastic that can be connected to a power supply. As current is ran through the copper wires, iron filings are sprinkled over the wires and the iron will conform to the field lines of the magnetic field.

Magnet in a Copper Pipe

A piece of metal is dropped through a long copper tube and then a group of magnets is dropped through the same copper tube and the time that it takes to fall all the way through is much longer than the piece of metal. The reason is the magnets falling through the copper tube create an opposing magnetic field that slows the magnet.

Nails and a Magnet

A simple cup of nails and magnets and a strong magnet to stick to the bottom to show that the magnetic field can keep all of the nails in the cup.

Plasma Ball and Element Tube

Plasma ball with an element tube. When the tube makes contact with the plasma ball, it will excite the the gas in the tube and cause it to light up.

Plasma Ball

A simple plasma ball.

Generates a high potential in order to demonstrate the effect of electric fields.

CAUTION: High voltage.

Tesla Coil

Large version: Very dangerous. Ask us for help with this. Needs a large space. 

Mini-Version: Music Tesla Coil with Plasma Loudspeaker Wireless Transmission. Used in the PHYS 112 Labs. 


A device used as a musical instrument which uses two "antennae" to adjust amplitude and frequency of a sound wave as your hand moves towards or away from it.

Whimshurst Machine

An apparatus of two rotating wheels that move in opposite directions. As the wheels move, the charge separation causes charge to build up on two nodes and then an arc can be created between the two nodes.