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Difference between Electric field and Magnetic Field

An Electric field takes place where a voltage exists. They are produced around appliances and cables since a voltage exists. If the voltage is higher, an electric field is stronger and its strength is measured in volts per meter (V/m). The field strength diminishes quickly as we move away from the power source. They can be shielded by several physical objects, like trees or buildings.

In contrast, Magnetic fields are produced if there is a flow of current. As the current flow step-ups, the magnetic field strength goes up accordingly. Magnetic fields are measured in Gauss (or in smaller units like milli-Gauss).

This article covers the key differences between electric and magnetic field on the basis of isolation, polarity, laws to follow, distance relation, electric/magnetic field of lines, units, force, poles, and shielding effect.

Relation between Electric field and Magnetic Field

CharacteristicsElectric FieldMagnetic Field
Field generation Electric field E caused by electric charges, either moving or stationary (produced by voltage)Magnetic field B caused by moving electric charges and magnets (produced by current)
IsolationElectric charges can be isolatedMagnetic poles, on the other side, cannot be isolated
Attract / RepelUnlike charges behavior is "attract each other" whereas Like charges behavior is "repel each other"Like poles behavior is "repel each other" whereas unlike poles behavior is "attract each other"
Polarity+ and -North and South
LawsFollows Gauss’s law (if there is a symmetry)Follows Ampere’s law (if there is a symmetry)
Distance (r) relationElectric field is proportional to 1/r^2Magnetic field is proportional to 1/r^2
Electric / Magnetic Lines of forceElectric lines start from a positive charge and terminate to a negative chargeMagnetic lines start from a North pole and terminate to a South pole.
UnitsElectric field is measured in Newton per coulomb (N/C) or Volt per meter (V/m)Magnetic field is measured in Gauss or Tesla
ForceForce is proportional to an electric chargeForce is proportional to charge and speed of charge
PoleMonopole or DipoleDipole Only
Field shieldingElectric fields can be shielded easily by most materials such as trees, and buildingsMagnetic fields generally cannot be shielded easily

About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.

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