Reed Relays and
Electronics India Limited
Manufacturer of Reed Switches, Reed Sensors and Reed-based products
Reed Relays and Electronics India Limited Incorporated in 1971

Electro-motive Force (EMF)

Electromotive Force

Electro-motive Force is a measure of the energy that causes current to flow through a circuit. It is also the potential difference in charge between two points in a circuit.

In electromagnetism and electronics, electromotive force (also electromotance, abbreviated emf, denoted ) is the electrical action produced by a non-electrical source, measured in volts. Devices (known as transducers) provide an emf by converting other forms of energy into electrical energy, such as batteries (which convert chemical energy) or generators (which convert mechanical energy). Sometimes an analogy to water pressure is used to describe electromotive force. (The word "force" in this case is not used to mean forces of interaction between bodies).

In electromagnetic induction, emf can be defined around a closed loop of conductor as the electromagnetic work that would be done on an electric charge (an electron in this instance) if it travels once around the loop. For a time-varying magnetic flux linking a loop, the electric potential's scalar field is not defined due to a circulating electric vector field, but an emf nevertheless does work that can be measured as a virtual electric potential around the loop.

In the case of a two-terminal device (such as an electrochemical cell) which is modeled as a Thévenin's equivalent circuit, the equivalent emf can be measured as the open-circuit potential difference, or voltage, between the two terminals. This potential difference can drive an electric current if an external circuit is attached to the terminals, in which case the device becomes the voltage source of that circuit.

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