Explain the application of the right hand rule in science.

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justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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The right hand rule in an alternate form called the right hand grip rule is applied in several applications related to physics. It is used to determine the direction of vectors that are a result of a magnetic field, an electric field and when rotation is induced by a force.

Some examples of the application of the right hand grip rule include the following. In determining the direction of torque when there is rotation induced by a force; if the right hand is used to grip the axis of rotation with the fingers pointing in the direction of the force the direction of torque is indicated by the thumb. When an electric current flows through a solenoid, if the fingers are wrapped in the direction of the conventional current the thumb indicates the direction of the magnetic field.  The magnetic field around a straight wire through which a current is flowing is indicated by the direction of the fingers wrapped around the wire if the thumb points in the direction of flow of conventional current.

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sciencesolve's profile pic

sciencesolve | Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The right hand rule helps you to determine the orientation of the vector that is the result of cross product of two vectors `bar u`  and `bar v` .

You need to extend your hand in direction of vector `bar u`  thinking that the tail of the vector `bar v`  is perpendicular to your palm.

You need to curl the fingers as you would want to grip an object, that means that you need to curl your fingers in a counter clockwise direction. Your thumb will point in direction made by the vector `bar uX bar v` .

You may use the right hand rule to understand how electromagnetism works or you may determinate the direction of the axes of the right hand cartesian system.

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