The figure shows a long horizontal wire PQ carrying a steady current of 50A in the direction QP. A copper wire RS of diameter 0.40mm hangs horizontally at a distance of 0.15m below wire PQ using some threads.
A current flows through RS such that there is no tension in the threads.
Identify the direction is the current and draw a free body diagram of the forces acting on RS.
If the current in RS is flowing opposite to the current in PQ, the two wires will repel each other.
Since the wire is suspended in equilibrium, the resultant force must be zero.
T1 + T2 = FB + W
We can see that it is not possible for the tension to be zero.
If the current in RS is flowing in the same direction as the current in PQ, the two wires will repel attract other.
Since the wire is suspended, the resultant force must be zero.
T1 + T2 + FB = W
When the tensions in both threads are zero, we have
Hence, current in RS must be flowing in the same direction as PQ, in the direction SR.
The free body diagram when there is no tension in the threads is as shown below: