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Eddy currents are electric currents induced in electrically conducting materials by fluctuating magnetic fields. An eddy current is caused when a moving (or changing) magnetic field intersects a conductor, or vice-versa. The relative motion causes a circulating flow of electrons, or current, within the conductor. These circulating eddies of current create electromagnets with magnetic fields that oppose the effect of the applied magnetic field.
In effect, an eddy current absorbs kinetic energy, causing a conductor (such as a large plate of copper) to stop when it is swung through a magnetic field. Eddy currents are sometimes used as braking technology.