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Beyond the Point Charge: Equipotential Surfaces and Electric Fields of Various Charge Configurations

Phillips, Jeffrey A.; Sanny, Jeff; Berube, David; Hoemke, Anatol – Physics Teacher, 2017

A laboratory experiment often performed in an introductory electricity and magnetism course involves the mapping of equipotential lines on a conductive sheet between two objects at different potentials. In this article, we describe how we have expanded this experiment so that it can be used to illustrate the electrostatic properties of conductors.…

Descriptors: Science Experiments, Laboratory Experiments, Science Laboratories, Energy

Duggen, L.; Willatzen, M.; Voon, L. C. Lew Yan – European Journal of Physics, 2012

This paper illustrates both a problem in mathematical physics, whereby the method of separation of variables, while applicable, leads to three ordinary differential equations that remain fully coupled via two separation constants and a five-term recurrence relation for series solutions, and an exactly solvable problem in electrostatics, as a…

Descriptors: Mathematics, Physics, Calculus, Equations (Mathematics)

Peer reviewed

Cleaver, Thomas G. – Physics Teacher, 1978

Describes a laboratory game called SUPERCHARGE, used as an aid to help students understand the concept of equipotential surfaces generated by distributions of charges. (GA)

Descriptors: College Science, Educational Games, Electricity, Games

Burko, Lior M. – European Journal of Physics, 2007

Multipole expansions depend on the coordinate system, so that coefficients of multipole moments can be set equal to zero by an appropriate choice of coordinates. Therefore, it is meaningless to say that a physical system has a nonvanishing quadrupole moment, say, without specifying which coordinate system is used. (Except if this moment is the…

Descriptors: Mathematics Activities, Physics, Evaluation, Equations (Mathematics)

Elizalde-Torres, J.; González-Cardel, M.; Vega-Murguía, E. J.; Castillo-González, I.; Rodríguez-Nava, M. – Physics Education, 2015

This paper presents the development of a conductive gel that can be used to measure the electrical potential differences on its surface, and has enough consistency to plot equipotential lines. It has a gelation time of less than 10 min, and is suitable for implementing learning experiences in a physics teaching laboratory in a 90 min session. To…

Descriptors: Science Instruction, Science Experiments, Physics, Energy

Peer reviewed

Brandt, Siegmund; Schneider, Hermann – American Journal of Physics, 1976

Describes a computer program that computes field lines and equipotential surfaces for a wide range of field configurations. Presents the mathematical technique and details of the program, the input data, and different modes of graphical representation. (MLH)

Descriptors: College Science, Computer Graphics, Computer Programs, Computers

Peer reviewed

Physics Education, 1989

Described are the purposes, laboratory set-ups, and procedures of four classroom experiments: ultrasound speedometer; vibrating-bar depth gauge; folding three-dimensional model of equipotential surfaces; and a simple optical system for the reconstruction of images from computer-generated holograms. Diagrams and pictures are provided. (YP)

Descriptors: Acoustics, College Science, Electronics, Higher Education