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AJP000522

AJP000522

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Published by Azra H.
Internal Combustion Engine Combustion Visualiation
Internal Combustion Engine Combustion Visualiation

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Electricfieldsandchargesinelementarycircuits
Mark
A.
Heald
DepartmentofPhysics,SwarthmoreCollege,Swarthmore,Pennsylvania19081
(Received14June1983;acceptedforpublication27September1983)
In
anefforttoclarifytheroleofsurfacechargesontheconductorsofelementaryelectriccircuitsandtheelectricfieldsinthespacearoundthem,wepresentaquantitativeanalysisof(two-dimensional)circularcurrentloops.
It
isalsonotedthat,ingeneral,linesofPoyntingfluxlieintheequipotentialsurfacesofquasistaticsystems.Thereisapeculiardiscontinuityintheusualpresenta-tionofthefirsttwomajorelectricaltopicsinstandardin-troductoryphysicscourses.
In
electrostatics,ourattentionfocusesexplicitlyontheelectricchargesresidingoncon-ductorsandontheelectricfieldsexistinginthespaceexter-naltotheconductors.Then,inthenextlecture(orchapter),weproceedtoelectriccircuitsandourattentionfocusesonbatteries,resistors,hookupwire,andeventuallycapaci-tors.Aperceptivefreshmanmayseetheapparent
nonse-quitur
andask,"Don'twehavetoworryaboutchargedis-tributionsanymore?"and"Whataretheelectricfieldsinthevicinityofthecircuit?"Thestudentmightevenwon-der,"Howdoesaconductionelectroninacrookedpieceofwire,alongwayfromthebattery,knowenoughtoturnthecorner?"Theseissuesareonlyrarelydealtwithintextbooks,ateithertheintroductoryorintermediatelevel.ThemostcompletetextbookdiscussionknowntothiswriteristhatofJefimenko.
1
Solutionsto"Merzbacher's
puzzle'?
havealreadybeendiscussedmanytimesinthe
AmericanJour-nalofPhysics
overtheyears.Thefactthatsoauthoritativeateacherraisedthetopicagainsuggestsitssubtletyandintransigence.
3
I.THESIMPLEANSWER
Thesimpleanswertoour"perceptivefreshman's"ques-tionsisthatmostofthetimewe
don'tneedtoknow
whatthechargedistributionsandexternalfieldsare,whichisfortunatebecausetheyareusuallyverydifficulttocalcu-lateortomeasure.Suchchargesandfields
doexist-nature
providesthemautomaticallyandtheyareessentialforguidingtheconductioncurrentalongthewires-buttheydonotfigureexplicitlyinourquantitativeanalysisorprac-ticalconstructionofordinaryelectriccircuits.Thechargesandfieldsgohandinhand:ifwecanneglectone,wecanneglecttheother;ifweinsistontalkingaboutone,wemustincludetheother.Forinstance,Kirchhoff'slooprule(suitablystatedintermsofthesumofpotentialincrements)appliestoanymathematicalpathwemightchoose.Butbychoosingapaththatcoincideswiththehardwareofthecircuit,wehavesimplemeanstobookkeeptheincrementsinpotentialasweproceedaroundtheloop(emf's,
IR-drops,
etc.).Thisissufficientforaquantitativeanalysisofthebehaviorofthecircuit.Infinitelymanyother"Kirchhoff-loop"equationsexistforloopsthatdonotcoincidewiththecircuitbuttheydonotallowustosolveforanythingofinterest.Forstrictlydecircuits,theKirchhoffpointruleisrigor-ous.Whenthepotentialsaretimevarying,thepointruleisnolongerrigorousbecauseofthetime-varyingchargeonthesurfaceofthehookupwire.Fortunatelyagreatdealofelectronictechnologyisatlowenoughfrequenciesthatthe
522
Am.J.Phys.52(6),June1984
numericalerrorincontinuingtousethepointruleiswellbelowthethresholdofdetectability.Thereasonnotjustfreshmenbutevenprofessionalelec-tronicsengineersdonotwanttotalkaboutthechargesdistributedonelectriccircuitsisthatitisverydifficulttodeterminethesechargesquantitatively.Soonegoestogreatpainstoavoidneedingtodeterminethem.Thisisusuallydonebyrestrictingconsiderationtothe"slowlyvarying"or"quasistatic"case,typicallyfrequenciesbelowafewmegahertz.Forhigherfrequencies,inlatercoursesinhigh-frequencyelectronicsandelectromagneticfields,thestudentlearnsabouttheimportanceof"straycapacitance"andthetechnologyoftransmissionlinesandwaveguides,whichwereinventedinthespiritof"whenyoucan'tfight'em.join'em."Thatis,intheselattercasesthegeome-triesarechoseninsuchawaythatthechargesandfieldsarewelldefinedandcalculatable.Aslongaswestayinthe"slowlyvarying"limit,notonlycanweusetheKirchhoffpointrulebutalso,tothesamelevelofprecision,wecanacceptthewell-knownbutnonob-viousruleconcerningcapacitorsthatthechargesonthetwoplatesofanyonecapacitoralwaysoccurwithequalmagnitudeandoppositesign.ThisrulefollowsfromGauss'slawandtheassumptionthattheonlynon-negligi-bleelectricfieldisinthesmallspacebetweenthecapacitorplates.Thechargesalsoareresponsibleforforcesthatonepor-tionofacircuitexertsupon
another."
Fortunatelymostpracticalcircuitsarerigidenoughthattheseforceshavenegligibleeffectandwehavenoneedtocalculatethem.
II.IMPORTANCEOFGEOMETRY
Thereasonthatitissohardtoknowthesurfacechargesontheconductorsofacircuitisthattheirdistributionde-pends'onthedetailedgeometryofthecircuititselfandevenofits
surroundings.'
Forinstance,wewouldhavetospecifyexactlyhowthepiecesofhookupwirearebent.Andsincemostreal-worldcircuitshaverathercomplicatedgeome-tries,themathematicaldifficultyofmakingthiscalcula-tionisforbidding.Therearetwousefulthingsthatcanbedone,however.Oneistochooseaverysimple,idealizedgeometrythatistractableandstudyitasatestcase.Theotheristolookforqualitativeeffectswithouttryingtogetquantitative.Themostobvioussimplegeometryisaverylong,straight,resistivewire.Thisproblemhasbeentreatedbyanumberofauthors.
6-10
Tomaketheproblemwelldefined,thewireisassumedtobelocatednormallybetweencapaci-torplatesofinfinitearea,orpartofacoaxialorparallel-wirecircuit(theusualtransmission-linegeometries).Thegeneralconclusionisthatthesurfacechargedensityisa
linear
functionoftheaxialcoordinate.Theplacewherethe
@)
1984AmericanAssociationofPhysicsTeachers
522
 
chargedensityislocallyzerodependsupondetailsoftheformulationoftheproblem.Withguidancefromthisoneclassofquantitativesolu-tions,anumberofauthorshavediscussedqualitativelywhatmakesthecurrentflow,
11.12
whatmakesthecurrentturna
corner.P:"
andhowcrosstalkarisesbetween"shielded"coaxialcables.
15
III.THECURRENTLOOP
Thepurposeofthepresentpaperistogiveaquantitativeandpictorialtreatmentoftwoexamplesfromasecondclassofidealizedcircuitgeometries.Thecontextofthedis-cussionofelementarycircuitsinanintroductorycourseand,indeedinallof"slowlyvarying"circuittheory,isnotthelongstraightwirebutratherthe
loop.
Initsprimitiveform
it
consistsofabatteryconnectedtoaresistorwithhookupwire,asinFig.l(a).Ouraimistoseehowfarwecandealquantitativelywithasystemapproachingthisele-mentaryprototype.
16.17
Thehabitofdrawingcircuitsschematicallywithsquarecorners[Fig.l(a)]isonlyanestheticconvention;realcir-cuitsrarelylooklikethat.Wecanbettermodelanactualphysicalcircuitbysupposingittobelaidoutinapreciselycirculargeometry,asinFig.l(b).Forpresentpurposes,wemayeventhinkoftheresistorasbeingdistributeduniform-lyaroundtheentireloop,asinFig.l(c).Inbothframes(b)and(c)ofFig.1weusetheconventionalzig-zaglinetosymbolizeresistance;theactualresistorthatthesedia-gramsrepresentwouldbeanonwigglyresistivewire(ni-chrome,letussay)conformingtothecirculargeometry.Evenwiththesesimplificationswestillhavearatherintractableproblem.Thelimitastheradiusofthewiregoestozeroisnotwelldefined.IfweweretoattempttosolveLaplace'sequationfortheelectrostaticpotentialinthevi-cinityofthewire,wewouldhavetodealwiththeboundaryconditiononthe
toroidal
surfaceofthefinite-sizewire(evenifweidealizethebatteryasofnegligiblesize).Inprin-ciplethisproblemcanbesolvedusingnumericalmethodssuchas
relaxation,"
buttheboundarygeometryandthethreedimensionalityareveryawkward.Therelatedmag-neticproblemmustalsobesolvedifwewanttofindthePoyntingflux.
19
Thusweareledtorestrictourconsiderationtotheanal-ogoustwo-dimensionalproblem.Wereinterpretframes(b)and(c)ofFig.1asrepresentingcrosssectionsofinfinitecylinders.Thebatteryisnowintheshapeofalinenormaltothediagramattheleft.Asheetcurrentflowsazimuthal-lyaroundthecylindricalconductingsheet("hookupwire"
Fig.1.Theelementarycurrentloop:(a)schematicdiagram;(b)circularloopwithlocalized("lumped")resistorofangularsize
2a;
(c)circularloopwithdistributedresistor,showingpolarcoordinatesystem.Theloopradi-usis
a.
523Am.J.Phys.,Vol.52,No.6,June1984
and
resistorlr"
Weshallseethatthisidealizedgeometryisquitetractable.Amongotherthings,itiswellbehavedastheannularthicknessoftheconductingsheetgoestozero.Theanalysisisattheintermediatelevel;theresultingdia-gramsareeasilyunderstoodattheintroductorylevel.
IV.DISTRIBUTEDRESISTOR
WeconsiderthecylindricalgeometryofFig.l(c),witha"line"batterydrivingcurrentazimuthallyinauniformcylindricalresistivesheet(thezig-zaglinefortheresistorinthefigureisonlysymbolic).Weuseconventionalcylindri-calcoordinates
r,O,z
coaxialwiththecylinder.Theradiusofthecylinderis
a;
theannularthicknessisnegligible.Thebatteryislocatedat
0
=
±
1T;
itsterminalsareatpotentials
±
V012.
ForsomepurposesitwillbeeasiertoworkinCartesiancoordinates,
x
=
rcosO
and
y
=
r
sinO.InaccordancewithOhm'slawthepotentialatthecon-ductoris
VIr
=
a;O)
=
VoO/21T(-1T
<
0
<
1T).
Usingthewell-knownFourier
identity"
<X>(_
W-
I
sin(kO)
o
=
2
L(-
1T
<
0
<
1T)
k=1
k
(1)
(2)
andthecylindricalharmonicsforsolutionsindependentofthe
z
coordinate."wecanimmediatelyexpressthepoten-tialinsideandoutsideintheformoftheinfiniteseries
VIr
<
a;O)
=
_..!::2.
f(-
/a)k
sin(kO),(3)
1T
k=1
k
V(r>a;O)
=
_..!::2.
f
(-a/r)ksin(kO).
(4)
1T
k=1
k
Theseseriescanbeputintheclosed
forms"
V(r<a;O)
=
(V
0I1T)tan-
1
[r
sinO
/(a
+
r
cosO)]
=
(Vo/1T)tan-l[y/(a+x)]
=
(V0I1T)l,6,(5)VIr>a;O)
=
(V
oI1T)tan-
1
[a
sinO
/(r
+
acosO)]
=
v0I1T)tan-l[ay/(x2
+
ax
+
y2)],(6)
where
l,6
inEq.(5)isthepolarangleforanoriginatthe
Fig.2.Equipotentialsfor(two-dimensional)currentloopwithdistributedresistance.Thebattery,ofnegligiblesize,isatthedotattheleft.ThelinesinsidetheloopcanalsobeinterpretedaslinesofPoyntingflux.Mark
A.
Heald523
 
Fig.3.Electriclinesofforceforcurrentloopwithdistributedresistance.
battery.Figure
2
showsarepresentativefamilyofequipo-tentials.Insidetheloop,theequipotentialsarestraightlines(strictly,planesextendinginthe
z
dimension),asindicatedinthefinalformofEq.
(5).
Outside,theequipotentialsarecirculararcs(cylindricalsurfaces),givenby
(x
+
!a)2
+
[y-
!acot(1TVIVoW
=
!aCSC(1TVIVoW.
(7)
Allouterequipotentialspassthroughthebatteryat
x
=-
a,
Y
=
0,andextrapolatethroughtheorigin
x
==
0.Thustheyaresymmetricabouttheverticalplaneat
x
=-
!a.
Theelectricfieldatanypointcannowbefoundbycalcu-latingthegradientofthepotential.ThelinesofforceareshowninFig.3.20Notethatthelinesofforceleavetheconductingsurfacediagonallyasexplainedqualitativelyby
Parker"
andmanyothers.Insidetheloop,thelinesofforcearecirculararcscen-teredonthebattery,givenby
(x
+
a)2
+
y2
=
(21-
Na)2,
(8)
where
N
isaparameteridentifyingaparticularfieldline;"Themagnitudeofthefieldinsideis20
IE
I,<a
=
(Vol1T)(I/p),
(9)
where
p
isthepolarradiusmeasuredfromthebattery.Outsidetheloop,thelinesofforceareagaincirculararcs,givenby25
[x-
al(2
2-
2N-
1)]2
+
y2
=
[21-Nal(22-2N-
1)]2.(10)
Themagnitudeofthefieldoutsideis
IE
I,>a
=
(VoI1T)(alrp),
whererand
p
arethepolarradiimeasuredfromthecenter(axis)andfromthebattery,respectively.Atlargedistances,thesystemhasthefieldofa(two-dimensional)dipolelocat-edat
x
=-
!a,
y
=
0.Thefieldjustoutsideissimilar,butnotidentical,tothatofafinite(two-dimensional)dipole.
26
V.SURFACECHARGEANDPOYNTINGVECfORFromtheradialcomponentofthefieldas
r---+a
wecanfindthesurfacechargedensity,
0-(0)
=(
±
)EoE,
=
(EoV
01217'0)
tan(!O)
524Am.J.Phys.,Vol.52,No.6,June1984
(11)
whereagain
¢
isthepolaranglewithrespecttoanoriginatthebattery(-
!1T
<
¢
<
!1T).
Thissamechargedensityexistsonboththeinnerandoutersurfacesoftheresistiveconduc-tor.
It
isnolongeralinearfunctionofthelengthcoordinate(perimeter)oftheresistor,asitwasforthelongstraightconductor,
6-10
butatangentfunctionthatincreasesnonlin-earlytowardsthebattery.Themagneticfieldofthisexampleistheelementarycaseofaninfinitesolenoid:themagnitudeofthefieldisuniforminsideandzerooutside,anditsdirectionis(inwardly)nor-maltothefigure.ThePoyntingvectorS
=
EX
BI,uo
liesintheplaneofthefigure,orthogonaltotheE-fieldlinesofforce,andthuscoincideswiththeequipotentials."Thatis,wecaninterprettheequipotentiallinesinsidetheloopinFig.
2
asbeinglinesofPoyntingflux.Thevectorsenseisfromthebatterytotheresistorwiththephysicalinterpre-tationthatthePoyntingfluxrepresentsthepathoftrans-portofenergyfromtheinteriorofthebatteryassourcetotheJoule
(I2
R)
sinkinthe
resistor."
It
iseasytoseefromphysicalargumentsthat,sincethemagneticfieldiscon-stant,afamilyofequipotentialschosentorepresentequalstepsofpotential(asinFig.
2)
alsorepresentsequalincre-mentsofPoyntingflux,inaccordancewiththeconventionthatthedensityoffluxlinesisproportionaltothelocalmagnitudeofthePoyntingvector.Figures
2
and3,andEq.
(12),
arequantitativelycorrectonlyforthetwo-dimensional(cylindrical)case.Neverthe-less,theyarenotfarfromwhatonewouldexpectforthethree-dimensionalcaseofaloopconsistingofa"point"batteryandathinresistivewire.Inthatcase,ofcourse,themagneticfieldoutsidetheloopisnonzeroandofreversedsense.Accordingly,theequipotentials
outside
theloop,intheanalogofFig.
2
forthethree-dimensionalwire,wouldalsocoincidewithlinesofPoyntingflux.Thatis,energyisfedtoelementsofthewirefromallsides,includingnormaltotheplaneofthefigure,incontrasttothetwo-dimension-alcasewherethesheetresistorisfedenergyonlyfromtheinside.Thechargesonthesurfaceofthewireprovidetwotypesofelectricfield.Thechargesprovidethefield
inside
thewirethatdrivestheconductioncurrentaccordingtoOhm'slaw.Simultaneouslythechargesprovideafield
out-side
thewirethatcreatesaPoyntingflux.Bymeansofthislatterfield,thechargesenablethewiretobeaguide(inthesenseofarailroadtrack)forelectromagneticenergyflow-inginthespacearoundthewire.Intuitivelyonemightpre-ferthenotionthatelectromagneticenergyistransportedbythecurrent,insidethewires.
It
takessomeefforttocon-vinceoneself(andone'sstudents)thatthisisnotthecaseandthatinfacttheenergyflowsinthespace
outside
thewire.i"
It
iseasytogeneralizethecoincidenceofequipotentialsandlinesofPoyntingfluxfor"slowlyvarying"systemsinwhichFaradayelectricfieldscanbeneglected.Theelectricfieldatapoint,beingthegradientofthepotential,isper-pendiculartotheequipotentialsurfacepassingthroughthepoint.ThePoyntingvector,proportionaltothevectorpro-ductEXB,isnecessarilyperpendiculartotheelectricfield.ThereforethePoyntingvectoratthepoint,anditsexten-sionintoacontinuousfluxline,mustlieinthatequipoten-tialsurface."Inatwo-dimensionaldiagramofaparticularthree-dimensionalelectricsystem,theequipotentialsgen-erallyappearaslines,beingtheintersectionofafamilyofequipotentialsurfaceswiththeplaneofthediagram.TheseequipotentiallinesmayormaynotbelinesofPoyntingflux
12)
MarkA.Heald524

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