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Kobbi Gal PH 262 Spring 2012 Date of Lab: 2/8/2012 Lab #3 Electric Fields and Equipotentials Lab partner:

Antenneh Hailemeskel. Purpose: The purpose of this lab was to begin understanding and experimenting with electrical potentials and examining electrical fields, from their directions to their strengths and their behavior. We also associate the experiments with the amount of work done and the relationship to the perpendicular equipotent points on the field plates supplied to us. The focal point was to analyze where these equipotent areas were located, the way they trend and curve considering different surroundings and draw from that the approximated electrical fields. After this analysis we had a broad idea of the electrical map for each field plate and try to investigate why each plate wasn t similar to the next. Another purpose of this lab was to demonstrate and make it easier to grasp the idea that positive electrical charge emits electrical fields while negative charges attract them. Equipment: The equipment used in this lab was: 1. 2. A 6v battery (which actually outputted only 5.5v after measurement). Its purpose was to supply the board with electricity. Electrical field surface. The surface consisted of 7 resistors which decreased voltage from port 1 (highest voltage) to port 7 (lowest voltage). On opposite sides of the board were the positive and negative terminals where the battery connected and transferred electricity to the board. The main area of the board had the graph paper on it, with little circular bumps that were put there to keep the templates in place. The bottom of the board had two knobs that held the chosen field plates in place. 3 templates and field plates. The templates had the exact copy of the field plates and helped us draw them exactly on the graph paper. The field plates were there to change the electrical workspace and eventually the way each graphed electrical field looked. Probe. The probe was connected to the galvanometer. It had space between the lower part and the upper part so it can glide over board. It had a metal circular ball in the end of it so it can measure the electrical point where we chose to measure, which was its purpose. Galvanometer. The galvanometer was connected on its negative end to the probe and its positive end to the resistance points located on the board. Its purpose was to locate the equipotential points on the board. 4 cables. 2 of the cables had alligator ends which were used to strengthen the grip with the battery ends and the other two cables had banana plugs, which fit perfectly inside the connectors of the panel and the galvanometer. Digital multimeter. This device came with two cords (black and red) with metal ends at the tips. The cords connected to the positive and negative connectors on the device and helped us 1

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Kobbi Gal PH 262 Spring 2012 Date of Lab: 2/8/2012 measure voltage on the battery and each resistance points. We used the 200m setting for accurate measurements. 8. Writing utensils, graph paper, a ruler and notebook to record equipotential points and draw curves. Procedure: We read the lab together and proceeded to go step-by-step doing every action together. We then brought the equipment listed above and concentrated them on the table, quickly examined them separately. Before beginning the connections between instruments we measured the output voltage of the battery (which read 5.5v) with the digital multimeter, after connection of the cables and initial configuration. Even though it said on the lab paper that it should be 6v, we saw that we didn t have a DC power supply, just a battery, so we understood it was alright to begin the experiment. We flipped the board upside-down, unturned the knobs and applied the field plate with the two bars in the middle to the two holes created by the removal of the knobs. We locked the plate with the knobs. We proceeded to connect the alligator clips onto the battery end, red to positive, black to negative. The other ends went to the terminals on the electrical field surface. We then connected the galvanometer, black cable to the probe, red cable to the first resistance point, both with banana plugs. We measured each resistor point and wrote it down in our table (supplied). After that we placed the graph paper on the board and pushed against the board to place the paper under the 4 holds. We used the corresponding template and drew the template on the graph, then removing it. We then began using the probe to find the equipotential spots and marked them down with a pencil on the graph paper, making sure we weren t pressing on the upper part of the probe and balancing it throughout scanning. When we finished finding all the spots, we drew a curve and unplugged the banana plug from the first resistor (E1) onto the second (E2). We followed the same action as described until we reached the 7th resistor (E7). Then we replaced the field plate with the two bars with the one having a circle and a bar at opposite ends exactly as we did with the first field plate. We removed the graph paper and replaced it with a new one and used the corresponding template to draw the new surface. We repeated the steps above until we finished the 3rd plate, which had 2 big circles in the middle, one an insulator, the other a conductor. We asked the professor to photocopy our graphs and made sure the professor signed our data sheets. We ended the lab by disconnecting all the equipment and returning them to their locations. Data: see attached Excel table and graphs. Data Analysis: Although the behaviors of the electric fields were similar in each scenario, I will analyze each electric field board separately as the scheme and voltages were different, resulting in different electric field distribution.

Kobbi Gal PH 262 Spring 2012 Date of Lab: 2/8/2012

2 Bars: From examination of the graphed paper after drawing out the electric field lines from the perpendicular of the equipotential points, it is clear that there is a pattern that the higher the voltage, the more the electric field lines curve towards the negative terminal. When the resistor was connected at the E1 (measured 4.627v), the electric fields drawn from the extremes (upper and lower) of both sides of the conducting bar (the one closer to the negative terminal) were curving strongly towards the negative terminal while the extremes when connected at the E7 resistor (0.657v) were spreading to the outside of the graphing paper (which is our defined electric field). The electric field lines in-between the two conducting bars are straight towards the negative terminal but seem to stop when getting close to the left bar and split to the sides in order to evade the positive charged object. This is because both the charge and the bar are of common positive charge and it is known that similar charges repel. Another behavior we noticed is that the bigger the voltage, the closer the equipotential points were to the Bar and Circle: From analyzing the bar and circle template, which has both objects as conductors, we can see that the electric field lines again curve towards the negative end. The main difference seen in this configuration is that the electric field lines near the circle are much less repelled compared to the bars in the first scenario. The circle seems to have a smaller effect on redirecting the electric field. But as noticed in the first experiment, there still is that repelling effect near the two conductors. Also, there is symmetry in this field, just like the first experiment. Two Circles: In this field plate there were two circles, one a conductor, one an insulator. As expected, the electric fields were denser in the area where the insulating circle was located, while fewer went in the direction of the conducting circle. The electric field lines that passed through the middle (between the two circles) felt some sort of pull from the insulating circle, while they felt repelled by the conducting circle. Like the other two scenarios, the higher the voltage was, the closer the equipotential points were to the negative terminal.

Conclusions: After reviewing all the graphs of the electric fields I found there are a couple of similarities between them. First off, they all behaved the same when we decreased the voltage. It seems plausible to conclude that the higher the voltage, the more attraction the electric field has toward the negative end, or an insulator. Secondly, in the first and second experiments, there was a symmetry in the electric

Kobbi Gal PH 262 Spring 2012 Date of Lab: 2/8/2012 field, which was absent in the third experiment due to the changes made by the insulating circle on the electric field direction. Another conclusion that seems plausible is the fact that where the electrical field lines concentrate (where the lines become dense) is where the most electrical force is available. This theory goes hand-inhand with Coloumb s Law, where the smaller the r, the bigger the force is at that point, thus having the strongest electrical field at those points where the lines are densest and most curved. The places where we saw straight lines were the places with the lowest concentration of electrical field, showing that those are also the positions where there is the least amount of charged particles. This shows the correlations between the curvature and electric field strength. Also, the closer the field is to the negative terminal, the smaller the electric potential is. In order for me to more easily grasp the idea of electrical fields and these changes I see on my graph sheet, I noticed that electric field direction behaved very much like we d expect water to behave downstream when put an object that in its path. Where there was an object, the electric field bent around the object to get to its lowest voltage, just like water would pour down to get to the lowest surface. I also noticed that there was some sort of correlation between the area of the objects put in the experiments and the effect they had on the electrical field distribution. Where there was a smaller circle with a smaller radius, the smaller the effect it had on the curvature of the electrical field lines, while the bigger circle had a much larger effect. Same went for the conducting bars. The longer they were, the more effect they had on the electrical fields. Made me think of the similarities between gravitation force and electrical forces, where the bigger the planet is, the more it pulls on a smaller planet. Computation of electrical fields: I used the equation  , the difference in the electric potential. The points are numbered on the

graph paper. I drew a red line that connected the points where I was measuring the electric potential. 1. 2. 3. 4.        
       

   

The values I calculated are very close to each other, which lead me to believe that they are reliable. It seems very rational that the smaller the distance between each point, the smaller the electric potential between them is so the results between each calculation should not be too different because the ratio between distance and voltage increases and decreases in a similar proportion.

Kobbi Gal PH 262 Spring 2012 Date of Lab: 2/8/2012

Sources of Error: The first source of error that I can think about is that we did this experiment in 2D instead of 3D, where we totally ignored the z-plane in our measurements and calculation. I think that with another dimension we would get some different perspective on the whole experiment. The second source of error is very trivial, which is the miss-measurement of some of the points. The probe isn t really the most comfortable tool with which to accurately determine the equipotential point on the sheet. Even though we did recheck the equipotential points, there are slight errors with this measuring technique which could cause the electric field lines to slightly differ from the most ideal and accurate electric field lines. The use of a battery, which from our measurements between sets of experiments, was not the most stable source of electricity to work with for this experiment. The voltage was going back and forth between 5.4v and 5.6v which could change the whole distribution of equipotential lines, thus, also alternating our whole sketch of the electric field lines. The last source of error could be some sort of attenuation or loss of energy due to attenuation or heat which could also marginally alter our results.