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Chelsea A. Buckner Electric Field Mapping Experiment 1 Wednesday 1:30 p.m.


Physics 246-202Gwen ______, _______2/8/2012Professor Gabriele Belle

Aim The objective of this experiment is to study the potentials and equipotential curves formed by various two-dimensional electrostatic charge distributions and use the equipotential curves for drawing the electric field lines. 3. Introduction (Theory/Background) Electric field lines around a positive point charge are directed radially outward because the test charge is recognized as a small positive charge. When test charges are placed around a positive charge, they will repel and move radially outward. However, when the test charge is surrounded around a negative charge, they will pull radially inward. The field lines for a single positive and a single negative point charge when each act alone are shown in the following figure:

Fig. 1 Note that field lines are always perpendicular to equipotential lines. This concept may be used to draw field lines around any type of charge distribution if equipotential lines are first determined.

Fig. 2

The equipotential curves and field curves around the electric dipoles are shown below:

Fig. 3 The electric curves and field curves around a charge distribution similar to that of a parallel-plate capacitor are shown below:

Fig. 4 In this experiment, our goal is to map out the electric fields for a number of source charge configurations. However, direct measurement of the electric field would be quite difficult. Instead we achieve the fact that the electric force is a conservative force, so we can define an electric potential energy. We actually use the electric potential energy per unit charge to help use map out the electric filed. Components of the electric field vector are given by the rate of change of the electric field in a given direction, Equation 1. Ex= V/ x Ey= V/ y

However, there is one negative factor with locating and controlling static charge distributions. It is challenging to locate charges of specific magnitudes at the precise desired locations. For this reason we will simulate static charge distributions using a small direct current flowing through electrodes, drawn to look like our static charge distributions, and conducting paper. The electric field shapes, potential and equipotential lines will be identical to the static charge configurations

4. Procedure

Fig. 5a

Fig. 5b

Fig. 5c The equipment needed as well as the setup for the procedure is shown in Figure 5a and Figure 5b. As you can see, the paper is set on top of the field mapping board whereas the configuration field plate is impregnated under the board for the process to work. There will be 5 electrode configurations that will be experimented on. For each of the electrode configurations, you will repeat this setup: y Keep the conductive paper stationary. In order to keep the conductive paper stationary, mount the conductive paper by placing two pieces of tape in opposite corners of the electric field board. Connect the electrodes to the DC power supply using the power supply wires by placing a push pin through the hole in the wire terminal, into the electrode and into the cork board beneath. See Figure 5b. Connect the other end of the wires to the power supply. Check the electrodes for proper conductivity. Check the electrodes to make sure they are not damaged. If damaged, it will give you incorrect results. Connect one voltmeter lead near a push pin on an electrode. Touch the voltmeters second lead to other points on the same electrode. The voltage should be set to 6 volts for each electrode configuration. Make sure that it goes no higher or lower than 6 volts. Set up your Wand (Shown in Fig. 5c) to discover the equipotential lines. This is to mark the points on the page. Keep in mind that the top part of the wand is located on top of the field mapping board and the bottom is touching the field plate on the bottom. Mark the first point on the constructive paper (3 volts). After marking the first point, search for the volt size on the paper and make at least up to 8 points. After marking the points on the paper, draw an equipotential line on the paper. Repeat for two different volts, one on each side of the paper (1.5 and 4.5 volts) or (2 and 4 volts). After marking the page with the specific volts, create the equipotential lines for each and mark them with the specific volt that it is.

y y y

y y

After the lines are created, form the electric map on the constructive paper either with a stencil or by hand. Conclude your results. Results and Discussion

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

Fig. 9 Fig. 10

The results of the experiment are shown in the pictures above. Some of the significant problems of the experimentation were the volt number and the place that the points were set. Usually the volt numbers would be 3 volts +/- .2 or 1.5 +/- .2. It was much more difficult to get the exact volt number as well as find the correct voltage. In Fig. 7, the points were difficult to discover due to the electric plate being in the incorrect place. We had to reverse the plate to get the correct points. When the plate was incorrect, we could not find the equipotential lines as well as finding the 3 volts. Fig. 6 Figure 6 was not a difficult electric plate to find the points. As we looked through to find the 3 volt line, it was simple to notice where each and every point was. It was the same or the 4.5 volt points. However when we looked for the 1.5 volt point, notice the curve that the points created. This is where you can tell that it was the point and plane plate. Fig. 7 Figure 7 (Insulator and conductor in field plate) was the most difficult plate to discover the lines. The 3 volt marking points were frazzled, as shown in the picture. As we progressed with the experiment, we finally switched the plate around, which gave us better results. However it was much more difficult to find the 3 volts point. We found more of 3 +/- .4. There were not that many 3 volt points that we could figure out. Fig. 8 For Figure 8 (Circular terminals), the 3 voltage was not simple to find. However when we went to 1.5 and 4.5 volts, it was much more difficult to find the exact volt. It was more of 4.5 +/- .2 and 1.5 +/.2 than it was exact. This was very noticeable to be the circular terminal plate due to the curve in both the 4.5 voltage and the 1.5 voltage. Fig. 9 The Parallel plate was the easiest of them all. Each mark was in the same line. We did find the exact voltage for each of the marks. It was noticeable that this was the parallel plate due to the lines all being parallel with just a little curve for the 4.5 voltage as well as the 1.5 voltage. Fig. 10 In figure 10 (Faraday plate), the plate was harder to figure out where the stencil more of finding the voltage. For this plate, we use 3 volt, 4.5 volt and 6 volt. The 6 voltage was much more difficult to find because it was not a specific line. However 3 volt and 4.5 volt was much easier. Conclusion In this experiment I learned how the electrodes went from low voltage to high voltage. Also, the equipotential line mostly had a curve to the. What I also found was the equipotential lines are

perpendicular (90 degree). What we could do better on this experiment is be more exact with the marking points. Also make sure that the plates are secured in the correct place. Sample Calculation with uncertainty propagation. y 3 +/- .2 o 2.58 o 3.02 o 6.7% 1.5 +/- .2 o 1.3 o 1.7 o 13.3% 4.5 +/- .2 o 4.7 o 4.3 o 4.4%