## Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

**02x “Electricity and Magnetism”,
**

Spring 2013

Thomas Backman, exscape@gmail.com

June 18, 2013

Contents

0 Preface/disclaimer 6

1 Week 1 7

1.1 Coulomb’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1.2 Electric ﬁelds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1.2.1 Multiple charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.2.2 Electric ﬁeld lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.2.3 Dipoles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.3 Electric ﬂux and Gauss’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.3.1 Quick facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.3.2 Slower this time... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.3.3 Gauss’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

2 Week 2 14

2.1 Electrostatic Potential Energy and Electric Potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

2.1.1 Electrostatic Potential Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

2.1.2 Electric potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.1.3 More on electric potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

2.2 Electric ﬁelds inside hollow conductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.3 High-voltage breakdown and lightning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.3.1 Electric breakdown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

3 Week 3 23

3.1 Capacitance and Field Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

3.1.1 Field Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

3.1.2 Capacitance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

3.2 Dielectrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

3.2.1 More on capacitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

3.2.2 A bit on van de Graaﬀ generators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

3.3 Current, resistivity and Ohm’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

4 Week 4 34

4.1 Batteries and EMF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

4.1.1 Kirchhoﬀ’s rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

4.1.2 Basic circuit analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

4.2 Magnetic Field and Torques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

4.2.1 The B Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

4.3 Review for Exam 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

4.3.1 That’s it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

1

5 Week 5 40

5.1 Moving Charges in Magnetic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

5.1.1 Moving charges, radii and special relativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

5.1.2 Isotope separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

5.1.3 Particle accelerators/cyclotrons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

5.1.4 Cloud chambers and bubble chambers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

5.2 Biot-Savart Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

5.3 Ampere’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

5.3.1 The magnetic ﬁeld of a solenoid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

6 Week 6 51

6.1 Electromagnetic induction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

6.1.1 Lenz’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

6.1.2 Magnetic ﬂux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

6.1.3 Faraday’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

6.1.4 The breakdown of intuition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

6.2 Motional EMF and dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

6.2.1 Changing the area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

6.2.2 Eddy currents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

6.3 Displacement currents and synchronous motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

6.3.1 The amended Ampere’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

6.3.2 Displacement current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

6.3.3 Synchronous motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

7 Week 7 68

7.1 How do magicians levitate women? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

7.1.1 The human heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

7.1.2 Aurora borealis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

7.1.3 Superconductivity and magnetic levitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

7.2 Inductance and RL circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

7.2.1 Direct-current RL circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

7.2.2 Alternating-current RL circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

7.2.3 More on magnetic levitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

7.3 Magnetic materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

7.3.1 A short note on motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

7.3.2 Magnetic dipole moment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

7.3.3 The source of magnetism in matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

7.3.4 Magnetization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

7.3.5 Paramagnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

7.3.6 Diamagnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

7.3.7 Ferromagnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

8 Week 8 90

8.1 Hysteresis and electromagnets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

8.1.1 Ferromagnetism and hysteresis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

8.1.2 Maxwell’s equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

8.2 Review for Exam 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

9 Week 9 97

9.1 Transformers, Car Coils and RC circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

9.1.1 RC circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

9.1.2 Transformers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

9.1.3 Spark plugs / “car coils” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

2

9.2 Driven RLC circuits and resonance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

9.3 Traveling waves and standing waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

9.3.1 Traveling waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

9.3.2 Standing waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

9.3.3 Musical instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107

10 Week 10 109

10.1 Resonance, electromagnetic waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

10.1.1 Radar and measuring distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

10.1.2 Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

10.2 Index of refraction and Poynting vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

10.2.1 Poynting vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

10.2.2 Waves due to accelerating charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

10.2.3 Spherical waves and the Poynting vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

10.2.4 Photons and radiation pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

10.2.5 Polarization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

10.3 Snell’s law, refraction and total reﬂection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

10.3.1 Total internal reﬂection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

10.3.2 Frequency and wavelength in refraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

10.3.3 Dispersion, prisms and white light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

10.3.4 Primary colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

11 Week 11 126

11.1 Polarizers and and Malus’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

11.1.1 Polarization by reﬂection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127

11.1.2 Polarization by scattering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129

11.1.3 Scattering demonstration and Rayleigh scattering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

11.2 Rainbows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

11.2.1 Other atmospherical optical phenomena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

11.2.2 Polarization of rainbows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

11.3 Review for Exam 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

12 Week 12 140

12.1 Double slit interference and interferometers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

12.2 Gratings and resolving power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

12.3 Single-slit diﬀraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

12.4 Doppler eﬀect and the Big Bang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

12.4.1 The Doppler eﬀect and light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

12.4.2 Big Bang cosmology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

12.5 Farewell special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152

13 Homework problems 153

13.1 Week 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

13.1.1 Problem 1: Motion of charged particle in electric ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

13.1.2 Problem 2: Three plates capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

13.1.3 Problem 3: Electric ﬁeld, potential, and electrostatic potential energy . . . . . . . . 154

13.1.4 Problem 4: Electric ﬁeld of a charged ring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155

13.1.5 Problem 5: Two spherical conductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158

13.1.6 Problem 6: Two conducting hollow cylinders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159

13.1.7 Problem 7: Speed of an electron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161

13.2 Week 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

13.2.1 Problem 1: Spherical capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

13.2.2 Problem 2: Coaxial cylinders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

3

13.2.3 Problem 3: The eﬀect of a dielectric medium on capacitance . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

13.2.4 Problem 4: Coaxial cable with dielectric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166

13.2.5 Problem 5: Capacitor network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

13.2.6 Problem 6: Resistances of conducting wires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

13.2.7 Problem 7: Resistor network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170

13.3 Week 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

13.4 Week 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

13.4.1 Problem 1: Lorentz Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

13.4.2 Problem 2: Motion of a charged particle in magnetic ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

13.4.3 Problem 3: Cyclotron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

13.4.4 Problem 4: Rectangular current loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

13.4.5 Problem 5: Resistor network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175

13.4.6 Problem 6: Coaxial current loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

13.4.7 Problem 7: Parallel plate capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

13.5 Week 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179

13.5.1 Problem 1: Ampere’s law in action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179

13.5.2 Problem 2: Intuition breaks down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181

13.5.3 Problem 3: Helmholtz coils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182

13.5.4 Problem 4: Spinning loop in a magnetic ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184

13.5.5 Problem 5: Loop in a magnetic ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

13.5.6 Problem 6: Electrodynamic tether . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186

13.5.7 Problem 7: Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186

13.5.8 Problem 8: Auroral zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

13.6 Week 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

13.6.1 Problem 1: Magnetic energy of a solenoid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

13.6.2 Problem 2: Displacement current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190

13.6.3 Problem 3: RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190

13.6.4 Problem 4: RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

13.6.5 Problem 5: Opening a switch on an RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193

13.6.6 Problem 6: Self-inductance of a toroid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196

13.6.7 Problem 7: RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

13.7 Week 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198

13.8 Week 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199

13.8.1 Problem 1: RC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199

13.8.2 Problem 2: RC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200

13.8.3 Problem 3: RLC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201

13.8.4 Problem 4: An LRC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201

13.8.5 Problem 5: Design a ﬂute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203

13.8.6 Problem 6: Width of resonance peak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203

13.8.7 Problem 7: Standing wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204

13.8.8 Problem 8: Traveling wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

13.8.9 Problem 9: Lightly damped undriven circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

13.9 Week 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208

13.9.1 Problem 1: Traveling electromagnetic waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208

13.9.2 Problem 2: A standing electromagnetic wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209

13.9.3 Problem 3: E-M waves - Maxwell’s equations, and the speed of light . . . . . . . . . 211

13.9.4 Problem 4: Polarized radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213

13.9.5 Problem 5: Polarization of electromagnetic radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

13.9.6 Problem 6: Poynting vector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217

13.9.7 Problem 7: Intensity of the sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218

13.9.8 Problem 8: Snell’s law in action: ﬁber optics! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

13.10Week 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

4

13.11Week 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

13.11.1Problem 1: Primary rainbow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

13.11.2Problem 2: Polarization of primary rainbow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223

13.11.3Problem 3: Glassbow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223

13.11.4Problem 4: Secondary rainbow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224

13.11.5Problem 5: Diﬀraction pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

13.11.6Problem 6: Optical resolution of the human eye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226

14 Exam problems 227

14.1 Midterm 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227

14.1.1 Problem 1: Electric ﬁeld on the surface of a conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227

14.1.2 Problem 2: Non-conducting charged planes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228

14.1.3 Problem 3: Incandescent bulbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

14.1.4 Problem 4: Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

14.1.5 Problem 5: Point charge in a hollow conducting sphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231

14.1.6 Problem 6: Charges on an equilateral triangle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232

14.1.7 Problem 7: Capacitor network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

14.2 Midterm 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

14.2.1 Problem 1: RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

14.2.2 Problem 2: Non-conservative ﬁelds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236

14.2.3 Problem 3: Bainbridge mass spectrometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236

14.2.4 Problem 4: RL circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238

14.2.5 Problem 5: Magnetic ﬁeld of a loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238

14.2.6 Problem 6: Magnetic ﬁeld of a current-carrying ribbon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239

14.2.7 Problem 7: Magnetic ﬁeld of a rotating charged sphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240

14.3 Midterm 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243

14.3.1 Problem 1: RC Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243

14.3.2 Problem 2: RLC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244

14.3.3 Problem 3: Energy ﬂow of a capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247

14.3.4 Problem 4: Electromagnet with small air gap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

14.3.5 Problem 5: RLC Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251

14.3.6 Problem 6: Electromagnetic wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252

14.3.7 Problem 7: Radiation pressure on the Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

14.4 Final Exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255

14.4.1 Problem 1: Loop in a Magnetic Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255

14.4.2 Problem 2: Non-conducting inﬁnite sheet and inﬁnite parallel slab . . . . . . . . . . 256

14.4.3 Problem 3: RLC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260

14.4.4 Problem 4: Plane electromagnetic wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262

14.4.5 Problem 5: Loop in a magnetic ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263

14.4.6 Problem 6: Charged particles in a magnetic ﬁeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

14.4.7 Problem 7: Diﬀraction pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266

14.4.8 Problem 8: Capacitor washers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268

14.4.9 Problem 9: Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272

14.4.10Problem 10: An LC circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

14.4.11Problem 11: Dielectric sphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

14.4.12Problem 12: Parallel RLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

5

Chapter 0

Preface/disclaimer

The most important thing to keep in mind where reading these notes is that I’m just another student,

taking this course. I have almost zero previous knowledge of electromagnetism, though I previously took

the MITx 6.002x “Circuits and Electronics” class. That knowledge helped only in small parts of this course,

however, and I’ve learned almost everything except circuit analysis on a week-to-week basis, while writing

down all this.

In other words: there may well be errors in here!

In part because I make typos and other stupid mistakes, but also because I might have misunderstood

some concept somewhere. I usually point out whenever I feel less than certain, but that doesn’t guarantee

anything, of course.

These notes are made up of three parts: lecture notes, homework solutions, and exam solutions.

The lecture notes are in part from the lectures as-is (essentially a transcription), but I do add my own

comments and extra information here and there.

They will lack some information from the lectures, as I don’t write down everything (for example, I rarely

write down anything during demonstrations, only their results if necessary), but also have some tiny extra

bits (from the book, things I knew to begin with, or things I look up elsewhere).

I write the homework solutions as I solve them, so the text and even the answers are usually written before

I’ve even clicked “check”. Still, I look at the staﬀ’s solutions after the fact and at least if I remember using

a diﬀerent method, I try to check that I wasn’t just lucky in getting the correct answer for myself.

The exact same thing applies to the exam solutions as well.

There are no notes/solutions for homework 1, as I started writing the solutions down the second week.

By the way: I certainly welcome all feedback, corrections, comments and whatnot! Too small a fraction

of my daily e-mail is written by actual human beings (rather than being spam, mass-emails/mailing lists,

forum notices, ...), anyway. :-)

6

Chapter 1

Week 1

1.1 Coulomb’s law

Two point charges q

1

and q

2

, separated by distance r, equal in magnitude and of equal polarity, will repel

one another. The force on q

2

due to q

1

, in the direction 180 degrees opposite to to the direction of q

1

, is

F

1,2

=

q

1

q

2

K

r

2

ˆ r

1,2

... where K is Coulomb’s constant, roughly 8.987551787 10

9

N m

2

C

−2

, and

F

1,2

means the force on

charge 2 due to charge 1. ˆ r

1,2

is the unit vector in the direction from charge 1 to charge 2. And, since

each force has an equal and opposite reaction, we also have a

F

2,1

(

F

2,1

= −

F

1,2

)

Note how the equation is sign-sensitive: if both changes have the same sign, the force forces the particles

apart. On the other hand, if they diﬀer in sign, the result will be negative, and so the force vector will

point towards q

1

from q

2

(and vice versa) instead of away from it.

Also:

K =

1

4π

0

where

0

is the permittivity of free space, also (more recently) known as the electric constant.

0

≈ 8.854187 10

−12

farad/meter

1.2 Electric ﬁelds

Imagine a setup very similar to the one above.

We have a charge, Q

+

, and a test charge q a distance r away. As before, the force on the test charge is

F =

QqK

r

2

ˆ r

If we take that force vector, and “divide out” q, the test charge, we get the electric ﬁeld at the point in

space where q is located. Let’s call that point p; in that case, we have the electric ﬁeld

E

p

:

E

p

=

F

q

=

QK

r

2

ˆ r

where ˆ r is again the unit vector pointing away from Q in the direction of the test charge.

By convention, we choose the electric ﬁeld to be such that the ﬁeld vector is in the direction of the force

on a positive test charge. If the test charge were negative, the electric force would attract the two charges

7

toward each other, and the electric ﬁeld would be pointing towards Q.

Put more simply: for a positive charge, we draw the ﬁeld as a set of arrows pointing from the charge and

away. This ﬁeld is spherically symmetric, and as we saw above, decays in a inverse-r-squared fashion. If

the charge is instead negative, we draw it as a set of arrows pointing towards the charge, again with more

force (longer arrows, to represent larger vector magnitudes) closer to the charge.

The electric ﬁeld can be thought of as the force per unit charge (as we have divided out the charge of the

equation).

1.2.1 Multiple charges

To calculate the net electric ﬁeld for multiple charges, we use the superposition principle: very simply, we

calculate the electric ﬁeld due to each charge alone, at a certain point p; the net electric ﬁeld a that point

is then simply the vector sum of all these individual electric ﬁelds.

For example, for a set of three charges, Q

1+

, Q

2−

and Q

3−

, we get three separate electric ﬁelds: one that

repels from Q

1

, and two that attract towards Q

2

and Q

3

respectively. The net electric ﬁeld is then

E

p

=

E

1

+

E

2

+

E

3

and more generally, for a set of i charges, the same sum holds:

E

p

=

i

E

i

So depending on how much change each of these points hold, the resulting vector may be in any direction,

with any magnitude; we simply cannot say until we do a quantitative calculation of the force.

Now, then, what is the point of calculating this electric ﬁeld? Well, now we know what the electric ﬁeld

at that point is, we can very easily calculate the force vector for any charge we place at the location, like

this:

F = q

E

So, in other words, we simply multiply the charge by the electric ﬁeld vector, and we get the force. q can

be large or small, positive or negative, and the result will still come out right.

If the charge is large, the force will be large, and vice versa.

If the charge is positive, the force vector will be in the same direction as

E. If the charge is negative, it

will be in the opposite direction of

E.

In a system of multiple charges, there may be a point in space where the electric ﬁeld’s magnitude is

exactly zero, because the forces from all the charges in the system perfectly cancel out.

One of the simplest such cases is when you have a set of three charges, equal in polarity and magnitude,

arranged at the vertices of an equilateral triangle. In such a case, the electric ﬁeld strength will be exactly

zero in the middle of the three charges.

Charges of diﬀering polarity can also produce points with no net force.

Imagine a one-dimensional line, measuared in meters. At the exact middle, 0 m, we have a 1µC charge.

At 4 m, we have a −0.5µC charge.

For a positive test charge located in between these two, i.e. on the interval (0, 4), the forces will be

additive; the positive charge at 0 will push towards the right, and the negative charge at 4 m will pull

towards the right.

If we go past 4 m, however, there will come a point where the force cancels out exactly: the stronger, but

8

more distant positive charge repels, and the weaker, but closer negative charge attracts.

In this example, that spot is at 8 + 4

√

2 meters, which can be found by solving the equation relating the

two electric ﬁelds:

E

0

=

1µK

r

2

ˆ x

E

4

=

−0.5µK

(r −4)

2

ˆ x

E

0

+

E

4

= 0

where

E

0

is the electric ﬁeld due to the particle a 0 m alone, and

E

4

the ﬁeld due to the negative particle

at 4 m alone.

If we solve the equation (on the third line above), we get ≈ 13.65 meters.

1.2.2 Electric ﬁeld lines

There’s a second common way of visually representing electric ﬁelds, besides the vector ﬁeld: electric ﬁeld

lines. Here, we lose some information about the ﬁeld strength at any particular point, but can instead see

the curvature much more clearly.

Such a representation would have a ton of lines coming from (or going to, for negative charges) each charge,

curving around depending on other, nearby charges.

The further away you get from a charge, the further apart the lines will become. This represents the

inverse-r-squared weakening of the ﬁeld.

One crucial aspect about these lines is that if you place a positive charge anywhere on a ﬁeld line, the

force vector on that charge will always be tangential to the ﬁeld line at that point. If the placed charge is

negative, the force vector will simply be the same but ﬂipped 180 degrees around.

It is also important to note that because of this, the trajectory of a charge (say, released a 0 velocity) will

not follow any one ﬁeld line exactly; the trajectory can be quite complex. Any time you reach a ﬁeld line,

however, the force vector will again be tangential to that ﬁeld line.

1.2.3 Dipoles

As we saw above, with two charges of equal polarity, there is a point between the two where the force

cancels out, and the electric ﬁeld is zero.

If we instead have two charges, equal in magnitude but opposite in sign, we have a dipole. In this case,

there is no point where the electric ﬁeld is zero.

Two charges of unequal charge and opposite polarity will, as observed from “far” away, behave as a single

charge whose value is the diﬀerence of the two. For example, a +3 change next to a -1 will “look” like a

+2 charge from far away, and the electric ﬁeld falls oﬀ with a inverse-r-squared relationship.

With dipoles, that is no longer the case: the ﬁeld falls oﬀ with an inverse-r-cubed relationship, i.e. it

weakens much faster as the distance increases. This does make intuitive sense: from afar, it should act

like a single point charge with zero charge!

1.3 Electric ﬂux and Gauss’s law

1.3.1 Quick facts

According to Wikipedia, electric ﬂux is “the rate of ﬂow per unit charge of the electric ﬁeld”. It can be

thought of as the number of electric ﬁeld lines going through a surface.

For a uniform electric ﬁeld, the ﬂux passing through a surface of vector area S is

9

Φ

E

=

E

A = EAcos θ

where θ is the angle between the normal of the surface (the vector perpendicular to the surface) and the

electric ﬁeld lines.

For a non-uniform electric ﬁeld, the ﬂux can be calculated by using a surface integral:

Φ

E

=

S

E

dA

where

dA is a vector area inﬁnitesimal.

1.3.2 Slower this time...

OK, let’s start over. Say we have an open surface, e.g. a paper (unlike a closed surface, e.g. a bag or a

balloon) placed in an electric ﬁeld. We can divide the ﬁeld into inﬁnitesimals with area dA. Each of these

will have a normal unit vector ˆ n that is perpendicular to it.

Each of these inﬁnitesimal areas will have a ﬂux dφ associated with it, which can be calculated:

dΦ

E

=

E ˆ ndA =

E

dA = E dAcos θ

Here, θ is, as above, the angle between the normal and the electric ﬁeld lines. The notation with and

without the ˆ n are two ways of writing the same thing. One considers dA as an area, with a normal unit

vector to give it direction, while the second combines the to into the vector area

dA.

The ﬂux can be larger than, smaller than, or equal to zero.

One can make a useful parallel between electric ﬂux and air ﬂow. Consider a hollow rectangle position

perpendicular to a uniform air ﬂow. In other words, the normal to the rectangle is parallel with the air

ﬂow. How much air goes through it? Well, it’s simply the rate of air ﬂow multiplied by the rectangle’s

area.

If we rotate the rectangle 90 degrees, such that the normal is now perpendicular to to the air ﬂow, no air

goes through the rectangle - it is parallel to the air ﬂow.

If the angle is anything in between the two, we simply multiply the v A we already have by the cosine of

the angle. That is, the air ﬂow through the rectangle is given by vAcos θ.

The exact same way can be used to calculate the electric ﬂux “through” the rectangle - multiply the electric

ﬁeld vector and the vector area using the dot product, such that you get EAcos θ.

Example with a point charge

Say we have a point charge

+

Q, and a spherical surface with radius R surrounding it.

For any chosen inﬁnitesimal area dA on the surface, the normal will be radially outwards - as will the

electric ﬁeld, since we have a positive point charge. In fact, the two will be parallel at all locations on the

surface, so the cosine of the angle between them is always 1.

Not only that, but since we chose to do this with a spherical surface, the electric ﬁeld has exactly the

same magnitude at all points along the surface. These facts, when combined, makes for an extremely easy

calculation of the total ﬂux - it is simply the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld, times the surface area - EA,

or in the case of a sphere, 4πR

2

E.

Well, E is

QK

R

2

ˆ r, as we have seen previously, with ˆ r being the unit vector in the direction from the charge

to the chosen surface area inﬁnitesimal. K, the Coulomb constant, has an exact deﬁnition (but we often

simply use 9 10

9

instead, which about 0.14% oﬀ from the real value):

K =

1

4π

0

10

If we substitute that in, we have

E =

Q

4π

0

R

2

ˆ r

... which looks more complex, until we ﬁnalize the ﬂux calculation by multiplying the electric ﬁeld’s

magnitude with the surface area of 4πR

2

:

E 4πR

2

=

Q

0

Spectacular! Note not only how simple it is, but indeed that the radius term disappeared. And, since

0

is

a physical constant, we clearly see that the net charge is the only thing that determines the ﬂux through

this closed surface.

Indeed, this also means that the result holds regardless of the shape of the surface used to conﬁne the

charge. Whether it is a sphere, a cylinder, a box or just something entirely diﬀerent, the amount of ﬂux

is exactly the same.

This can be intuitively understood if we go back to the air ﬂow analogy: regardless of the bag’s size,

assuming air could travel through it, it would have to get out of there somewhere regardless of the bag’s

size.

Now, since electric ﬁelds from multiple point charges are added using vector addition, it is clear that any

collection of charges inside this “bag” must behave in the same way. That leads us to:

1.3.3 Gauss’s law

Gauss’s law states that the electric ﬂux through a closed surface, with nonzero net charge inside, is,

regardless of the shape and size of the surface:

φ =

E

dA =

Q

ins

0

where φ (also Φ

E

) is the total electric ﬂux through the surface,

Q

ins

is the total electric charge inside

the surface, and

0

as always the permittivity of free space.

The ring in the integral symbol is to indicate that the surface we are integrating over is a closed surface.

Gauss’s law always holds, no matter how the charge is arranged inside the bag, or how it is shaped.

It is, however, not very useful unless we have some form of symmetry. The main use of Gauss’s law is

to calculate electric ﬁelds, and to do so, we need to take advantage of one of three forms of symmetry:

spherical, to encapsulate a point charge or such; cylindrical, to encapsulate an inﬁnite “wire” of charge;

and planar, to calculate electric ﬁelds around an inﬁnite plane. In all three cases, the charge distribution

must be uniform.

Gauss’s law application: a charged, hollow sphere

Let’s attempt an application of Gauss’s law, on a hollow, conductive sphere, with charge Q uniformly

distributed on the surface. The sphere is of radius R.

First, we need to choose one of the gaussian surfaces: the spherical one, the cylinder (for the inﬁnite wire)

or the “pillbox”, also a cylinder, used for planar surfaces.

Clearly, we want the spherical one in this case; we choose a concentric sphere (i.e. it is perfectly centered

on the charged sphere) such that the radius r of the “Gauss sphere” touches the point where we want to

calculate the electric ﬁeld.

Then, we note a few things: the problem is spherically symmetric, so the electric ﬁeld’s magnitude at any

point along the surface of our Gauss sphere must be exactly the same as for any other point on it. That

follows from the symmetry of the problem.

Also, we know that the electric ﬁeld is radially outwards (or inwards, if the charge is negative) - either

11

way, it is either parallel or antiparallel between any chosen dA on the surface.

Now that we have the same situation as before - the direction of E is always parallel with the surface

normals, and we know how the surface area of a sphere - we can calculate the (again simply EA), and

then solve for the electric ﬁeld.

Let’s begin with the case of r < R, i.e. inside the hollow sphere:

E4πr

2

=

Q

ins

0

E =

Q

ins

4πr

2

0

However, we know from the problem deﬁnition that there is no charge inside, so the numerator is zero!

Therefore, the electric ﬁeld at every point inside the sphere is zero, since the result clearly holds for any

r inside the sphere - we didn’t specify it.

Next, let’s look at the case where r > R, i.e. outside the hollow sphere.

The same arguments hold here, as well: the problem is spherically symmetric, so the magnitude must

be equal at all points at the distance r from the sphere; also, we know that the electric ﬁeld is radially

outwards (or inwards). Therefore, we can use the same calculation:

E4πr

2

=

Q

ins

0

E =

Q

ins

4π

0

r

2

This, too, is an incredible result! The result is exactly what you get for a point charge, when using

Coulomb’s law (only that we use

1

4π

0

= K here instead of the symbol K). In other words, this charged

hollow sphere behaves exactly as a point charge to everyone outside the sphere (while, as we saw just

above, the electric ﬁeld is exactly zero inside the sphere).

Second Gauss’s law application: inﬁnite charged plane

Next, consider a large plane - inﬁnite, even, for the calculation - again with a uniform charge density σ.

That is, we have a set number of coulombs per square meter σ.

As before, our ﬁrst task is to choose a Gaussian surface. For planes, we use the “pillbox”, which is a

cylinder. Our goal is to ﬁnd the electric ﬁeld at any point in space. We choose a point d, and “place”

our cylinder such that the plane is exactly centered along its height. That is, d of the cylinder’s height is

above the plane, and d is also below the plane.

Now, for the symmetry arguments to work, we need a few things to be true: the circular area at the top

of the cylinder must be parallel to the charged plane, and same for the bottom. Second, the vertical walls

of the cylinder must be perpendicular to the plane. Lastly, as stated previously, the two “side caps” must

both be exactly d away from the plane, i.e. be at the same distance from the plane.

Since the surface charge distribution is uniform, we can ﬁnd the enclosed charge in our cylinder easily: it

is simply the charge density multiplied by the area of the cylinder’s end caps:

Q

enc

= σ πr

2

Keep in mind that since the charge isn’t in the end caps, the fact that there are two of them is irrelevant.

We are only interested in the volume they enclose, namely the inﬁnitesimally thin plane in the center.

The total ﬂux through the end caps, however, is doubled because of this. The ﬂux through each cap is

E A, with E being the electric ﬁeld magnitude, and A the end cap area. Therefore, the total ﬂux is (with

A = πr

2

):

12

φ = 2Eπr

2

Now that we know the enclosed charge and the total ﬂux, we can use Gauss’s law to ﬁnd the electric ﬁeld.

To do so, we set

Q

enc

0

equal to the total ﬂux φ:

2Eπr

2

=

σπr

2

0

2E =

σ

0

E =

σ

2

0

The direction of this force is ˆ z above the plane, and −ˆ z below it, so we have:

E =

_

¸

_

¸

_

σ

2

0

ˆ z for z > 0

−

σ

2

0

ˆ z for z < 0

13

Chapter 2

Week 2

2.1 Electrostatic Potential Energy and Electric Potential

Before we get started, let’s introduce the two terms we will work with. The ﬁrst is electrostatic potential

energy, U, measured in joules. The second is electric potential, V , measured in volts (1 V = 1

J

C

).

There two are, as the dimensions suggest, not interchangable, but they are related.

2.1.1 Electrostatic Potential Energy

Now then. Let’s say we have two charges, q

1

and q

2

. They are both positive, and are separated by a

distance R. Because they are both positive, they repel each other, and therefore, some external agent

must have done work to move the two together. The work we put in to moving the charges together (by

convention, we count all the way from inﬁnity to their ﬁnal position) is the electrostatic potential energy.

It can be thought of as the electrical analogue of gravitational potential energy - lift an object upwards,

against the Earth’s gravity, and you have increased its gravitational potential energy. If you then let it

go, that potential energy will be turned into kinetic energy as the object falls back down.

In the same manner, if you bring the positive charges together, and then let them go, the electric force will

repel them and cause them to move, thus converting their electrostatic potential energy into kinetic energy.

The work we will have to do to push the charges together is of course exactly equal to the negative work

the electric force will do - they are opposite in direction (i.e. the vectors are antiparallel), but equal in

magnitude. If we use

F

we

do denote our force, we have that

F

we

= −

F

el

, where the latter is the electric

force.

The work required to bring the charge in from inﬁnity, then, is:

W

we

=

_

R

∞

F

we

dr =

_

∞

R

F

el

dr

The latter half is, as stated above, exactly the same as the force we provide; only the sign diﬀers between

the two forces, so we swap the integration limits to in eﬀect multiply the integral by −1.

We know that the force and r are in the same direction, so the angle between them is 0, and therefore the

cosine of the angle is 1. Therefore we can ignore the vectors, and instead use Coulomb’s law for much of

the integral. Continuing:

W

we

=

_

∞

R

F

el

dr =

q

1

q

2

4π

0

_

∞

R

dr

r

2

_

∞

R

dr

r

2

= −

1

r

¸

¸

¸

∞

R

= 0 −(−

1

R

) =

1

R

So, when we combine the two, we just need to add that R to the denominator, and we’re done:

14

U = W

we

=

q

1

q

2

4π

0

R

Since the quantity of this is work, this is a scalar, and it is as stated above in joules.

Note how the equation is sign-sensitive: if the two charges are of the same sign (whether positive or neg-

ative), the resulting number is positive (since nothing in the denominator can ever be negative), while if

they diﬀer in sign, the result is negative. This is of course exactly right: we need to do positive work if

they repel each other, but will do negative work if they attract.

The electric force is conservative. This means that regardless of which path you take from inﬁnity to the

point in question, the work done is exactly the same, no matter how convoluted the path. This is also

true of gravity, which is another example (perhaps the most common one) of a conservative force.

As a counterpoint, an example of a non-conservative force is friction. Moving an object along some short,

straight line between points will cause some amount of work, while moving it along a very long path will

cause more work.

2.1.2 Electric potential

The electric potential is closely related to the electrostatic potential energy.

W take a similar setup as in the section above, with a positive charge Q, a test charge q at point P, a

distance R away from Q.

The electrostatic potential energy of this system we already know, as we calculated it just above:

U =

Qq

4π

0

R

The electric potential is deﬁned as the work per unit charge we have to do in order to bring the charge to

that location. That is, we divide out the test charge q, and so we have that the electric potential V and

the point P is:

V

P

=

U

q

=

Q

4π

0

R

And, as stated in the introduction to this section, this is measured in joules per coulomb, also known as

volts (V).

If Q is positive, the potential everywhere in space (due to that charge alone, of course!) will be positive.

If the charge is negative, the potential will be negative everywhere.

Let’s calculate an example, while adding some new information still.

Take a hollow sphere with radius R = 0.3 meters, with 10µC of charge on it, evenly distributed (as it will

be automatically for a conductor).

We want to calculate the electric potential everywhere in space. We divide it into two cases: r < R (inside

the sphere) and r > R (outside). Let’s begin with the calculation for the potential outside the sphere, at

a point P.

Remember how V =

U

q

, where V is the electric potential and U is the electrostatic potential energy, and

how the latter is U =

_

∞

r

F

elec

**dr. Therefore, the electric potential is the same integral, except we divide
**

out the test charge q:

V

P

=

_

∞

r

F

elec

q

dr

Aha! Force divided by charge is nothing other than the deﬁnition of an electric ﬁeld! Therefore this is

equal to:

15

V

P

=

_

∞

r

F

elec

q

dr =

_

∞

r

E

dr =

Q

4π

0

r

... which is the same result we got from a point charge. In other words, just like how an electric ﬁeld is

the same for a sphere with uniform charge density and a point charge of the same magnitude, the same

thing applies to the electric potential.

Now that we can calculate the electric potential, how do we use it? Well, we can now calculate the work

required to bring a charge to a point very easily. We know from above that U = V q (except we solved

for V last time), so we simply multiply the charge we are interested in by the potential, and we have our

answer!

As an example, let’s say we calculate/measure a potential of 10 kV near a charged sphere. We want to

bring 1 millicoulomb to the point in space where the potential is 10 kV. The work we must do is

W = 10

−3

C 10

4

V = 10 J

So the work required is 10 joules. We can now solve the same question for a charge of 2 C instead, without

having to solve a new integral - we simply multiply it by the 10

4

volts and get our answer of 20 kilojoules.

What happens, then, if we move this charge inside this hollow, charged sphere? Well, as we saw in the

previous week, there is no electric ﬁeld whatsoever inside, so the charges would experience no force. No

force means no work, which implies the electric potential must be the same everywhere inside. Note that

it only implies that the potential is the same everywhere, and not that it is zero! It will, in fact, be 10

kilovolts everywhere inside the sphere (same as on the surface).

Equipotentials

Now, let’s look at another phenomenon outside the charge. Since the electric potential for a point charge

/ charged sphere depends only on a set of constants, plus the amount of charge and the distance r, it is

clear that all points that are r away from the charge will have the exact same potential, by symmetry.

Each such surface, where all points have the same electric potential, is known as an equipotential surface.

There will be an inﬁnite amount of such surfaces at diﬀerent distances away from the charge.

Electric ﬁelds lines are always perpendicular to equipotential surfaces: if they were not, we could decom-

pose the electric ﬁeld vector at a point on the surface, into parallel and perpendicular dimensions. That

implies that there is an electric ﬁeld along the surface, which means the surface is not an equipotential !

Therefore, ﬁeld lines are always perpendicular to equipotential surfaces.

Now, back to the example. To make things more interesting, let’s add a second charge; both charges will

now be positive, and separated by a fairly small distance.

The electric potential at any point in space will be the sum of the potential due to each charge alone, so

potentials act exactly as electric ﬁelds do in this case. (A notable diﬀerence is that the potential is a scalar

ﬁeld, however, while the electric ﬁelds is a vector ﬁeld.)

Because both of our charges are positive, the potential due to these charges will always be either positive

or zero. There is no negative charge anywhere, and so the potential cannot be negative, either.

Let’s say one charge is +4, while the other is +1.

Very close to to +4 charge, the equipotential surface will be a near-perfect sphere, concentric with the

charge. Slightly further out, but still closer to the +4 charge than the +1, the surface will be a distorted

sphere, with is being “stretched´‘ out towards the second charge.

Further out yet, there will be an (inﬁnite number of) equipotential surface(s) that enclose both charges,

and is shaped sort of like the ∞ symbol, except asymmetrically: the +4 charge is much stronger, and so

its equipotential is “larger”.

Further away yet - far away that the +4 and the +1 are essentially a point charge of +5, the equipotentials

16

will again start looking like more and more perfect spheres.

If we change the +1 charge to a −1 charge, what happens? Well, ﬁrst oﬀ, because we now have a mix of

positive and negative charges, we will now have both positive and negative equipotentials. Also, since we

have a mix, and there will be a transition between the two, there will now be points in space where the

potential is zero.

Other than that, the situation is similar to what you would expect. Close to the −1 charge, the equipo-

tentials are again spherical, but they are of negative potential. That is, if you bring a positive test charge

from inﬁnity up to that negative equipotential, you will have done net negative work. Despite having to

work your way through the positive potential of the stronger +4 charge, the attracting force of the −1

charge wins out in the end. And, since the electric force is conservative, bringing such a test charge to a

point in space where the potential is zero means you have done a net zero amount of work.

Because we now have a mix of positive and negative charges, there will both be a point where the electric

ﬁeld is zero, and a point where the potential is zero. These point are not one and the same, however!

Positive charges will always travel from high potentials to low potentials, which is analogous to gravity:

object always fall downwards (towards lower gravitational potential), and never upwards.

In electricity, unlike gravity, we also have negative charges. Negative charges always travel from low

potentials to high potential, so they essentially go “in reverse”.

Electric potentials: example

Let’s deﬁne two points, A and B, with electric potentials V

A

and V

B

, respectively. They are separated by

a distance R.

We know that

V

A

=

_

∞

A

E

dr

V

B

=

_

∞

B

E

dr

And therefore,

V

A

−V

B

=

_

B

A

E

dr

V

B

−V

A

= −

_

B

A

E

dr

The inﬁnitesimal vector

dr implies (by convention) that we go in a straight line between the two points.

However, as stated previously, the electric force in conservative, and so it doesn’t matter which path we

take. We can replace

dr with

d to imply this:

V

A

−V

B

=

_

B

A

E

d

V

B

−V

A

= −

_

B

A

E

d

Now, then. Let’s calculate an example. Say V

A

= 150 volts, and V

B

= 50 volts. Therefore, V

B

−V

A

= −100

volts. If we release a free electron at point B, it will go towards V

A

- electrons travel towards higher

potentials, while a proton would travel away from it.

In this calculation, we will use an electron. The electron has a mass and a charge, of course:

m

e

= 9.10938 10

−31

kg

17

Q

e

= 1.602 10

−19

C

We will need those values momentarily.

Via the Work-Energy theorem, the kinetic energy of the electron will, at the end of its journey, have used

up all of its electrostatic potential energy. We know how to calculate the latter - it’s U = V q, and we

know both the potential and the charge. The kinetic energy of a particle is (in classical physics)

1

2

mv

2

.

We can now set the sum of the two equal to zero, substitute in the values for the situation, and solve for

v:

1

2

mv

2

+ V q = 0

mv

2

= −2V q

v = +

_

−2V q

m

v = +

_

−2 (−100) (1.602 10

−19

)

9.109378 10

−31

v ≈ 5.93 10

6

m/s

That’s roughly 2% of the speed of light, despite the relatively small potential diﬀerence (compared to

multi-kilovolt Van de Graaﬀ generators, at least)! Also note how the distance between the two points does

not matter - the ending velocity of the particle is the same either way, as can be seen by the fact that

there is no distance speciﬁed anywhere in the equation.

2.1.3 More on electric potential

Let’s say that we are at a point P in space. At that point, there is a potential V

P

, as well as an electric

ﬁeld (it may be zero, of course).

We now take a very small step in the x direction, and the x direction only - y and z are kept exactly

the same. We measure the electric potential at this new point. If the potential is the same, then the x

component of the electric ﬁeld here is, by deﬁnition, zero. If it is not, the magnitude of that component is

E

x

=

[∆V [

∆x

The same holds, of course, for the y and z directions.

Note how the fraction above has units

V

m

, while describing an electric ﬁeld. We have previously used

N

C

to describe electric ﬁeld magnitudes, but the two are in fact equivalent: they are both

kg m

A s

3

in base SI

units.

Because volts per meter are more intuitive for visualising potential diﬀerence per unit length, we will

mostly use those units from here on.

We can calculate the electric ﬁeld from a known potential, by taking the negative gradient of the potential:

E = −∇V = −grad V = −

_

∂V

∂x

ˆ x +

∂V

∂y

ˆ y +

∂V

∂z

ˆ z

_

The partial derivatives shown make up the components of the vector ﬁeld:

E

x

= −

∂V

∂x

E

y

= −

∂V

∂y

18

E

z

= −

∂V

∂z

Let’s try an example, in one dimension. We have the electric potential

V = 10

5

x

which is valid over a small range of x, from 0 to 10

−2

, so a distance of 1 cm.

At x = 0, we have a large plate A, and at x = 10

−2

m, we have another plate B. B has a positive charge,

while A has a negative charge.

Knowing the potential, we can calculate the electric ﬁeld using the formula above. Since the y and z

components are both zero, we just take the negative derivative, and multiply it by ˆ x, as above, and get:

E = −10

5

ˆ x

We know since before that

V

A

−V

B

=

_

B

A

E

d

... but in this case, we know that the movement is strictly in the x direction, so we can use

dx instead of

**d. Let’s also substitute in the value for
**

E, so that we get:

V

A

−V

B

=

_

B

A

−10

5

ˆ x

dx

Well, now what? Well, ﬁrst oﬀ, −10

5

is a constant, so we can move it outside the integral. Second, ˆ x and

dx are by deﬁnition in the same direction, so the cosine of the angle between them is one. Therefore, we

can get rid of all the vector stuﬀ and reduce the integral to

V

A

−V

B

= −10

5

_

B

A

dx = −10

5

(x

B

−x

A

)

If we plug in x

B

= 10

−2

and x

A

= 0, we get −1000 volts, which is our answer. That is, A is 1000 volts

lower than B. The electric ﬁeld between the two plates point in the −ˆ x direction, i.e. the left, while

the potential grows towards the right. That’s the physical meaning of having the electric ﬁeld being the

negative of the derivative of the electric potential.

2.2 Electric ﬁelds inside hollow conductors

The electric ﬁeld is always zero everywhere inside a solid conductor. The same is not necessarily true in

a non-conductor. In a conductor, it is true because if there is an electric ﬁeld, the free electrons (that

deﬁne a conductor) would move around until the ﬁeld is cancelled out, and they no longer experience a force.

Imagine a solid (non-spherical, to show that spherical symmetry is not required) conductor. We add a

positive charge to this conductor. The question is, now: how does this charge distribute itself?

We know that it does so in a manner that ensures there is no electric ﬁeld inside the conductor (once it

has settled down), but that doesn’t answer the question of exactly where the charge is.

Let’s ﬁrst imagine that it spreads itself out evenly everywhere inside the solid block. Could this be?

No, it could not. We know that the electric ﬁeld must be zero inside the conductor. Now, let’s choose a

Gaussian surface, e.g. a small sphere, placed at any point inside this solid conductor. Recall Gauss’s law:

φ =

E

dA =

Q

ins

0

19

We know that [

**E[ is zero, since this is inside the conductor. Since the left side (the integral) is zero, we
**

can only conclude that

Q

ins

must be zero. There can be no charge anywhere inside the conductor -

only on the surface - or this could not be true!

So, the charge is on the surface. It is not uniformly distributed, however! That would only be the case if

the conductor were a sphere.

Now, let’s see what happens if we make it hollow. That is, there is an inner surface and an outer surface

(with a nonzero amount of the conducting material between them), but the shape remains the same (re-

member that it is non-spherical!).

We now have two surfaces - one outer and one inner. Will the situation change? That is, will some of the

charge now be on the inside surface as well?

The answer is no. We can use the same argument: imagine a Gaussian surface that is located just inside

the outer surface, such that it envelops the entire shape, minus the outer surface. The Gaussian surface

is inside the conductor at all points, which means the electric ﬁeld must be zero everywhere on it. That,

in turn (just as above) means the

E

dA integral will be zero, and so there cannot be any charge enclosed

by the surface.

The charge is still exclusively on the outer surface!

Let’s take it another step. We take a similar hollow conductor - a sphere, now - except we bring a charge

+Q inside the (closed) conductor... somehow.

The same rules still apply: the electric ﬁeld inside the conductor must be zero.

Using the same Gauss’s law argument, we can show that there must, in fact, be negative charge on the

inside surface now!

Once again, the

E

dA integral along the Gaussian surface - again chosen to enclose the conductor minus

the outer surface - must be zero, since the electric ﬁeld is everywhere zero in the conductor.

This means also that the right-hand side of Gauss’s law -

Q

ins

0

- must be zero! That can only happen

when the net charge inside is zero. In other words, if we bring a positive charge to the inside of the hollow

conductor, nature will cause negative charge to accumulate on the inside surface to cancel it out.

Do note that the charge will be on the inside surface only - never in the middle of the conductor. The same

argument with the small Gaussian surface as before holds: if you enclose only a tiny bit of the conductor,

the electric ﬁeld must be zero everywhere, which means the surface integral of

E

dA must be zero, which

means there can be no charge inside the conductor itself.

Now, because this conductor was neutral when we began this experiment, and brought charge inside the

hollow cavity, it must still be overall neutral. Since negative charge has gathered on the inside surface,

the same amount of positive charge must have gathered on the outside surface now!

What’s more, in order to obey the laws of physics, this charge must be uniformly distributed, since the

conductor is spherical. This would not be the case for a non-sphere.

The net eﬀect of this is, then, that since the charge distribution on the surface is uniform, what happens

on the inside of the sphere is completely un-observable to the outside world. We can move the charge inside

the hollow cavity around, and the external electric ﬁeld will be unaﬀected.

This eﬀect is known as electrostatic shielding, and the conductor will often be known as a Faraday cage.

2.3 High-voltage breakdown and lightning

We now know that charge distribution is non-uniform on all non-spherical surfaces (surfaces, since we also

know that all charge will reside at the surface for solid conductors).

More speciﬁcally, the charge density will be higher at regions of higher curvature, which we will now show.

Imagine two conducting spheres, far apart, but connected with conductive wire. The two spheres are

20

together an equipotential, because of the connection between them.

Let’s call one A, with radius R

A

and charge Q

A

, with the other being B with radius R

B

and charge Q

B

.

Because of the large separation between the two, the potential around A is not dependent upon B. That

is, the work required to bring a charge from inﬁnity to A is essentially the same with or without B.

Therefore, we can calculate the potential of A to be:

V

A

=

Q

A

4π

0

r

... but since the two are an equipotential, that must also be the potential of B, which also must follow the

same formula itself:

V

B

=

Q

B

4π

0

R

B

=

Q

A

4π

0

R

A

Therefore,

Q

A

R

A

=

Q

B

R

B

This must be true regardless of the radii involved, so imagine B having a radius that is 5 times larger than

A. This implies that there is also 5 times more charge on B than there is on A. However, the surface area

of B is 25 times larger than that of A.

The surface charge density σ is the total charge on the sphere divided by the surface area, so

σ =

Q

4πR

2

For these facts to be able to co-exist - that the surface area is 25 times more, but the charge is only 5

times more, we get that

σ

B

=

1

5

σ

A

merely because of the larger radius of B. Therefore, the smaller the radius, the higher the local charge

density. And, via Gauss’s law, we can show that this also implies that the local electric ﬁeld will be

stronger at such points of high curvature.

There results apply to all shapes. An otherwise spherical surface with a small, pointy outwards “tip” will

have a stronger electric ﬁeld at that tip, due to the higher charge density.

2.3.1 Electric breakdown

When electric ﬁelds become “too strong”, electric breakdown will occur. This is what happens when you

have two points with vastly diﬀerent electric potentials, and a spark forms and transfers charge, while also

creating sound and light (the spark).

It is fairly easy to see why this happens. Imagine an electron traveling in an electric ﬁeld. It will travel in

the opposite direction of the ﬁelds lines (since it is negatively charged).

It will accelerate in the ﬁeld, and it will collide with molecules (nitrogen, oxygen etc.) in the air in travels

through.

When the kinetic energy of the electron becomes high enough to ionize molecules in the air, there will now

be multiple electrons traveling. They, too, accelerate in the electric ﬁeld, ionize further molecules, etc.

If this keeps up, as it will if the electric ﬁeld remains, a conductor is formed from the ionized molecules and

electrons (which now make up a plasma). Charge is transferred, and as the molecules recombine to form

21

neutral atoms/molecules again, they will emit photons, which is why we see a spark. They also produce

a pressure wave, which is why we can also hear the sparks.

Because of what we discussed above, this will typically occur at sharp points, where the electric ﬁeld is

the strongest.

Very roughly, this breakdown voltage - at room temperature, with dry air, at standard pressure - is about

3 MV/m. So to produce a spark 10 cm long, for example, you would need a tenth of those 3 million volts

per meter, i.e. 300 kV.

22

Chapter 3

Week 3

3.1 Capacitance and Field Energy

3.1.1 Field Energy

Say we have a system with two large plates, separated by a distance h. One has charge +Q = +σA, where

A is the surface area, and the other the exact opposite charge −Q = −σA (A is the same for both plates).

Now suppose we move one of the the plate a distance x, so that they are further apart. The plates attract

each other, so it’s clear we must do work in order to separate the two. The work required to separate them

is the force required times the distance the force acts,

W = [

F[ x

since the electric ﬁeld is constant.

Finding the force required is simple, yet a bit tricky. We know that the electric ﬁeld strength between the

plates is

σ

0

but we have to keep in mind that while the plate will be very thin, it does have a nonzero thickness.

We know that charge will gather on the surface, but in reality, that too cannot be of zero thickness.

So, the electric ﬁeld below the plate is

σ

0

, half of which is due to the bottom plate. However, the electric

ﬁeld inside the plate is zero - it is a conductor, so that must be the case.

Because of this, the electric ﬁeld we need to use in our calculation is only half of what we might expect:

F =

1

2

QE

Therefore, the work is

1

2

QEx

We know that Q = σA, so let’s substitute that in there:

1

2

σAxE

If we multiply by

0

0

, i.e. 1, we ﬁnd another interesting result:

1

2

σAxE

0

0

23

We now have another

σ

0

= E in there, so we can simplify the expression to:

1

2

AxE

2

0

Now we note that Ax is the new volume that we have created an electric ﬁeld in. Remember that A is the

plate area, and x the distance we moved it.

Therefore, we can ﬁnd that the work required per unit volume is

W

volume

=

1

2

0

E

2

... which is known as ﬁeld energy density.

Clearly, the units for this would then be joules per cubic meter,

J

m

3

.

This result is valid for all charge conﬁgurations, not just the one system we just calculated. Therefore, if

it is more convenient for us, we can now use this instead of calculating the electric potential energy due

to each point charge alone, by integrating over all space:

U =

_

1

2

0

E

2

dV

... where V is for volume, not the electric potential!

Let’s calculate the electric potential energy for the plates above - which by the way is a parallel plate

capacitor. We have the integral we require just above; let’s substitute in E =

σ

0

in there:

U =

_

1

2

0

(

σ

0

)

2

dV

Because we know the volume of the “box” to be Ah, and we know the electric ﬁeld outside the plates to

be zero (the plates have exactly opposite ﬁelds, so they cancel out outside of the plates), we don’t need to

integrate, but get simply

U =

1

2

0

(

σ

0

)

2

Ah =

1

2

σ

2

0

Ah

We know since before that

Q = σA

V = Eh

... where V is now the electric potential again. Sadly, we use the same symbol for potential and volume.

We can use the ﬁrst equivalency to get Q in there:

U =

1

2

σ

0

Qh

And since E =

σ

0

, we can get rid of that and the h by using V instead:

U =

1

2

QV

3.1.2 Capacitance

Let’s now introduce the concept of capacitance, or for short, C (not to be confused with the unit coulomb

- just as W means both work and watt, despite work being measured in joules (watt-seconds)).

C =

Q

V

24

The unit of capacitance is the farad, F, named after Michael Faraday.

If we charge two objects up to have the same electric potential, then the one with the most charge on

it has the greatest capacitance. Thus the name - capacitance is the capacity to hold charge for a given

electric potential.

Using the deﬁnition of capacitance above, we can easily calculate the capacitance of a conducting sphere:

C =

Q

V

=

Q

Q

4π

0

R

= 4π

0

R

Since 4π

0

≈ 10

−11

(order of magnitude-wise), clearly capacitances will be extremely low even if the radius

is very high. For example, for a sphere of radius 1 meter, the capacitance is only on the order of 10

picofarads. An electrolytic capacitor, cylinder-shaped (the outside, but that’s not how it works - more on

that later) with radius 1 cm and height 4 cm can have a capacitance about ten million times more than

that!

Let’s now look at the case of two spheres A and B, side by side. Sphere A has charge Q

A

and potential

V

A

, while sphere B has charge Q

B

and potential V

B

.

The spheres are close to one another in space. What is the capacitance of B?

Well, we have the deﬁnition:

C

B

=

Q

B

V

B

However, keep in note what the potential V

B

really is. It is the work per unit charge you have to do to

bring a charge from inﬁnity up to the sphere. However, since A is nearby, that will charge the situation!

Carrying a positive test charge moving towards B, you will have to do work to overcome the electric force.

However, the negative sphere A will be attracting you at the same time, so the work you have to do

becomes less! Therefore, by deﬁnition, the potential of B has gone down - and from the equation above,

clearly, the capacitance of B has gone up!

Calling it the capacitance of B is a bit of a misnomer, it’s really the capacitance of B in the presence of

A.

Therefore, we will change the deﬁnition of capacitance to be inversely proportial to the potential diﬀerence

between two conductors:

C =

Q

∆V

... where +Q is the charge on one conductor, while −Q is the charge on the other one.

Let’s now calculate the capacitance of two concentric hollow spheres.

We know the electric ﬁeld due to the inner sphere:

E =

Q

4π

0

r

2

ˆ r

... and also know that the contribution to the electric ﬁeld inside the larger sphere, from the larger sphere,

is zero.

Therefore, we use the integral for a potential diﬀerence over this electric ﬁeld:

V

R1

−V

R2

=

_

R

2

R

1

E

dr =

Q

4π

0

_

R

2

R

1

dr

r

2

= −

1

r

¸

¸

¸

R

2

R

1

= −

_

Q

4π

0

__

1

R

2

−

1

R

1

_

Flip the order to get rid of the minus sign:

25

V

R1

−V

R2

=

Q

4π

0

_

1

R

1

−

1

R

2

_

We can now get ﬁnd the capacitance C by dividing Q with the potential diﬀerence above:

C =

Q

∆V

= 4π

0

1

_

1

R

1

−

1

R

2

_ = 4π

0

R

1

R

2

R

2

−R

1

The last step is simply a simpliﬁcation to make the expression easier to read, i.e. without nested fractions.

Let’s now go back to our parallel plate capacitor, and calculate its capacitance - now we know to use the

potential diﬀerence between the two plates.

We had that

C =

Q

V

Q = σA

E =

σ

0

... and V will as usual be the integral of the electric ﬁeld between the two plates. However, the ﬁeld is

constant, and so we can multiply the ﬁeld times the distance instead of a hairy dot-product integration.

Let’s call the separation between the two plates d:

C =

Q

V

=

σA

Ed

Let’s substitute the value for E in there:

C =

Q

V

=

σA

0

σd

So now, the sigmas cancel:

C =

A

0

d

The capacitance is linearly proportial to area, and inversely proportial to d. The last part goes together

nicely with the spheres - the closer they are, the more one will aﬀect the work required by the other. Closer

together means lower potential diﬀerence, which means higher capacitance - since capacitance is inversily

proportional to the potential diﬀerence.

3.2 Dielectrics

Let’s now go back to our good old parallel plate capacitor. We will add a new twist to it shortly, but to

begin with, it’s the same, only with some new namings.

We have two large plates, each with area A, separated by a distance d. We put charge +Q on the top

plate, and thus get a charge −Q on the bottom plate (if we do this the easy way, by connecting a voltage

source across the plates).

We call the charge density on the plates σ

free

, and the electric ﬁeld between the plates

E

free

=

σ

free

0

.

The electric ﬁeld is in the downwards direction, since the top plate is positive, and the bottom plate is

negative.

Now that we have changed the plates with a voltage source, we disconnect the voltage source, thus trap-

ping the charge on the plates. Q is now a constant, no matter what we do - except connect the plates to

26

a conductor, of course. Things that we still can modify, however, include the electric ﬁeld strength, the

capacitance, and the potential diﬀerence between the plates.

Now, let’s insert a linear dielectric material between the two plates - remember, with the voltage source

disconnected, and the charge trapped. For fairly long-winded reasons I won’t reproduce here (see the book

on polarization and dielectrics), this will cause a negative induced layer of charge on the bottom on the

top plate, and a positive induced layer of charge on the top of the bottom plate. That is, the charge will

be on the “inside” of the plates, close to the empty space between them.

We can call this charge density σ

ind

, for induced; thus the top plate, with charge +σ

free

, will also have a

charged −σ

ind

, while the bottom plate will have −σ

free

and +σ

ind

.

This induced charge will produce an electric ﬁeld, of course. Because the induced charge on the bottom is

positive, and the induced charge on the top is negative, the electric ﬁeld E

ind

will be in opposite direction

of E

free

, which was due to the charge we put on the plates. Therefore, the net electric ﬁeld between will

be lowered, since this induced-charge electric ﬁeld cancels out part of the original ﬁeld.

The net electric ﬁeld will as usual be the vectorial sum of the two; since they are exactly opposite in

direction, and it’s a fact that the induced ﬁeld will be smaller in magnitude than the original one, we get

that

E

net

=

E

free

−

E

ind

The induced charge will be some fraction of σ

free

. If we call it b, we have that

b σ

free

= σ

ind

(b < 1)

Therefore, we also have that

b

E

free

=

E

ind

It follows that

E

net

= (1 −b)

E

free

We call that 1 −b =

1

κ

(kappa) or

1

K

. κ is known as the dielectric constant. It is a dimensionless number,

and is 1 for a vacuum. It is greater than one for non-vacuums.

κ will be greater for materials which are themselves dipoles (even in the absence of electric ﬁelds), than

for materials which will contain induced dipoles from the electric ﬁeld.

Another way of writing the previous equation, then, is

E =

E

net

=

E

free

κ

From here on, in this section,

E will now refer to the net electric ﬁeld, i.e. the original ﬁeld minus the

induced ﬁeld, to keep things simple (as these are mostly lecture notes, and that’s how Walter Lewin did

in lecture).

All in all, we see that by inserting a dielectric material between the plates, with the power supply discon-

nected and the charge trapped, the electric ﬁeld strength has gone down by a factor of κ. Since V = Ed

in this case of a constant electric ﬁeld, and the distance d between the plates has remained constant, then

the potential diﬀerence must also have decreased by a factor of κ.

What about Gauss’s law, then? Well, we have that

27

E

dA =

Q

ins

0

How does this change in our situation now? Well,

Q

ins

is the net charge inside, such that a proton and

an electron would come out to 0, as the cancel each other’s charge out exactly.

The charge that is relevant in this case, then, is Q

net

= Q

free

+ Q

ind

, where Q

free

is positive and Q

ind

is

negative.

There’s a very easy way to take this into account: the factor κ perfectly captures the amount of charge

that is “cancelled out” or induced, so:

E

dA =

Q

free

0

κ

is all we need to calculate.

We can also write it as

E

dA =

Q

free

where = κ

0

is called the dielectric permittivity (compared to

0

which is the permittivity of free space,

also known as the permittivity of the vacuum).

Lastly, we can write it as

D

dA =

Q

free

where

D =

0

κ

**E is called the electric displacement vector.
**

We will now do four experiments, each with a notable diﬀerence from the previous, while still being very

similar.

First, let’s reproduce a few equations that will be necessary here:

C =

Q

V

V = Ed

Experiment one: disconnected power supply, no dielectric

We charge two circular plates, with an initial separation of 1 mm, to a potential diﬀerence of 1500 volts.

Once charged, we disconnect the power supply, so that the charge is trapped on the plates.

We then increase the separation from 1 mm to 7 mm. The question is: what will happen to the electric

ﬁeld, and what will happen to the potential diﬀerence?

The electric ﬁeld must remain unchanged, because E =

σ

0

, and σ is constant since the charge is trapped

on the plates!

For the same reason, however, V must increase by a factor of seven! Note that V = Ed; with E held

constant, and d increasing, V must clearly increase!

This is also exactly what the experiment shows when the plates are separated: the potential increases, but

that is the only change.

28

Experiment two: disconnected power supply, dielectric inserted

We start this experiment where the previous one ended; at d ≈ 7 mm and V ≈ 10500 volts (7 times higher

than the initial 1500).

Now, we insert a dielectric - a glass plate, with a κ of roughly 5.

What happens with the free charge, the E-ﬁeld, and the potential diﬀerence between the plates?

Back to the equations!

First oﬀ, Q

free

is still trapped and so cannot change this time around, either. However, there will be an

induced E-ﬁeld from the induced charge, and so the E-ﬁeld will decrease - by a factor of κ.

With V = Ed, and E decreased with d held constant, clearly V will also decrease by a factor of κ.

The most interesting, and useful, change is with the capacitance, however! Since C =

Q

V

, and Q is held

constant while V decreases, C must increase by a factor κ! Thus, capacitance as related to the geometry

of the parallel plate capacitor must be amended by this factor:

C =

0

A

d

κ

Experiment three: power supply remains connected, no dielectric

We start over like experiment one: 1 mm separation, 1500 volts, no dielectric; however we leave the power

supply in there the entire time.

Because the power supply is now connected, with a ﬁxed potential diﬀerence of 1500 volts, the results of

this experiment will be very diﬀerent from the ﬁrst one. With V ﬁxed, we expect that other parameters

will have to change than ones that did last time.

Again, V = Ed, so when V is ﬁxed and d is increased, E must clearly decrease! As for the capacitance,

the only variable that changes in the above equation is d, so the capacitance must also decrease by the

same factor. Lastly, because C =

Q

V

or equivalently Q = CV , with V ﬁxed and C decreasing, Q must

decrease! This is now possible, since the power supply is connected and allows for charge to move.

Experiment four: power supply remains connected, dielectric inserted

We now move to the fourth experiment. We start where we left oﬀ in experiment three. 7 mm separation,

1500 volts with the power supply connected, and the glass plate is inserted between the plates.

We take a ﬁnal look at the equations to predict what will happen. The capacitance will clearly increase

by a factor κ, as capacitance is only related to plate area, separation between plates and κ. The latter is

the only which changes, from roughly 1 (the κ of vacuum, and air is extremely near 1 as well), to roughly

5, the κ of glass.

What about the free charge? Well, ﬁrst, let’s look at the electric ﬁeld strength. V = Ed, and so E =

V

d

.

V is held constant by the power supply, d is constant, and so E must remain constant.

However, we know that inserting a dielectric will cause induced charge to appear on the plates, which

lowers the net electric ﬁeld by a factor κ!

For these two facts to be able to coincide, the “free” electric ﬁeld must increase in order to compensate

for the induced, antiparallel electric ﬁeld, in order to keep the net ﬁeld strength exactly the same as before.

Therefore, the free charge will increase by a factor of κ, to balance out the reduction in ﬁeld strength that

would otherwise occur.

29

3.2.1 More on capacitors

If we want to design a capacitor with a very high capacitance, how should we proceed?

Well, clearly, from the parallel plate capacitor equation, we want to maximize the area A, minimize the

distance d between the plates and maximize the dielectric constant κ. Those are all the variables in the

equation, so we can’t do much more!

Let’s compare two diﬀerent 100 microfarad capacitors. One is rated for 40 volts, and the other for 4000

volts(!). We use polyethylene as a dielectric; it has a κ of roughly 3, and can tolerate roughly 18 MV/m

before breaking down.

Because of this breakdown limit, the only way to make very high-voltage capacitors is to increase the

dielectric thickness d (which is then also the plate separation distance). However, doing so reduces the

capacitance, so you need to increase the plate area to compensate! For this reason, high-voltage, high-

capacitance capacitors are physically very large. The 4 kV, 100 µF capacitor mentioned looks like a car

battery, while the 40 V one is roughly 1 cm

3

in volume!

Let’s do a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Say we have a plate area of 1 m

2

(for easy numbers’ sake, but

since the plates can be rolled up, it’s not an extreme value as it sounds, either), with a separation of 0.01

mm, with air between the plates. The capacitance is, according to the capacitance equation, roughly 0.88

µF, and the maximum voltage before breakdown, at 3 MV/m for air, about 30 volts. In practice it will

probably be less due to imperfections etc, but this is a back-of-the-envelope calculation!

Let’s now insert a dielectric of κ = 3 between the plates, which can also withstand about 18 MV/m before

breakdown. First, κ multiplies the capacitance by three, so if we are happy with the capacitance, we can

immediately reduce the plate area by a factor of κ to retain our 0.88 µF. Thus the area is now

1

3

m

2

vs

the old 1.

Second, note that the dielectric can take a lot more than the 30 volts at the same distance now. If we’re

happy with the 30 volts maximum, we can reduce d by a factor of

18

3

(new / old breakdown limit), from

0.01 mm (10 µm) to 1.666 µm. The new maximum voltage will still be 30 volts, since we reduced the

distance by the same factor.

However, now that d is 6 times smaller, we can reduce A by a further factor of 6, getting it down from

1 initally to just 0.055 m

2

now, without any sacriﬁce in capacitance or voltage tolerance! All we did was

insert a dielectric and reduce the distance - which we couldn’t have done without the dielectric. Clearly,

dielectrics are very important for capacitors - especially when you want higher values of capacitance,

perhaps in the millifarad range and above, without making truly enormous (car battery-sized or even

larger) capacitors.

3.2.2 A bit on van de Graaﬀ generators

Imagine a fairly big, hollow, conducting sphere. We can use a high-voltage power supply, say 3 kV, to

bring charge on the sphere: we charge a small conductor, bring the two in contact, and repeat the process

until no charge is transferred any longer.

Clearly, that point will occur when the large sphere has the same electric potential as the smaller conduc-

tor. If we want to charge the big sphere, the van de Graaﬀ, to say 200 kV, this method is useless.

What we can do instead is to charge the small conductor in the same way, but instead bring it inside the

large, hollow sphere, through an opening at the bottom.

30

The electric ﬁeld inside will always be zero - not quite, since it’s not a perfect sphere, but close enough.

Even when the potential at the outside of the sphere and the small conductor are equal, we can still

transfer charge to the inside of the large sphere!

We can use this method to charge the van de Graaﬀ to any voltage we want, until it goes into electric

breakdown, which we can’t really prevent. Breakdown is what will ultimately limit the amount of charge

we can get on the sphere, and thus ultimately the voltage.

So, how does a “real” van de Graaﬀ generator work? Clearly, it is not through a person manually moving

charge!

First, there is a motor that drives a belt. The belt goes from the outside of the sphere all the way inside.

We put charge on this belt, using two sharp tips that cause corona discharge. The charged belt travels up

inside the sphere, where another two sharp points through corona discharge move the charge to the inside

of the hollow sphere. Of course, the charge will move to the outer surface almost instantly, thus charging

the sphere a bit more.

3.3 Current, resistivity and Ohm’s law

Current is a ﬂow of electric charge. By convention, we say that if a current goes towards the right in a

conductor, positive charges would move towards the right. Negative charges would then move towards the

left, in the opposite direction of the current ﬂow.

While this causes some confusion, electron ﬂow is the most common form of current. Thus, when we

talk about a current ﬂowing towards the right in e.g. a circuit diagram, the electrons are in fact moving

towards the left. However, most of the time, it doesn’t really matter in which direction the electrons ﬂow,

as long as we are consistent about this.

This convention where the electrons ﬂow opposite to the current is called conventional current. The other

convention, where they ﬂow in the same direction, is called electron ﬂow.

We will stick to convential current in these notes, however.

Electrons are the main charge carrier since there are free electrons in conductors, which will move when

we apply a potential diﬀerence over a conductor. Such a potential diﬀerence will cause an electric ﬁeld

to appear inside the conductor, and the electrons will attempt to move in order to neutralize the electric

ﬁeld (since a force will be applied to them).

Now, let’s do some dirty math to try to derive Ohm’s law. This will be a quick and likely hard-to-fully-

grasp explanation, as it’s overly simpliﬁed and rushed through. Apparently quantum mechanics is required

for a proper derivation.

In copper, at room temperature, the average speed of the free electrons is the metal is on the order of 10

6

meters per second; this is a random, thermal motion due to the temperature.

The time between collisions between the atoms and the free elecrons is roughly τ = 3 10

−14

(τ is the

Greek letter tau).

The number of free electrons is roughly n = 10

29

per m

3

; roughly one per atom.

When we apply a potential diﬀerence to the conductor, the free electrons will experience a force of mag-

nitude F = eE, where e is the magnitude of the electron’s charge (the elementary charge e), and E is the

electric ﬁeld’s magnitude. Via Newton, we know that the electrons will now experience an acceleration of

a =

F

m

e

=

eE

m

e

, where m

e

is the mass of the electron. Because of the accelerations, they will pick up an

average speed between the collisions, of v

d

= aτ, where v

d

is known as the drift velocity.

If we combine the two equations, we have

31

v

d

=

eE

m

e

τ

If we use this equation to calculate the drift velocity in a 10 meter long copper conductor, with a potential

diﬀerence of 10 volts (and thus an average electric ﬁeld of 1 volt/meter), we get a drift velocity of roughly

v

d

=

(1.6 10

−19

)(1)

9.1 10

−31

(3 10

−14

) ≈ 0.0053 m/s

That is in fact not a miscalculation - the drift velocity will actually be on the order of millimeters per

second! The random thermal motion causes the electrons to move at a million meter per second, and our

electric ﬁeld of 1 volt/meter doesn’t even break

1

100

m/s!

Of course, without the electric ﬁeld, the net movement of the electrons would be zero - the motion is

random, and so you would expect that on average, they return to where they were.

Let’s imagine now a wire, shaped like a cylinder. It has cross-sectional area A, length , and we apply a

potential diﬀerence V such that the electric potential is higher on the right side.

This will cause a current I (the symbol for current is I) to travel in the leftwards direction, which is also

the direction of the electric ﬁeld E =

V

**. Of course, the electrons will travel towards the right, opposite
**

to the electric ﬁeld vector.

In one second, they will travel a distance of v

d

meters to the right, by our deﬁnition of the drift velocity.

Let’s look at how we can calculate the current in terms of the drift velocity and such things.

If we take a cross-section of the conductor, with area A, the volume that “moves through” per second wil

be v

d

A, since v

d

is the length the electrons move per second. We multiply that by n (free electrons per

cubic meter) to get the number of free electrons that pass through per second. We then multiply that by

e, the magnitude of the electron’s charge, to get the total charge that passes per second.

Therefore, the current that ﬂows is the product of the above terms:

I = v

d

A n e

We found v

d

previously, so we can substitute that value for it in there:

I =

_

eE

m

e

τ

_

A n e =

e

2

nτ

m

e

AE

The ﬁrst term there, in the fraction, depends only on the conductor (for a given temperature). We denote

that by σ, and call it conductivity.

σ =

e

2

nτ

m

e

σ we be roughly 10

8

for copper at room temperature, and the units are

A

V m

, or equivalently,

S

m

(siemens

per meter), as 1 S =

1 A

1 V

.

Because E =

V

**, we can also write the current as
**

I =

e

2

nτ

m

e

AE = σAE =

σAV

**We can solve that for V , as well:
**

V =

σA

I

32

... which is, in fact, Ohm’s law, since R =

σA

.

We will often use ρ =

1

σ

, which is then known as the resistivity of a material. (ρ is the Greek letter rho.)

Note from the above equations that the current (for a given potential diﬀerence) is proportional to the

conductor’s area, and inversely proportional to its length. This makes a lot of sense if we use the common

analogy of current being water, electric potential being water pressure, and resistance being, well, the

resistance a pipe causes. Clearly, a longer pipe will require more pressure to maintain the same current

(current is inversely proportional to ). Also, a wider pipe will allow more current to ﬂow (current is

proportional to A).

Let’s move away a bit from all these equations and their symbols, and put some numbers in there, instead.

Say we have a chunk of copper 1 mm x 1 mm x 1 m in size. The cross-sectional area is then 10

−6

m.

What is the resistance? Well, we and A. σ is roughly 10

8

, so the resistance R is about

1

10

8

10

−6

= 10

−2

Ω.

What about insulators? A good insulator - example include glass, quartz, rubber and porcelain - can have

resistivities as high as 10

12

to 10

16

, with conductivities (σ) of one over those numbers.

For example, if the material had σ = 10

−14

(equivalent to ρ = 10

14

), the resistance R would be about

10

20

Ω! With such high resistances, clearly only extremely small currents will ﬂow even for very high

voltages.

Ohm’s law has many downsides. It’s only valid for a subset of circuits elements, and only works in the

ideal case.

The conductivity σ (and thus the resistivity ρ) is a strong function of temperature. If the temperature

increases, then the random, thermal motion of the electrons will increase. In turn, τ, the time between

collisions, will go down. If we have a look at the deﬁnition of σ:

σ =

e

2

nτ

m

e

it’s clear that this means that the conductivity will go down if the temperature goes up. This has some

very big ramiﬁcations.

As a real-world example, we can take a simple light bulb. Consider a small light bulb; it has a 50 ohm

resistance - when hot. When cold, the resistance is closer to just 7 ohm. What happens now? Well, the

instant we switch the circuit on, the bulb is cold, and the current will be I =

V

7

. Say V = 12 volts. In that

case, the power dissipation (which we haven’t discussed yet in this course) will be 20.5 watts. Considering

the tiny size of the light bulb in the example, that is a lot of power. It can’t possibly keep that up, as it

will get too hot.

Instead, what happens is that the power dissipation will heat the bulb up extremely quickly, and so the

resistance will increase to the ≈ 50 ohms in about a second, if not even less. At that point, I =

V

50

, and

for 12 V, the power dissipation is now 2.88 watts, a much more reasonable ﬁgure.

Clearly then, the voltage-current relation of this light bulb is far from linear! It will be fairly linear when

the bulb is hot, but if the voltage were to increase or decrease, then the bulb would either heat up or cool

down, and so the curve would yet again be a function of temperature and non-linear.

33

Chapter 4

Week 4

4.1 Batteries and EMF

If we draw up a very simple circuit with a voltage source connected to a resistor, we ﬁnd that the current

(conventional current) from the + side of the supply, through the resistor - in through the positive side of

the resistor and out the negative, and back into the power supply.

The electric ﬁeld always points from a higher potential to a lower potential, so in the resistor it points

along with the current.

What about in the power supply? Well, we just said that the electric ﬁeld always points from a higher

potential to a lower, so we ﬁnd that the electric ﬁeld opposes the current! The current must enter the −

terminal and ﬂow out of the + terminal, while the electric ﬁeld must point from + to −!

Therefore, there must be a mechanism which forces the current to run despite the opposing electric ﬁeld;

a mechanism which does work to overcome the electric force.

Let’s consider a chemical battery. We have two plates, one zinc (Zn) and one copper (Cu) in a solution of

sulfuric acid (H

2

SO

4

).

In this solution, ions will form: Zn

++

, Cu

++

and SO

−−

4

.

We connect this battery to a resistor R, and a current ﬂows. If we now look at the current direction

and the electric ﬁeld direction, we will ﬁnd the same result as before: the align in the resistor, but are in

opposite directions inside the battery. So, again, the charge carriers in the solution must ﬂow in a direction

that would require work to be done.

Why does this happen? The answer is that in doing so, they participate in a chemical reaction which will

net more energy than is spent on ﬁghting the electric force.

When measuring the potential diﬀerence of an open circuit, such as an otherwise unconnected battery, we

call that voltage the electromotive force, or EMF (sometimes in lowercase, so emf), for which we use the

symbol E, so a curly E, a bit like a large lowercase epsilon, but not quite.

Since all materials (except superconductors, which we may encounter later on) have a nonzero resistance,

the battery will have an internal resistance. Therefore, if we short-circuit a battery - even with a su-

perconductor of 0 resistance, the current that ﬂows will be limited by the internal resistance, such that

I

SC

=

E

R

int

where I

SC

is the short-circuit current.

When we draw a current from any power source, the voltage as measured across its terminals will drop,

due to the internal resistance. Via Ohm’s law,

E = IR = I(R

ext

+ R

int

)

Via Ohm’s law, there will be a voltage drop across the internal resistance,

34

V

Rint

= IR

int

and so the potential diﬀerence that “reaches” the external resistor (note that voltage doesn’t “ﬂow”) is

V

Rext

= E −IR

int

The higher the current, the lower the potential diﬀerence. For this reason, if you buy a 9 volt battery, the

open circuit voltage will likely be a bit higher than that (when it is new). Under relatively heavy load, the

battery’s internal resistance will get a voltage drop, and so the voltage seen by the external circuit may

well be less than 9 volts.

In a similar manner, if we short-circuit such a battery, then clearly the entire 9 volts will be across the

internal resistance, causing a large current, and lots of heat production.

The power is given by P = V I = I

2

R =

V

2

R

, so for V = 9 volts and R perhaps on the order of 2 Ω, the

current will be large, as will the power dissipation and thus heat generation be.

Power is given by energy per unit time, and so the units are joules per second, or watts (W).

From experience, I can recommend not shorting 9 volt batteries for a long time - they get hot, the outside

starts melting, and they smell awful! Other than that, it’s relatively safe, however, unlike other battery

chemistries - lithium-ion batteries can cause ﬁres and explosions in the worst case scenario.

Now let’s look at a car battery. Such a battery would usually be a lead-acid type; they have lead and

lead-oxide plates in a solution of sulfuric acid. They are nominally 12 volts, but usually a bit higher in

practice, especially when the car is running and the battery is being charged.

Such a battery has a very low internal resistance, perhaps on the order of 20 milliohms. Thus the maximum

current, if short-circuited, is on the order of 600 amperes, which would cause a power output of

V

2

R

≈ 7200

watts inside the battery!

That’s several times more power than a space heater, which might be 2 kilowatts or so. Needless to say,

short-circuiting a car battery may be a very bad idea.

4.1.1 Kirchhoﬀ’s rules

A set of very useful rules - sometimes called laws, but like Ohm’s law they are not always valid - are called

Kirchhoﬀ’s rules. The ﬁrst, KVL for Kirchoﬀ’s Voltage Law, states that

_

E

d = 0

Or, in plain English, that the potential diﬀerence as measured when starting at a point, moving around a

loop, and coming back to the same point, must be zero. This is always true for a conservative ﬁeld, but

is not always true - time-varying magnetic ﬁelds are one thing that will make this untrue, as we will see

later on.

We can also state this in summation notation:

n

k=1

V

k

= 0

This rule is very useful for analysis of DC circuits, where we can pretend that it is always valid. It holds

for all loops that you can choose whereby you end up where you started.

Kirchhoﬀ’s Current Law, or KCL, states that the current that ﬂows into a junction/node must ﬂow out,

i.e. there cannot be a pile-up of charge. Thus if you have a T-junction in a circuit, the net sum of the

35

currents must be zero - either one goes in and two out, or two goes in and one out. There are no other

possibilities.

We can state this using summation notation as well:

n

k=1

I

k

= 0

4.1.2 Basic circuit analysis

Because this is such a pain to describe without circuit diagrams, and since adding circuit diagrams are an

even bigger pain, I will refrain from documenting this right now. If the course continues on with anything

more than the very basic analysis done in lecture 10, I will change this. If not, see the lecture videos.

4.2 Magnetic Field and Torques

In ancient greece, in the 5th century BC, it was already known that certain rocks attract iron. One of

these minerals is now called magnetite, named after Magnesia, a district where the rocks where plentiful.

This is of course also where the names “magnet” and “magnetism” come from.

Much later, these minerals were used to create compasses, 1100 AD, in China. Yet a century later, it was

found that magnets have two points of maximum attraction, known as poles. All magnets found have two

poles; if you split a magnet in two, you get two smaller magnets with two poles each.

We name these poles north and south; the north pole will point (approximately) towards Earth’s geo-

graphic north pole, while the magnet’s south pole points (roughly) towards Earth’s geographic south pole.

Opposite poles attract, and like poles repel each other, as with electric charge.

Because of this, the magnet’s north pole will point towards the Earth south magnetic pole, which some-

what confusingly is located near the Earth’s geographic north pole.

(The Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld shifts with time, and so it is not ﬁxed at the Earth’s geographic poles.)

Magnetic monopoles - magnets with only one pole - could exist, but despite much research, such a magnet

has never been observed to exist.

As with electric ﬁelds, we can visualize magnetic ﬁeld by using ﬁeld lines. Unlike electric ﬁelds, however,

all known magnets are dipoles. Therefore, all ﬁeld lines will begin at the magnet’s north pole and end at

its south pole.

With electric ﬁeld lines, the meaning of the ﬁeld lines are that at each point, the lines are tangent to the

force a positively chargd particle would experience.

For magnetic ﬁeld lines, every point is tangent to the direction in which a compass needle would point.

Thus we can trace out magnetic ﬁelds with compass needles, if they are “large enough”. At the very least

it’s a useful way to think about them.

In 1819, Danish physicist Oersted discovered that magnetic needles move in response to electric current,

thus linking electricity with magnetism, in the ﬁrst step towards a theory of electromagnetism.

If a current moves “into” this page (denoted by

**, which looks like the rear end of an arrow), the magnetic
**

ﬁeld created will be in a clockwise circle around the wire. If a current were to move “out of” the page

(denoted by

, which looks like an arrow coming towards you), the magnetic ﬁeld created would then

be counter-clockwise. As we will soon see, magnetic ﬁelds are always perpendicular to the current that

creates them.

Well, if a running current causes a magnet to move by exerting a force, as Oersted showed, then by New-

ton’s third law, the opposite must also be the case. If we run a current through a wire that is placed in

36

an external ﬁeld, the wire will experince a force. The direction of this force is given by the cross product

ˆ

F =

ˆ

I

ˆ

B, where

B is how we (always) denote the magnetic ﬁeld. (In this instance, we used the unit

vector

ˆ

B =

B

[

B[

.)

If we run a current through a wire towards the right, like so: I

1

−→

then the magnetic ﬁeld produced would, below the wire, be going into the page, and above, be coming out

of the page.

We can use the right-hand rule, used for determining the direction of cross products, here. Or, rather, a

related rule. If you point your right thumb in the direction of the current, with your remaining ﬁngers

slighly curled, then the other ﬁngers will show the direction of the magnetic ﬁeld. Try it out with your

right thumb pointing towards the right, and you’ll ﬁnd that indeed above the wire, your ﬁngers point

towards you (“out of the page”), while the hand below the wire points “into the page”, and away from you.

If we add a second current I

2

in the same direction, in a wire just below I

1

, the magnetic force between

the two wires will attract the wires. We can convince ourselves of this by using the above “ﬁnger curl rule”

again.

4.2.1 The B Field

So how do we deﬁne a magnetic ﬁeld? Unfortunately, since we have no magnetic monopoles, we can’t use

a deﬁnition such as

F = q

B as we might like to.

Instead, the magnetic ﬁeld is described in terms of how it acts on moving charges:

F

B

= q(v

B)

where is the cross product (vector product). Due to the nature of the cross product, this result is not

only always perpendicular to te velocity of the particle, but also always perpendicular to the magnetic

ﬁeld, which is at least to me is unintuitive.

The above result is sometimes considered describing the Lorentz force, but that same term often refers to

the sum of electric and magnetic eﬀects on a charged particle.

The equation is sign-sensitive: if any of the three terms is negative, then the force ﬂips over 180 degrees.

(Of course, if exactly two are negative, the minus signs would cancel out.)

Via the above equation we can derive the units of the magnetic ﬁeld strength:

N = C(m/s B)

where B is a temporary name for the magnetic ﬁeld units. We can simply solve for B:

B =

N s

C m

= tesla

This interesting-looking unit is called the tesla, and has the symbol T. The tesla is a very “large” unit;

for example, the Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld is on the order of 50 µT. The gauss (symbol G) is also often used,

despite being a non-SI unit. They are related such that 1 T = 10

4

G, so 1 G = 10

−4

T.

Because the magnetic ﬁeld’s force is always perpendicular to a particle’s velocity vector, the magnetic

ﬁeld can never do any work on a moving particle! Work is deﬁned as the dot product of the force and

the displacement, and with an angle of 90 degrees between them, the cosine term in the dot product will

always be zero.

This means that the magnetic force cannot change the kinetic energy of a particle - it can’t increase it,

and it can’t decrease it. It can and will force the particle to change directions, however. This fact is

exploited in CRT monitors and television sets - which are obsolete since about a decade. Such monitors

work by ﬁring an electron beam towards a set of phosphors. The beam is scanned over the whole image

37

multiple times a second, and oriented by using magnetic ﬁelds to force the particles to where you want them.

The total electromagnetic force on a moving, charged particle is given by

F = q(

E +v

B)

... which is, as stated above, also known as the Lorentz force. These notes will either follow the convention

of the lectures, if there is one used often enough to be noteworthy, or it will call this total force the Lorentz

force.

Let’s now return to looking at the force on a wire with a current through it.

Say that we have a charge dq moving in a wire. It moves forward with the drift velocity, v

d

(rather, the

electrons move backwards with that velocity, but we can pretend it’s positive charge moving forwards for

mathematical simplicity, as it all works out the same). We call this current I, and it runs through an exter-

nal magnetic ﬁeld

B, which may vary at diﬀerent points of the wire. We call the angle between v

d

and

B θ.

Well, if we keep working with the diﬀerential charge dq, we get that the magnetic force on the charge is

d

FB

= dq( v

d

B)

We also know that, by deﬁnition

I =

dq

dt

Therefore, we can substitute that into the previous equation, and get

d

FB

= Idt( v

d

B)

Whether we multiply I by dt, or do so to v

d

doesn’t matter; mathematically, it is the exact same thing.

We can therefore think of this as

d

FB

= I( v

d

dt

B)

We now have velocity multiplied by time, which is simply a distance. Therefore, we can substitute the

drift velocity for a chunk of the wire,

d:

d

FB

= I(

d

B)

Of course, to get the total force on the wire, we need to sum up all of these tiny segments, which means

integrating the above:

F

B

=

_

wire

I(

d

B)

In the special case that the magnetic ﬁeld is constant, at least over a portion of the wire, we can do the

above calculation with simple multiplication of the three terms instead:

[

F

B

[ ≈ IB

4.3 Review for Exam 1

Say we have a solid cylinder, with uniform charge distribution (in 3 dimensions!) ρ coulomb per cubic

meter, and radius R.

What is the E-ﬁeld outside the cylinder (r > R)?

Let’s see. We use Gauss’s law, as always:

38

EA =

Q

0

A would be the surface area of the sides, so 2πr. Q meanwhile we need to ﬁnd by multiplying the volume

with the charge density:

Q = ρπR

2

**If we merge the two equations, we have
**

2πrE =

ρπR

2

0

E =

ρπR

2

0

2πr

E =

ρR

2

2

0

r

Next up: what is the electric ﬁeld inside (r < R)?

Since the charge distribitions is uniform, and not just all on the surface, we’ll treat this as a non-conductor.

Therefore the answer isn’t immediately zero.

Well, we’ll want to apply Gauss’s law again, of course. The left-hand side will be the same, only that

r < R this time. The right side must change, however: the amount of enclosed charge will change. The

enclosed charge will now be given by the radius of the Gaussian cylinder, rather than that of the “real”,

physical cylinder:

2πrE =

ρπr

2

0

E =

ρπr

2

0

2πr

E =

ρr

2

0

4.3.1 That’s it

Everything else covered this lecture has already been covered in these notes. While watching it again is

helpful, I don’t see how reading two sets of notes, with the same content, is useful. Read the rest of the

notes twice, instead!

39

Chapter 5

Week 5

5.1 Moving Charges in Magnetic Fields

5.1.1 Moving charges, radii and special relativity

As we saw in lecture last week, the magnetic force will act to charge the direction of a moving charged

particle. The magnetic force will be in a direction perpendicular to the particle’s velocity, and also per-

pendicular to the magnetic ﬁeld itself.

If we repeat the calculation of the new velocity vector over and over, as the charge moves small distances,

we will ﬁnd that the particle travels in a perfect circle - given a uniform magnetic ﬁeld, and no other forces

being involved.

From classical mechanics, uniform circular motion is described by a centripetal force - a force acting on

the particle towards the center of a circle. We can equate the magnetic force on the particle, given by

q(vB), with the centripetal force.

If the magnetic ﬁeld is uniform, and we choose it such that it is perpendicular to v, the magnetic force is

given by

F

B

= qvB. Equating that with the centripetal force

mv

2

R

, we can solve for the circle’s radius R:

qvB =

mv

2

R

qvBR = mv

2

R =

mv

qB

The equation behaves as we would expect: the higher the mass, or the velocity, the greater the radius:

the particle’s inertia will make it harder for the magnetic force to chance its direction very rapidly.

Likewise, if the charge is high or the magnetic ﬁeld is strong, the magnetic force will be able to act more

strongly, and so the radius will be low.

We can also write this radius in terms of the potential diﬀerence used to accelerate the particle.

Since electrostatic potential energy is given by qV , where V is potential diﬀerence, and all such potential

energy will turn into kinetic energy after having accelerated it, we can equate that with the calculation of

kinetic energy:

1

2

mv

2

= qV

We can then solve for v, the velocity:

v

2

= (2qV )/m

v =

_

2qV

m

40

... and then substitute that into the equation for the radius:

R =

m

_

2qV

m

qB

Let’s simplify that a bit.

Instead of dividing by q and B outside, we can move q

2

and B

2

inside; same with m in front:

R =

¸

2m

2

qV

mq

2

B

2

After cancelling stuﬀ out, we’re left with:

R =

¸

2mV

qB

2

Of course, since we got this result by using the classical equation for the kinetic energy, this will only

be valid when the particle’s velocity is much lower than the speed of light. When it approaches perhaps

10% of the speed of light, the result is going to be a bit oﬀ. Greater speeds mean much greater inaccuracies.

Within special relativity, a common term is γ, the Lorentz factor. It is used, for example, to calculate

time dilation, length contraction, and kinetic energy.

It is deﬁned as

γ =

1

_

1 −v

2

/c

2

... where c is the speed of light in a vacuum, approximately 3 10

8

m/s. v is as usual the particle’s velocity.

If γ ≈ 1, then classical physics and special relativity will agree. The farther it is from 1, the greater the

inaccuracy of classical physics.

We can amend the formulae for the particle’s radius to account for relativistic eﬀects:

R = γ

mv

qB

R =

¸

(γ + 1)mV

qB

2

In the limit as γ →1, the above are identical with what we had before, as we would expect.

In special relativity, kinetic energy as related to velocity and mass is given by

K

e

= (γ −1)mc

2

=

_

1

_

1 −v

2

/c

2

−1

_

mc

2

In order to ﬁnd the velocity for a 1 MeV electron, we set the above equal to the kinetic energy of qV , and

solve for v, not a pretty aﬀair:

_

1

_

1 −v

2

/c

2

−1

_

mc

2

= qV

1

_

1 −v

2

/c

2

= 1 +

qV

mc

2

_

1 −v

2

/c

2

=

1

1 +

qV

mc

2

41

1 −v

2

/c

2

=

1

_

1 +

qV

mc

2

_

2

−v

2

/c

2

=

1

_

1 +

qV

mc

2

_

2

−1

v

2

/c

2

= 1 −

1

_

1 +

qV

mc

2

_

2

v

2

= c

2

_

1 −

1

_

1 +

qV

mc

2

_

2

_

v = c

¸

¸

¸

_

_

1 −

1

_

1 +

qV

mc

2

_

2

_

I also solved that in Mathematica, which gave me an answer with fewer levels, but equal ugliness:

v =

c

√

q

√

V

_

2c

2

m + qV

c

2

m + qV

... yeah. The good news, however, is that they both produce correct results.

If we stick the numbers in for a 1 MeV electron, we ﬁnd that its speed is roughly 2.8 10

8

m/s, about 93%

of the speed of light. If we do the same calculation using classical physics, we end up with a velocity of

5.93 10

8

m/s, or about twice the speed of light! Relativity is clearly a must for these speeds.

5.1.2 Isotope separation

We can use what we now know to separate isotopes of chemical elements. Because the chemical properties

of an element is based on the element itself, all isotopes are essentially identical chemically. However, we

can use other means to separate isotopes.

An an example, we will use uranium: separating uranium isotopes was a necessary step to build the atomic

bomb during World War II. (It is still a required step for a uranium-based bomb, of course.)

In nature, about 99.7% of all uranium is uranium-238 (

238

U

92

196

), meaning it has 238 protons plus neutrons

(92 protons, which makes it uranium, and 196 neutrons). The much more rare isotope of uranium-235

(

235

U

92

193

, about 0.7% in nature) is the one used for building bombs. When the isotope purity is high

enough, we call that weapons-grade uranium.

If we ionize uranium atoms, and accelerate them over a potential diﬀerence, and then send them through

a magnetic ﬁeld, the radius of the bend depends on each uranium ion’s mass. Therefore, U-235, which is

lighter, will have a slighly smaller radius than the heavier U-238! How much smaller? Well, they diﬀer in

weight by

238.05

235.04

≈ 1.28%. When accelerated over a constant potential diﬀerence, in the formula above we

can see that the radius is proportional to

√

m, so we get roughly a 0.6% diﬀerence is radius between the

two.

A device like this is known as a mass spectrometer; it is now one of many ways used to separate isotopes.

This technique, and many others used for isotope separation, also have many peaceful uses. For example,

they are used in medicine, to separate isotopes used for radiation treatment, PET scans, etc.

42

5.1.3 Particle accelerators/cyclotrons

Let’s now look at how we can accelerate protons (and other charged particles) to nearly the speed of light.

One way to do this is to use a cyclotron. A cyclotron chamber is made up of two “dees”, shaped like

the letter D (one of which is mirrored). Together, the dees make a circle. Seen from above, we have a

circle. We add a static magnetic ﬁeld, coming upwards (“out of the page”, if seen from above), and inject

a moving, charged particle into the chamber.

We then introduce a potential diﬀerence between the two dees, of say 20 kV. There will now be an electric

ﬁeld between the two dees, and as the particle moves between them, it will get accelerated, and gain 20

keV in kinetic energy. Because of the added velocity, the radius of the particle is now higher.

When the particle reaches the end of that dee, the potential diﬀerence is reversed, such that the electric

ﬁeld is again in the same direction as the particle, and so it is again accelerated and gains 20 keV of energy,

which again increases its radius.

We repeat this process until the proton reaches the outer edge of the dees, after having gained 40 keV per

loop, many times over.

In this process, then, the magnetic ﬁeld cause the protons to travel in a circle (spiral, rather, as they are

accelerated - but not by the magnetic force), while the electric ﬁeld accelerates the particle. Both ﬁelds

are necessary, but they perform diﬀerent functions, and only the electric force actually does physical work.

Let’s try an example:

“A proton is being accelerated in a cyclotron. The radius of the cyclotron is 2 m. The potential diﬀerence

between the gaps between the D’s is 50 kV. The uniform magnetic ﬁeld has a magnitude of 1 T. What is

the maximum energy that the proton can achieve? Ignore relativistic eﬀects.”

Since we are to ignore relativistic eﬀects, we use this equation:

R =

¸

2mV

qB

2

... and solve it for V:

V =

B

2

qR

2

2m

If we put the values in, we get that V ≈ 1.916 10

8

volts, or about 192 MV.

By the deﬁnition of the electronvolt, the answer is then that 192 MeV is the maximum energy the particle

can achieve in this cyclotron.

Approximately how many rotations of the proton are needed to achieve this maximum energy?

The potential diﬀerence is 50 kV, and the proton gains energy twice per rotation, so

192 MV

2 50 kV

≈ 1920 rotations

Next question...

“How much time does it take a proton with kinetic energy of 5 MeV to go around the cyclotron once? For

simplicity, you may ignore relativistic eﬀects.”

As usual, we solve

1

2

mv

2

= K

e

for v to ﬁnd the velocity. The kinetic energy is given as 5 MeV, which is

5 10

6

times the elementary charge ≈ 1.602 10

−19

:

v =

_

2K

e

m

=

_

2 5 10

6

1.602 10

−19

1.672 10

−31

≈ 3.095 10

7

m/s

We then use our old radius equation:

43

R =

mv

qB

=

1.674 10

−27

3.095 10

7

1.602 10

−19

1

≈ 0.32341 m

And ﬁnally, to calculate the time it takes, we divide the circumference of the full circle with the velocity:

T =

2πR

v

=

2π 0.32341

3.095 10

7

≈ 6.566 10

−8

s

... or about 66 nanoseconds.

“How much extra time will it take a proton with energy of 5 MeV to go around the cyclotron once compared

to a proton with energy of 10 MeV? For simplicity, you may ignore relativistic eﬀects.”

If we do the above calculation again but for 10 MeV, we ﬁnd the exact same result. The reason can be

shown with a bit of algebra:

T =

2πR

v

=

2π

mv

qB

v

=

2πm

qB

The velocity cancels. Physically, this is clearly because as the velocity of the particle increases (and as

such the time per loop would go down), the radius goes up by the same factor, so the velocity terms cancel

each other out. This only holds true as long as we ignore relativistic eﬀects, however. With relativity

taken into account, the time taken is

T =

2πm

qB

γ

Keep in mind, however, that we need to switch the direction of the electric ﬁelds, every time the particle

moves around half the circle! Therefore, the switching needs to be done roughly every 33 nanoseconds in

this case, or at ≈ 30 MHz, since

f =

1

T

=

1

33 10

−9

≈ 30.3 10

6

Hz

Also, since the time per loop depends on γ, at relativistic speeds we need to adjust the switching frequency

as the particle is gaining speed. Such a device is called a synchrocyclotron, so named as it synchronizes

the switching.

Modern particle accelerators are rings, i.e they have a constant radius. Since the particles need to take

essentially the same narrow path both at low and at high energies, the magnetic ﬁeld is gradually increased

as the particles are accelerated (by the electric ﬁelds).

Modern accelerators, as used for cutting-edge physics research (as opposed to e.g. medical use, which use

relatively small accelerators) are emph extremely big. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland

is so large that it indeed crosses the border to France: its circumference is 27 kilometers! The LHC accel-

erates protons to energies as high as 7 TeV - 7 10

12

eV. While that is just under 1 µJ of energy, which

sounds tiny, keep the proton’s incredibly tiny size in mind. The energy is enough to make them move at

99.9999991% the speed of light, or about 3 m/s slower than the speed of light!

The LHC accelerates “bunches” of protons, with one set going clockwise and the other counter-clockwise;

they are then made to collide with each other - thus the name Large Hadron Collider. (A hadron is a

particle made up of quarks, such as protons.)

Via E = mc

2

, and thus m =

E

c

2

, the extreme kinetic energies of these particles is converted to other

particles, some of which are of greater (rest) mass than the protons that supplied the energy. Because of

this equivalency, particle physicists often use eV/c

2

as their preferred unit of mass, rather than the unwieldy

kilogram. In such units, an electron has a rest mass of 511

keV

c

2

. That is, if an electron is converted to

44

pure energy, the amount of energy would be 511 keV, or about 8.19 10

−14

J. Protons have a rest mass of

≈ 938

MeV

c

2

, or about 1.5 10

−10

J in terms of energy equivalence.

5.1.4 Cloud chambers and bubble chambers

Now that we have high energy particles, how can we see the results of their movement and their collisions?

There are many techniques these days, most of which are electronic in nature, but there are very simple

solutions to this problem, as well. Cloud chambers were the ﬁrst such solution; cloud chambers are in

fact responsible for the discovery of the position (anti-electron), muon and kaon particles, in the 1930-1940s.

We can make the “tracks” of charged particles visible using a cloud chamber. When a charged particle

moves through air, it creates ions in its path, until it ﬁnally loses all of its kinetic energy and comes to a

halt.

A 10 MeV electron can travel about 40 meters in air; a 10 MeV proton just one meter. A 10 MeV al-

pha particle would only travel about 10 cm. (An alpha particle is a helium-4 nuclei: 2 protons, 2 neutrons.)

A cloud chamber consists of a layer of alcohol, cooled from the underside by dry ice (solid carbon dioxide).

This causes a temperature gradient through the alcohol, and there will be a layer where the alcohol is su-

percooled/undercooled: that is, the alcohol vapor is cold enough that it ought to be liquid, but something

is needed to trigger the phase change.

The same behavior can be seen with water, going from liquid to solid: if you cool water in an extremely

smooth container, you may be able to get the water to a sub-zero temperature without turning into ice.

All that’s needed for it to turn solid almost instantly (a second or so for a bottle of water) is a trigger.

Digressing further, water can also be super-heated, e.g. in a microwave, also in a smooth container: it

can then turn from a non-boiling liquid to boiling/vapor when you insert a spoon or such, and explode in

your face, causing severe burns. This can mostly be prevented by inserting a non-metal object (a wooden

spoon or such) into the liquid before microwaving.

Back to the cloud chamber. Due to this supercooled state, all that’s required for the vapor to condense is

a trigger. A charged particle which creates an ion trail is enough, and so ﬁring charged particles into this

vapor will leave a trail of condensed alcohol vapor where the particle has travelled.

When the particles move though this vapor, they will gradually lose speed. If we have a constant magnetic

ﬁeld throughout the cloud chamber, particles will move in a spiral shape: as they lose energy, the radius

of their “circle” due to the magnetic force will become smaller and smaller constantly, and so that makes

a spiral where they end up in the middle of the spiral.

As mentioned previously, the position was discovered using a cloud chamber. Carl D. Anderson discovered

in it 1932, by observing a particle that had an electron’s mass, and the correct magnitude of charge -

but the wrong sign. The particle curved in the opposite way an electron would, given the magnetic ﬁeld

conﬁguration he had.

Bubble chambers are similar to cloud chambers, but in a way they are the opposite. In a bubble chamber,

there is liquid hydrogen, which is hot enough that it should really be in the form of gas. The charged

particles then act as seeds for the gas bubbles, such that the particles leave a trail of bubbles where they

have moved.

Over 30 new particles were discovered between 1958 and 1968, thanks to particle accelerators, cloud

chambers and bubble chambers, in the growing ﬁeld of nuclear physics.

45

5.2 Biot-Savart Law

Let’s now go back to magnetism, and more speciﬁcally, magnetic ﬁelds due to moving charges (current

in a wire). If we have a current going in an upwards direction though an inﬁnite wire, we know (from

experiments) that the magnetic ﬁeld is shaped like concentric circles around the wire, with the direction

given by the right-hand rule: curl your ﬁngers, and then point your thumb in the direction of the current.

The four remaining ﬁngers are now curled in the direction of the magnetic ﬁeld.

Also given by experiment, is that for a current I going through a wire, the magnetic ﬁeld B is proportional

to the current, and inversely proportional to the distance from the wire:

B ∝

I

R

We’ve seen before that for an inﬁnite wire of uniform electric charge, the electric ﬁeld falls oﬀ as

1

r

. The

direction of the electric ﬁeld diﬀers from the magnetic ﬁeld created by a current, but that is irrelevant for

making this point.

The electric ﬁeld of electric monopoles, i.e individual charges, falls of as

1

r

2

, so when we integrate them

over a wire, the result is the

1

r

falloﬀ.

This suggests, then, that if we had a set of magnetic monopoles on the wire, that the ﬁeld due to each

one would also fall oﬀ as

1

r

2

. However, magnetic monopoles don’t appear to exist - one has never been

experimentally discovered.

However, it also suggests that if we were to carve this wire, where the total magnetic ﬁeld falls oﬀ as

1

r

, into

tiny segments

d, that each element would contribute a small amount that is indeed inversely proportional

to the square of the distance.

The contribution

dB due to a such a small segment

d is, where ˆ r is the unit vector in the direction of the

point where we measure, is given by

dB =

CI

r

2

(

d ˆ r)

... where C is a constant, which we write as

C =

µ

0

4π

... where µ

0

is called the magnetic constant, previously known as the permeability of free space.

We’ve seen before that in Coulomb’s law, electric ﬁelds are proportional to some constant as well:

Coulomb’s constant, given by

1

4π

0

, where

0

is called the permittivity of free space (or, more recently, the

electric constant).

The small element

dB can also be written in terms of the displacement vector r instead of the unit vector

ˆ r. In that case, because ˆ r =

r

[r[

, we multiply both top and bottom by the magnitude, and get

dB =

CI

r

3

(

d r)

Integrating over the entire wire, and using C =

µ

0

4π

, the total magnetic ﬁeld is given by

B =

µ

0

4π

_

I

d r

r

3

46

Using this equation, we can calculate the magnetic ﬁeld exactly in the center of a circular current loop.

For simplicity, we center the loop in the coordinate system.

“A current of 100 A runs through a circular loop of radius 0.1 m. What is the magnitude of the magnetic

ﬁeld right at the center of the circle?”

Let’s look at the integral.

d and ˆ r will always be exactly perpendicular for a circle, since the point we’re

interested in is in the middle of the circle. The magnitude of the cross product is

[A B[ = [A[[B[sinθ

... where we’ve just established that θ will always be 90 degrees, so we can get rid of the vectors, and get

a regular single integral.

[

B[ =

_

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

(

d ˆ r) =

µ

0

4π

I

_

1

r

2

d

A small element d along the circle is given by rdθ (via arc length), so

[

B[ =

µ

0

4π

I

_

1

r

2

d =

µ

0

4π

I

_

2π

0

1

r

dθ =

µ

0

4π

I

2π

r

Simpliﬁed, and with values, we get

[

B[ =

µ

0

I

2r

=

10

−7

4π 100

2 0.1

≈ 6.28319 10

−4

T

Alternatively, we could make this even easier by realizing that the integral does nothing except ﬁnd the

circumference of a circle given its radius, so we can jump ahead:

[

B[ =

_

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

(

d ˆ r) =

µ

0

4π

I

_

1

r

2

d =

µ

0

4πr

2

I2πr =

µ

0

I

2r

Power transfer and power loss

Say we have a power line - a very, very long cable - with ends A and B, A being to the left. We deﬁne

the potential at A as V

A

, and the potential at B as V

B

; there is then also a return current wire, where we

deﬁne V = 0 at the leftmost side. (We won’t calculate losses in the return cable.)

On the right side, at B, we hook up things we want to power oﬀ the electricity grid, such as computers,

fridges, and whatnot.

The cable will have a nonzero resistance, and so there will be a voltage drop over it, given by V

A

−V

B

= IR,

via Ohm’s law. The potential at B will then be

V

B

= V

A

−IR

The power extracted at B is the voltage “at” that point (with respect to ground) times the current, so

P = V

B

I. This power is, via conservation of energy you could say, the power provided by the power

station, minus the resistive losses on the way there:

V

B

I = V

A

I −I

2

R

Since the I

2

R loss means energy is wasted at heat in the cable, which is clearly a waste of energy (and

money), we want to minimize that term. What can we do?

Well, we could reduce R, by making the cable thick - which is expensive. Or we can make it out of

materials that are more conductive than the copper that is most often used - even more expensive. Or we

could use superconducting cable, which requires cooling by liquid nitrogen or even colder temperatures -

47

more expensive yet again.

Let’s calculate an example:

“Calculate the power loss in a transmission line in an aluminum cable (resistivity= ρ = 2.8 10

−8

Ωm) of

length L = 200 km and cross sectional area A = 10cm

2

when V

B

is 100 V and when V

B

= 10

5

V. Assume

we are consuming 1 MW.”

The wire’s resistance is given by

R =

ρ

A

where is the length in meters and A the cross-sectional area in square meters, here 10cm

2

= 0.001m

2

.

Thus R ≈ 5.6Ω.

We are consuming 1 MW, and V

B

= 100, so I =

10

6

100

= 10

4

amperes. I

2

R is then 5.6 10

8

watts, or 560

times greater than the power we are consuming!!

If V

B

= 10

5

V instead, I = 10 amperes, so I

2

R is 5.6 10

2

= 560 watts, which is just 0.056% of the power

we are consuming.

Note that the power delivered V

B

I is exactly the same; we have only changes the current-to-voltage ratio

drastically.

Clearly, what we want to do is to make the potential as high as possible, to minimize resistive losses. What

limits us? Well, for one, corona discharge. If the potential at the surface of our cables in higher than ≈ 3

MV/m, there will be corona discharge to the air surrounding the cables, which will be a big power drain.

5.3 Ampere’s law

For a current I going “into the page”, the magnetic ﬁeld B formed will be everywhere tangential to

concentric circles around the wire. The magnitude is given by

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

Note that while this looks similar, except for the π, to the result we got in a Biot-Savart law calculation

earlier, they were diﬀerent calculations: that one was for the magnetic ﬁeld inside a circular current loop,

while this is the magnetic ﬁeld for a straight wire.

This result is also found by integrating over the closed circle:

_

B

d

Note that this

d is NOT the same as the one for the Biot-Savart law!!!

In that case,

d refers to an inﬁnitesimal wire segment, of the current-carrying wire.

In this case, for Ampere’s law, is a tiny movement along a magnetic ﬁeld line surrounding the wire.

Because

B and

d are always parallel, the result of the integral is simply B (which we see as a constant)

times the distance around the circle, i.e. the circumference, so

_

B

d = B2πr

From the ﬁrst equation, we can see that B2πr = µ

0

I, so the radius doesn’t matter. Therefore,

_

B

d = µ

0

I

enclosed

48

which is known as Ampere’s law. (This version of the law is incomplete, and will be amended twice later

in the course; once for a “displacement current” term, and once to take care of magnetic permeability, as

µ

0

only holds for the classical vacuum.)

This law not only holds irrespective of the radius, but also irrespective of the shape. Any closed shape

you can draw around a current will result in the law being true.

With Ampere’s law, we can use the right-hand rule yet again. If we go around a surface’s edge clockwise,

and a current is ﬂowing into the surface, we consider that current to be positive, while a current that ﬂows

out of the surface would be negative.

Let’s do an example. We have a wire with radius R, with a current I coming towards us. We assume that

the current density is uniform throughout the wire.

We choose a Amperean circle around the wire, ﬁrst with r > R so that in encloses the entire wire.

We know that

_

B

d = µ

0

I

Because of the symmetry of the problem, the dot product will have the same value for all

d, and the two

vectors are also always parallel, so we integrate

d and get 2πr instead. We then have

B2πr = µ

0

I

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

... which is the same result we saw earlier with Biot-Savart’s law.

As for direction, we use the right-hand rule: the right thumb points along with the current, towards us,

and the remaining ﬁngers would then curl in a counter-clockwise direction.

Let’s do the same calculation for r < R, so inside the wire. The same symmetry arguments still hold; the

diﬀerence here is in the enclosed current, which is now dependent on little r as well. Since the current

density is uniform, the ratio of the areas will give us the answer:

I

enclosed

= I

πr

2

πR

2

= I

r

2

R

2

Thus, our equation is

B2πr = µ

0

I

r

2

R

2

B =

µ

0

Ir

R

2

2π

The direction has of course not changed. Also, note that as r = R, i.e. on the surface of the conductor,

the two equations give the same result.

5.3.1 The magnetic ﬁeld of a solenoid

A solenoid is a long conductor, wound up into a helix. That is, it looks like a cylinder, where the cylinder’s

side are made up by loops of this wire.

We can use Ampere’s law to calculate the magnetic ﬁeld inside a solenoid - that is, in the center of this

cylinder-ish shape.

49

When we have many loops, the magnetic ﬁeld outside the solenoid will be almost zero, while the magnetic

ﬁeld inside will be almost constant throughout the solenoid.

The shape of the magnetic ﬁeld is inﬁnitely much better described in video than in text. Even images

don’t quite suﬃce, so I’ll refer to the lecture video instead. (8.02 lecture 15.)

To calculate the magnetic ﬁeld strength inside, we choose an Amperean rectangle as shown. It is (of

course) made up of four diﬀerent lines. For line 2, the magnetic ﬁeld is approximately zero, since it is

outside the solenoid, so we discard that part.

Lines 1 and 3 are perpendicular to the magnetic ﬁeld, so

B

d will be zero for them.

Therefore, only line 4 makes a useful contribution, and since we’ve assumed that the magnetic ﬁeld will

be constant inside, the integral is simply B.

We then need to calculate the current that penetrates the surface deﬁned by our rectangle, to use on the

right side of the Ampere’s law equation.

If we deﬁne N as the number of loops in the solenoid, over its length L, then the number of loops through

the surface is

N

L

and so the current is I times that.

We can now set up our Ampere’s law equation:

B = µ

0

I = µ

0

N

L

I

The little ’s cancel, and we get

B =

µ

0

IN

L

This approximation comes close to the true value, as long as L ¸R, where R is the radius of the loops of

the solenoid.

With an exaggerated example, we can show intuitively that the magnetic ﬁeld strength is propertional not

to the number of loops total, but the number of loops per unit length.

Imagine an extremely long solenoid - 100+ meters long. Each loop has a magnetic ﬁeld that is approxi-

mately like a dipole ﬁeld - which as we know fall oﬀ quite rapidly at a distance. Therefore, the magnetic

ﬁeld near one end of the solenoid has a near-zero contribution from loops near the other side, and so only

relatively nearby loops matter.

If, on the other hand, we have hundreds of loops within an extremely small length, then the total magnetic

ﬁeld will be almost the same as if we had one loop with N times the current through it, and so with many

loops per unit length, the magnetic ﬁeld is very strong.

50

Chapter 6

Week 6

6.1 Electromagnetic induction

We have previously looked at how moving electric charges (currents) create magnetic ﬁelds. Now, we’ll

look at how magnetic ﬁeld can create electric ﬁelds, and thus currents in conductors.

Unlike the case for electric → magnetic ﬁelds, where a steady current creates a steady magnetic ﬁeld (via

Biot-Savart and Ampere’s laws), a steady magnetic ﬁeld does not produce a steady current. In fact, a

static magnetic ﬁeld creates no current at all; only a changing magnetic ﬁeld does.

The phenomenon where a changing magnetic ﬁeld causes - or induces - a current, is known as electromag-

netic induction. It was discovered by Michael Faraday, who did experiments to ﬁnd out whether, indeed,

constant magnetic ﬁelds cause constant currents.

One experiment he did involved a battery, a solenoid, a switch, and a separate loop with a current meter

in series.

He Usedt he ﬁrst three components to create a roughly constant magnetic ﬁeld, inside the solenoid. He

then wound a loop of wire around the solenoid, and connected that to a current meter. If the hypothesis

was correct, he would have seen a steady current in the current meter whenever the solenoid was powered.

That was not what happened; indeed, there was no current at all.

However, he later noticed a current spike in the current meter while he was ﬂipping the switch to the

solenoid, whether he powered it on or oﬀ, the direction of the current being dependent on which. He

concluded that a changing magnetic ﬁeld induces a current.

This principle is extremely important for the modern world, as it is the basis of most of our current

power-generation: wind power, hydropower and nuclear power all depend on Faraday’s law, as they all

make turbines spin inside magnetic ﬁelds to produce power.

6.1.1 Lenz’s law

Say we have a simple loop, i.e. a wire bent into a rectangle, a circle or such a shape. We move a bar magnet

downwards into the loop, with the magnet’s north pole ﬁrst. The magnetic ﬁeld of the bar magnetic will

point downwards, into the loop, and will be increasing as we move in closer.

There will be a induced current in the loop, such that the current’s magnetic ﬁeld opposes the magnetic

ﬁeld of the bar magnet. Via the right-hand rule, if the current’s magnetic ﬁeld is ﬁeld pointing upwards,

the current is ﬂowing counterclockwise as seen from above.

If we pull the bar magnet upwards, the external (the bar magnet’s) B ﬁeld will be going down in the loop,

and so the current will be in the opposite direction.

The fact that the current’s ﬁeld will always oppose the external ﬁeld change is known as Lenz’s law. It

states nothing more than the current’s direction - to calculate the current’s magnitude, we must use Fara-

day’s law, soon to be introduced.

51

Clearly, a current cannot just come about on its own - a current is usually driven by a source, that produces

a potential diﬀerence over e.g. a wire. In this case, it is an induced EMF due to the changing magnetic

ﬁeld, which can be written as

E

ind

= I

ind

R

... which is of course just Ohm’s law. R is this case, then, is the total resistance of the entire loop where

the current ﬂows.

In another experiment by Faraday, he had a current loop connected to a battery, that created a magnetic

ﬁeld. He switched the current, such that the magnetic ﬁeld was changing (since, as we now know, a static

magnetic ﬁeld produces no EMF).

He then had a second loop, with no battery, independent from the ﬁrst, but located nearby, such that the

changing magnetic ﬁeld aﬀects the second loop.

What he found was that the induced EMF in loop number two was proportional to the change in the

magnetic ﬁeld from the ﬁrst,

E

2

∝

dB

1

dt

... and also that it was proportional to the area of the second loop. This gave him the idea that perhaps

the EMF is proportional to the change in magnetic ﬂux through the surface of the loop.

6.1.2 Magnetic ﬂux

Magnetic ﬂux is deﬁned in the same way as electric ﬂux, except of course that the dot product is between

the magnetic ﬁeld and an area vector.

That is, for an open surface A, and a magnetic ﬁeld B, we integrate the dot product of all inﬁnitesimal

area vectors

dA on the surface with the local magnetic ﬁeld at that point. This gives us the magnetic ﬂux

φ

B

(or Φ

B

- the Greek letters being lowercase and uppercase phi, respectively):

Φ

B

=

_

B

dA

This integral is done over the open surface where we want to know the ﬂux.

The SI unit of magnetic ﬂux is the weber (Wb); 1 Wb = 1 T m

2

.

When the B-ﬁeld is constant and through a planar surface, this simpliﬁes down to

Φ

B

= BAcos θ

... where θ is the angle between the magnetic ﬁeld and the unit normal perpendicular to the surface.

For electric ﬂux, we have Gauss’s law, which relates the ﬂux through a closed surface to the amount of

charge inside:

Φ

E

=

_

E

dA =

Q

encl

0

If we enclose a single electric charge (an electric monopole), whether positive or negative, the ﬂux is always

nonzero.

If we enclose an electric dipole, such that we enclose the entire dipole, the ﬂux will be zero. However, if

we choose the closed surface such that in encloses only part of the dipole, the ﬂux will again be nonzero.

The electric ﬁeld lines always begin at the positive charge(s) and end on the negative charge(s).

52

In contrast, in magnetism, we have (as stated previously) never witnessed a magnetic monopole. Magnetic

ﬁeld lines are continuous, and do not “end” at any of the poles. Therefore, wherever in space you choose a

closed surface, exactly the same ﬂux that enters the surface will leave it, with no known exception. There

can be no exceptions without magnetic monopoles.

Thus, unlike in the electric dipole situation, the magnetic ﬂux through a closed surface is ALWAYS zero.

This result is usually called “Gauss’s law for magnetism”:

_

B

dA = 0

Until the day where magnetic monopoles exist, that will remain one of the laws of physics, and is one of

Maxwell’s four equations. (They consist of Gauss’s two laws, Ampere’s law, and Faraday’s law.)

We will now introduce the last of the four equations: Faraday’s law of induction.

6.1.3 Faraday’s law

Faraday’s law, or Faraday’s law of induction, relates this changing magnetic ﬂux to the induced EMF:

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

The minus sign signiﬁes Lenz’s law, that the induced current (and thus the induced EMF) will always

oppose the change in the magnetic ﬂux. However, if we know Lenz’s law, we should never need to feel

confused by the direction of the EMF.

Since we know the ﬂux to be given by the above surface integral, we can also state the EMF as

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

= −

d

dt

_

B

dA

Since a current ﬂows in the wire, there must be an electric ﬁeld inside the wire as well. We know, then,

that the EMF must also equal the dot product of the electric ﬁeld and the inﬁnitesimal

d integrated over

the closed loop:

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

= −

d

dt

_

B

dA =

_

E

d

There is a convention regarding the direction of the area vector

dA that we choose. The open surface

attached to the loop is one chosen by us, so we follow the convention of the right-hand rule here as well.

The surface chosen does not have to be ﬂat in the plane of the conducting loop; it can be any shape, for

example like an open bag. The result will be the same. This can be intuitively explained if we consider

the ﬂux as a ﬂow of air or water through the loop. If it comes into the opening of the loop, it must come

out through that surface, no matter its shape or size.

If we have a circular loop (for simplicity - it does not have to be any shape whatsoever, as long as it

connects back so a current can ﬂow) in the plane of this page, and we march clockwise around it, then

dA

will be into the page. If we march counterclockwise,

dA will point out of the page.

At this point in the lecture, the professor does an experiment, similar to the one Faraday did. He wraps

a wire, connected to nothing but an ammeter, one time around a solenoid.

If we then visualize that we attach a surface to the loop around the solenoid, the changing magnetic ﬁeld

inside the solenoid will penetrate that surface, so there is magnetic ﬂux through our surface. Furthermore,

because we are turning the solenoid oﬀ and on, the ﬂux is changing, and so there is an induced EMF (and

thus current) in the loop we’ve wound around it.

53

If we increase the size of this loop, by increasing the length of wire, nothing changes. Why not? Well, the

area is larger, but the area where the magnetic ﬂux penetrates the surface is the same: the magnetic ﬁeld

outside the solenoid is roughly zero, as we saw last week.

Therefore, if we imagine an open surface formed between the edges of the wire, the part that is inside

the solenoid is exactly the same and is dictated by the size of the solenoid only. The parts that are out-

side the solenoid are in the region where B ≈ 0 and so they don’t matter;

B

dA will be zero in that region.

However, there is one way we can increase the area that the ﬂux penetrates: wrap the wire around the

solenoid multiple times. While it’s very, very hard to intuitively visualize such a surface, the wire is essen-

tially shaped like a helix, and so there will be a surface that is curled around the center point. The main

point to realize is that with three loops, the surface area of the surface will be three times greater.

Unlike before, however, the ﬂux will now penetrate this entire surface, so the ﬂux will be three times

graeter. Therefore the time derivative of the ﬂux - the magnitude of the EMF (ignoring the minus sign) -

will be three times greater!

Therefore, the EMF is proportional to the number of loops N around the solenoid. We can make this N

however large we wish - a thousand loops is no problem at all. This is how transformers work: the higher

the loop count, the higher the EMF.

6.1.4 The breakdown of intuition

Now comes the hard (to accept) part of this all. We’ve previously used Kirchhoﬀ’s voltage law (or rule),

KVL, which states that

_

E

d = 0

Or, in words, that the closed loop integral of the electric ﬁeld in a closed loop is zero. That is, when you

walk around ANY closed loop in an electric circuit - you start at one point, walk around the circuit and

add all voltage drops - the sum will always be zero.

Well, that is NOT TRUE where there are changing magnetic ﬁelds involved! The integral is not zero any

more; in fact, we’ve already showed above that it is equal to the (negative of the) induced EMF, which is

certainly nonzero!

Because the electric ﬁelds are now non-conservative, and Kirchoﬀ’s rule is only valid for conservative ﬁelds,

the path we choose now matters. Previously, the voltage sum was independent of the path.

Say we have a circuit as above. The battery has an EMF of E = 1 volt. The circuit element the right

labeled V is a voltmeter.

Via very basic circuit analysis, we see that the current through the circuit is

I =

E

R

1

+ R

2

= 10

−3

A

54

The voltmeter will thus display the voltage drop across R

2

, which is IR

2

, which then is V

D

− V

A

as the

points are labelled:

V

D

−V

A

= IR

2

= 10

−3

900 = +0.9 V

If we instead look at the left side - imagine an identical voltmeter there, also attacked to point D (positive

side) and point A (negative side). Clearly, the voltmeter will read the same voltage - they are connected

at the same points.

We can think of this voltmeter measuring the drop across R

2

as well, or we can think of it measuring the

sum of the voltage drops across R

1

and the battery. The points are still V

D

and V

A

, so:

V

D

−V

A

= −IR

1

+E = −(10

−3

100) + 1 = +0.9 V

Thus, if we subtract the two equations,

(V

D

−V

A

) −(V

D

−V

A

) = V

D

−V

D

= 0

The voltage drop between V

D

and V

D

is zero, as we expect. Kirchoﬀ’s law says it must be.

We now remove the battery from the circuit, and instead insert a solenoid into the middle of the current

loop.

The above is now our circuit, with the second voltmeter also visible.

The magnetic ﬁeld from the solenoid is coming out of the blackboard, with the shaded area being the area

where the magnetic ﬂux penetrates the surface of our current loop. The rest of the surface will only be

exposed to the near-zero magnetic ﬁeld outside the solenoid.

The EMF will now be a function of time, as it is given by (the negative of) the rate of charge of the

magnetic ﬂux.

Supposed that at one instant in time, the EMF is E = 1 volt, same as we had before.

However, last time, we had a battery! The battery had, by deﬁnition, a 1 volt drop over it. That is now

gone! We get our EMF from the solenoid, now. So let’s do the circuit analysis.

What is the current? Well, the magnetic ﬂux is coming out of the blackboard, and via Lenz’s law, the

current will ﬂow such that the current’s magnetic ﬁeld opposes that, i.e. is going into the blackboard.

That means the current will be clockwise, same as before.

If we then calculate V

D

−V

A

on the right, we get the same result as before:

V

D

−V

A

= IR

2

= 10

−3

900 = +0.9 V (right side)

55

What about the left side? Well, the battery is now gone, so the result is the same as before, minus the

plus one:

V

D

−V

A

= −IR

1

= −(10

−3

100) = −0.91 V (left side)

V

D

−V

A

has two diﬀerent values, depending on which path we choose to measure it! The two

voltmeter are connected to the same points, but show diﬀerent values! Extremely nonintuitive.

This also means, then, that Kirchoﬀ’s voltage “law” has been broken: the sum around the loop is not zero!

V

D

−V

A

= +0.9 V (right side)

V

D

−V

A

= −0.1 V (left side)

(V

D

−V

A

) −(V

D

−V

A

) = V

D

−V

D

= +1 V

Note that this is all at one instant in time; the result is not because the values somehow changed during

the calculation. It’s just an extremely nonintuitive result that can be very hard to accept as being correct.

6.2 Motional EMF and dynamos

We have seen now that the induced EMF is related to the change in magnetic ﬂux through a surface.

Suppose that we have a rectangular current loop of sides x and y. We assign the area vector inﬁnitesimal

**dA to it, such that
**

dA points upwards.

We then have a uniform magnetic ﬁeld

B pointing upwards, but at an angle towards the right.

The angle between

dA and

B is θ.

The ﬂux through the surface is then given by BAcos θ. A = xy, so

Φ

B

= xyBcos θ

The induced EMF is then given by the time derivative of this expression. However, note that there are

three things which can change over time: the magnetic ﬁeld, so we have

dB

dt

; the area, so we have

dA

dt

,

and the angle between them θ, so we have

dθ

dt

. That is, if θ is changing, we are rotating the conducting

loop inside the uniform magnetic ﬁeld.

Consider rotating this about the y axis, centered on the loop. We rotate it with angular frequency ω,

which is given by 2π divided by the period T:

ω =

2π

T

= 2πf

... which is, as above, equal to 2π times the rotational frequency in hertz.

(The unit of ω is given as radians per second, rad/s; however radians are dimensionless, and so it is really

equivalent to hertz, s

−1

; to not confuse values of angular frequency with frequency, we consider the latter

to be in radians/second.)

The angle θ will then become θ

0

+ωt, where θ

0

is the angle at t = 0. We can choose that to be 0, so that

θ = ωt. Thus, we have

Φ

B

= ABcos ωt

The EMF is given by the negative of the derivative of that, so

dΦ

B

dt

= ABω(−sin ωt)

56

The EMF is the negative of the above, so the minus sign from the cosine derivative cancels:

E(t) = ABω sin ωt

Keep in mind that A is the total surface area the ﬂux penetrates! If you have a loop of N > 1 windings

in a shape of area A, the EMF is given by

E(t) = NA

one

Bω sin ωt

... with A

one

being the area of one winding.

The current in the loop will then also be time dependent, and it will alternate in the sinusoidal fashion

seen above; this makes it alternating current, the same stuﬀ that comes out of your wall.

The reason AC is used there will be touched upon later in the course; one big reason is that transformers

can be used to convert AC voltages up to the high voltages in power lines, to avoid losses, and then back

down to the approximately 100 to 250 volts used in homes around the world.

Another is that power generated by generators/turbines/dynamos is sinusoidal by its nature, see below.

Let’s talk about about generators, turbines or dynamos - whatever you prefer. If we have permanent

magnet, and we rotate conducting windings inside that magnetic ﬁeld, we get an EMF as seen above. This

is the process used for most of our power generation - wind power, hydropower and indeed nuclear power

all drive turbines to generate electricity.

The stronger the magnetic ﬁeld, the higher the EMF. The more windings, the higher the EMF. The larger

the area, the higher the EMF. And lastly, the faster you rotate it, the higher the EMF.

The last point is useless for the power grid, however: the power grid has a ﬁxed frequency, usually of 50

Hz (in Europe, Africa, Australia and most of the world) or 60 Hz (in the US and Americas, though not

all of it).

If we were to increase ω, then, not only would the EMF increase, but the power would be out of sync with

the rest of the power grid, which would cause big problems.

One of the relatively smaller such problems is that many devices - some clocks, for example - use the line

frequency to keep track of time. Thus, a clock designed for 50 Hz may go 20% too fast if the line frequency

in 60 Hz. (Or it may not, depending on how it keeps time.)

Because power is given by P = V I =

V

2

R

= I

2

R, and both V and I alone increase linearly with ω, the

power increases (or decreases) with ω

2

as we change it.

6.2.1 Changing the area

We have now looked at changing the magnetic ﬁeld and changing θ. What about changing the area of the

loop, such that the ﬂux through it changes that way?

Imagine we have a rectangular loop of sides x and . The right side, of length , is a crossbar; we can move

it towards the left and right, such that x changes with time. We then have a velocity vector v towards the

right (or left, when it is negative). Say we have a uniform magnetic ﬁeld

B going upwards.

The ﬂux through the surface is then

Φ

B

= xB

We then take the time derivative of this, where x is the variable that changes with time, while and B

are constant:

57

dΦ

B

dt

= B

dx

dt

However,

dx

dt

is simply the speed (or velocity, if we attach a direction of +ˆ x to it) of the crossbar. The

EMF is then, via Faraday’s law:

[E[ = B[v[

“The resistance of the conducting loop is R. What is the power dissipated by the circuit?”

Power is P =

V

2

R

, where V = E for this case. We found E above, so the answer is

E

2

R

=

2

B

2

v

2

R

“What is the magnitude of the force experienced by the moving part of the loop?”

We found before that the force on a current-carrying wire can be found via

F

B

=

_

wire

I(

d

B)

Since

d and

B are exactly perpendicular in this problem, the integral simpliﬁes down to

F

B

= IB

... where is the length of the wire segment.

I =

E

R

=

vB

R

We substitute that into the force equation and get another and B, so the answer is

F

B

=

2

vB

2

R

The direction of this force is to the left:

d

B gives the direction, where

d is an inﬁnitesimal wire

segment the current moves through. That vector is “upwards” (+ˆ y, in our 2D plane), and the B-ﬁeld is

perpendicular to that, upwards “in 3D” (+ˆ z).

“How much power is needed to keep the bar moving at constant velocity?”

Power is work per unit time, so the time derivative of work should give us the answer. We know the

magetic force, which is to the left. So we need to exert a force towards the right, of equal magnitude. The

work we do is then that force (that we have above) times the distance. We then need to take the time

derivative of that.

However, we already have the time derivative of the displacement - the velocity. So

P =

F

B

v

Since they are in exactly opposite directions, cos θ = 1, so the answer is the answer for the force above,

times another v:

P =

2

v

2

B

2

R

58

... which happens to exactly the same as the power dissipated by the circuit! Of course, unless we ﬁnd

somewhere else the power could be used, this is to be expected; energy can’t be created nor destroyed.

The power we put in must go somewhere.

We can also write this in terms of I instead:

P = IBv

This must be equal to the EMF times the current; the current then cancels from the equation, and we get

[E[ = Bv

... which is what we found earlier, however this time we did not use Faraday’s law to ﬁnd it, merely the

work per unit time we do to move the crossbar against the magnetic force.

Also, note that if instead of pulling towards the right, we push the crossbar towards the left. We still do

exactly the same amount of work - positive work in both cases. When v is ﬂipped over, the magnetic force

is also ﬂipped over, because the current reverses direction as the magnetic ﬂux is now decreasing.

6.2.2 Eddy currents

Let’s now move our focus to something diﬀerent, but related.

Suppose we move a solid, conductive disk through a magnetic ﬁeld. Say we have magnetic ﬁeld pointing

upwards, and we move the disk through it sideways.

We know that the changing magnetic ﬂux through the disk will induce a current to oppose the magnetic

ﬂux change; that is, the current’s magnetic ﬁeld will be downwards, and so via the right-hand rule, the

current will be clockwise.

We call these currents eddy currents.

They produce heat in the conductor; the energy for that must come from somewhere. In this case, energy

that would otherwise be kinetic energy is used up, and so the disk slows down. This is the principle called

magnetic braking.

Eddy current calculation

A fairly hefty question was in between the lecture videos, so I’ll write down how I solved it. If it weren’t

for the multiple-choice answers, this would make a good homework question!

“A rectangular loop of wire with mass m, width w, vertical length , and resistance R falls out of a magnetic

ﬁeld under the inﬂuence of gravity. The magnetic ﬁeld is uniform and out of the paper (

B = Bˆ x) within

the area shown (see sketch) and zero outside of that area. At the time shown in the sketch, the loop is

exiting the magnetic ﬁeld at velocity v(t) = v(t)z, where v(t)<0 (meaning the loop is moving downward,

not upward). Suppose at time t the distance from the top of the loop to the point where the magnetic

ﬁeld goes to zero is z(t) (see sketch).”

59

“What is the direction of the induced current in the loop?”

Right-hand rule, as always. The ﬂux is positive through the loop, but it is decreasing, so the derivative is

negative. Via Lenz’s law, if the ﬂux is decreasing, the current will create an opposing magnetic ﬁeld. If

the ﬁeld lines are out of the page but decreasing, the current’s magnetic ﬁeld will be out of the page as

well, so the current is counterclockwise.

“What is the direction of the I

d

B force in the top horizontal segment of the loop?”

(Note that there is no net force on the other segments, since they are outside the B-ﬁeld, except for parts

of the left/right sides, which cancel.)

Sincet he current is counterclockwise, i.e. towards the left at the top, the cross product direction is left

cross out of the paper, which is upwards. That is, the magnetic force will be breaking the fall.

“What is the EMF generated in the loop?”

We use Faraday’s law. First, what is the ﬂux, and the ﬂux change? The ﬂux is

Φ

B

= wz(t)B

where wz(t) is the area, changing with time. The time derivative of the above is then

dΦ

B

dt

= w

dz

dt

B = wvB

The EMF is the negative of that, but because v is also negative, the signs cancel and we get the answer

E = wvB

“Suppose the bar reaches terminal velocity (no longer accelerating). What will its downward speed be

then?”

Not being well-versed in classical mechanics, I made a bit of a guess here: that when the forces are equal,

the above is true. That gave me the correct answer, at least.

So, I calculated the force due to gravity:

F

g

= mg (since F = ma)

... and the magnetic force, which is in the opposite direction:

F

B

= IwB =

_

E

R

_

wB =

wvB

R

wB =

w

2

vB

2

R

60

Set the two equal, and solve for v:

w

2

vB

2

R

= mg

w

2

vB

2

= mgR

v =

mgR

w

2

B

2

6.3 Displacement currents and synchronous motors

Let’s take another look at Ampere’s law. Say we have a current ﬂowing towards the right, through

a capacitor (with circular plates of radius R, apparently). We know that the electric ﬁeld inside the

capacitor is

E =

σ

free

κ

0

=

Q

free

πR

2

κ

0

The current is, per deﬁnition

I =

dQ

free

dt

We therefore have a changing electric ﬁeld between the plates, while they are being charged, given by

the time derivative of the electric ﬁeld above. Since Q

free

is the only thing changing with time, the time

derivative is simply given by substituting the current for Q

free

:

dE

dt

=

I

πR

2

κ

0

If we now want to calculate the magnetic ﬁeld at a distance r away from the wire, at point P1, what can

we do? We can try Ampere’s law, but keep in mind that there is an interruption in the current due to

the capacitor plates (no current ﬂows in the air/dielectric between them), and Ampere’s law is only truly

valid for inﬁnite wires (and other special cases). Let’s try anyway, just to see what happens.

Ampere’s law, as we know it so far, states that

_

B

d = µ

0

I

pen

We choose an Amperean circle of radius r such that point P1 is part of the circle. We then attach an

open surface to the circle, such that the current penetrates that surface (we choose the circle’s area, so to

speak, as that is the simplest possible choice).

The closed line integral around a circle is simply 2πr. As for I

pen

, that is the current that penetrates the

surface, which in this case is all of it. So we ﬁnd that

61

2πrB = µ

0

I

pen

B =

µ

0

I

pen

2πr

Fair enough. What about at point P2, above the empty space in the capacitor?

Well, we use the same formula, choose an Amperean circle with radius r as before, attach the same open

surface to it... but the current penetrating the surface is now zero, so the result we get is that the magnetic

ﬁeld is zero at point P2!

The choice of the open surface is up to us, so we change our choice of surface to a “bag” that encloses one

capacitor plate:

We re-apply Ampere’s law, to ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁeld at P1 - which we found to be B =

µ

0

I

pen

2πr

previously.

However, as we reach the point where we ﬁnd the current that penetrates the surface, we now see that it

is zero! No current penetrates our surface, it just goes inside it - never through.

We had the free choice of the surface, but diﬀerent choices gave us diﬀerent results!

The reason behind this is that the version of Ampere’s law we’ve learned so far is incomplete. We will

now add a second term that corrects this problem.

6.3.1 The amended Ampere’s law

Maxwell solved this problem. There is a changing electric ﬁeld between the platse, and so there is a

changing magnetic ﬂux through our chosen surface.

He reasoned that since, via Faraday’s law, changing magnetic ﬂux induces elecrtic ﬁelds, perhaps changing

electric ﬂux induces magnetic ﬁelds, as well.

Electric ﬂux works just as magnetic ﬂux (as we mentioned when we introduced magnetic ﬂux)!, so

Φ

E

=

S

E

dA

The “new version” of Ampere’s law then relates the time derivative of that with the magnetic ﬁeld:

_

B

d = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA

_

(This version of Ampere’s law is still incomplete - it will be adjusted in week 8 of the course; however that

adjustment is very small, and only adds one simple term multiplying µ

0

, to take care of the permeability

62

of other media than the classical vacuum.)

The closed loop in the ﬁrst integral is then the Amperean circle, while the surface in the second (surface)

integral is the open surface attached to that closed loop. That is, the closed loop is the opening of the

bag, while the open surface is the bag’s surface.

The current I

pen

is the “real” current that penetrates the surface. The second term,

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA, is

called the displacement current.

Note that whenever the electric ﬂux is constant, the time derivative goes to zero, and the “old” Ampere’s

law pops out.

Let’s try to re-calculate the magnetic ﬁeld at P1, again using both the ﬂat surface and the “bag”. First

out is the ﬂat surface.

The left-hand side of the equation is unchanged, so 2πrB, while the right-hand side turns out like this:

2πrB = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

_

0πr

2

_

_

= µ

0

(I

pen

+ 0)

... because there is no electric ﬂux penetrating the surface - it is outside the capacitor, where the electric

ﬁeld due to the capacitor is zero.

Thus, we ﬁnd

B =

µ

0

I

pen

2πr

Same as before.

We re-start with:

_

B

d = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA

_

The left-hand side is unchanged, as that is the closed Amperean loop, which we are not changing. I

pen

now changes, however: it is again zero - once again, no current penetrates the surface! What about the

second term? Let’s ﬁll it in:

2πrB = µ

0

0

κ

d

dt

_

EπR

2

_

The E-ﬁeld is what is changing with time, so we put that in there (we found

dE

dt

earlier):

2πrB = µ

0

0

κ

dE

dt

πR

2

= µ

0

0

κ

I

πR

2

κ

0

πR

2

Note that the I here is not I

pen

, the current penetrating the surface we’ve chosen, but the current in the

wire. It is not zero!

If we simplify this, we get

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

Excellent! Though we found I in a very diﬀerent way, the answer is identical!

63

Next up, let’s try to calculate the B-ﬁeld inside the capacitor (while it is charging; when it is not, we have

an electrostatic situation and it ought to be zero).

We set a new point P2 at distance r from the exact center of the capacitor (in all dimensions). Since the

choice of surface should not matter, we will make it simple an pick the ﬂat surface again.

2πrB = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA

_

I

pen

is zero, since there is no current inside - only air (or dielectric)! The ﬂux, however, is EA with the area

being πr

2

(little r - the surface is smaller than the plates, so there is no contribution from the remaining

area).

2πrB = µ

0

0

κ

d

dt

_

Eπr

2

_

Again, we know the time derivative of the E-ﬁeld from earlier, so we substitute that in there once again:

2πrB = µ

0

0

κ

I

πR

2

κ

0

πr

2

B =

µ

0

Ir

2πR

2

(for r < R)

Interesting, it is exactly zero in the middle (r = 0), then, and greatest at the edge.

6.3.2 Displacement current

Why did Maxwell call the second term the “displacement current”?

If you have a dielectric between the capacitor plates, the changing electric ﬁelds will cause a current;

the induced charges will be rearranged due to the changing electric ﬁelds. In a vacuum, however, there

shouldn’t be a current, so the name is perhaps somewhat poorly chosen.

“We have a capacitor of area A ﬁlled with a dielectric slab with dielectric constant κ. If Q(t) is a function

of time, what is the polarization current in the dielectric? Express your answer in terms of the magnitude

of the electric ﬁeld E(t) between the plates. Positive polarization current ﬂows down in the picture.”

The picture is then of a simple capacitor, with +Q on the top plate and −Q on the bottom, with the

opposite induced charges Q

ind

on the dielectric (minus up, plus down).

Hmm, OK. E(t) is given by

E(t) =

σ(t)

κ

0

=

Q(t)

κ

0

A

My ﬁrst thought was to solve for Q and take the time derivative of both sides. That didn’t work; I got

something close to the correct answer, yet far away: it had a factor κ instead of (κ − 1), where as we’ll

see, only the latter means no current if κ = 1 (for a perfect vacuum).

Instead, we can solve it like this:

First, we know that the E-ﬁeld in a capacitor in a vacuum is

E

vacuum

(t) =

σ(t)

0

=

Q(t)

0

A

With a dielectric, there will be an induced charge Q

ind

(t) on the dielectric. This induced charge causes an

opposing electric ﬁeld, E

ind

(t), which causes E(t) to equal the original E-ﬁeld divided by κ:

64

E(t) =

E

vacuum

(t)

κ

=

Q(t)

κ

0

A

We can also write the net ﬁeld as the vectorial sum of the original ﬁeld, plus the induced ﬁeld. The latter

is in the opposite direction, so we get a subtraction:

E(t) = E

vacuum

(t) −E

ind

(t) =

Q(t)

0

A

−

Q

ind

(t)

0

A

We can then set the two ways of writing E equal and ﬁnally solve for Q

ind

(t):

Q

ind

(t) =

κ −1

κ

Q(t)

Almost there. We are looking for

dQ

ind

dt

, so we need to calculate the derivative of the above. First, we

solve the E-ﬁeld equation for Q(t), so that we can substitute it in there:

E(t) =

Q(t)

κ

0

A

Q(t) = E(t)κ

0

A

Make the substitution, and simplify:

Q

ind

(t) =

κ −1

κ

E(t)κ

0

A

Q

ind

(t) = (κ −1)

0

AE(t)

And ﬁnally, take the time derivative:

I

polarization

=

dQ

ind

dt

= (κ −1)

0

A

dE

dt

Thanks to H_Litzroth on the 8.02x forums for posting his solution, which the above is heavily based on.

6.3.3 Synchronous motors

Say we have a rotating conducting current loop in a magnetic ﬁeld, like the ﬁrst image here shows:

We then add two more loops, each 120 degrees rotated from the ﬁrst, so that we get the result shown in

the second picture, seen from the side (from the side where the wires enter in the ﬁrst picture). So we

have three loops, electrically isolated but rotating together.

As we’ve seen before, when they rotate, we will get an induced EMF in each loop. Due to their 120 degrees

(1/3 period) separation, we will get three sinusoidal waves, which diﬀer only in their phase - assuming all

loops are identical in composition, area etc.

The EMF as a function of time would look something like this:

65

... with the current from loops 2 and 3 having a phase delay of 120 and 240 degrees from the ﬁrst loop,

respectively.

The period of all three loops will be equal, as they are rotating together.

Now, let’s put that aside for a while, to not cause confusion. We will use the current from that 3-phase

generator, but other than that, what follows is independent of the above setup!

We now take a look at a diﬀerent setup, of three “open” solenoids.

To the left is the professor’s drawing, which I didn’t understand at ﬁrst. The second one, on the right,

is from the same angle - from straight above - and shows a snapshot at three points in time. The ﬁrst

(leftmost) “frame” is when the magnetic ﬁeld due to the red solenoid peaks, and the vectorial sum of the

three magnetic ﬁelds are in the direction of the arrow. (The red one alone is in that direction, and the

vector sum of the blue + yellow are also downwards.)

In the second frame, 1/6 of a period later (60 degrees phase later), the vector sum is now as the arrow

shows strongest due to the blue solenoid; again, the vector sum of the two others sum up and to strengthen

the ﬁeld in this new direcion.

Finally, another sixth of a rotation later, the magnetic ﬁeld now points as the arrow shows.

What we have, then, is a rotating magnetic ﬁeld. The solenoids themselves are perfectly stationary, but the

net B-ﬁeld they generate rotates around in a full circle, once per rotation of the original power generator.

(Once per Hz of the power we are feeding the solenoids.)

Of course, since the current is a set of smooth sinusoids, the magnetic ﬁeld changes gradually throughout

this, and doesn’t just skip between the 6 positions.

If we stick a magnet in the middle of all this, we have a synchronous motor, or a 3-phase motor. The

magnet will want to align with the magnetic ﬁeld at all times, but the magnetic ﬁeld is always rotating,

and so the magnet will rotate at the same frequency - the frequency of the supplied power.

66

If we stick a conductive object inside this ﬁeld, it will want to rotate. Eddy currents are formed, and the

rotating magnetic ﬁeld exerts a torque on the currents, causing the object to rotate. The above picture

shows a rotating, conducting egg as demonstrated in the lecture, using the solenoids drawn above.

If the object is roughly spherical (or egg-shaped), the rotational frequency will be very close to the frequency

of the current (and thus the magnetic ﬁeld).

67

Chapter 7

Week 7

7.1 How do magicians levitate women?

This lecture is mostly about various concepts - the human heart, aurora borealis, and magnetic levitation.

There is little math, but much graphical content, and so it is hard to take very good notes without taking

screenshots once a minute!

7.1.1 The human heart

The human heart has four chambers: on top, the left and right atria (singular: atrium), and below that,

the left and right ventricles.

The aorta is on the left side.

The heart pumps about 4.5 liters of blood per minute. It beats about 70 times per minute (which varies

a lot between people, of course).

If the brain is without new oxygen for about 5-10 seconds, you pass out - after as little as ﬁve missed beats.

After a few minutes, permanent brain damage is very likely. After 5 minutes, it is virtually certain, and

death is likely.

Each heart cell is a small chemical battery. In the normal state, an individual heart cell, about 10 µm in

diameter, has a potential of −80 mV on the inside, with respect to the outside.

A group of pacemaker cells, located in a small area of about 1 square millimeter on the right atrium,

start the process of a heart beat by changing their potential from -80 to +20 mV. Once they do so, the

neighboring cells do the same, and a wave propagates across the entire heart, from the atrium down to

the ventricles.

When the heart cells change their potential (by an exchange of ions), they contract, and so the heart

contracts, one cell after the other, in a wave.

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About 0.2 seconds later, the cells return to their resting potential of -80 mV, in a similar wave, this time

going from the bottom up.

They then wait from a new incoming “wave” from the pacemaker cell, and the process starts over about a

second later.

In the resting state, the cell has repelled positive ions, which makes the inside negatively charged. The

electric ﬁeld outside is zero, since the net charge around the cell is zero.

Here, we see a heart cell in the middle of the depolarization phase, when it changes from -80 mV to +20

millivolts (shown as 0 to simplify), by moving positive ions back inside.

The wave starts from above, and has passed through half the cell at this instant.

In the bottom half, we have a situation with negative charge on top of positive charge, which creates

a dipole-ish electric ﬁeld. When the process is completed, the inside is at +20 mV with respect to the

outside, and there are positive ions on the inside, with the corresponding negative charge, making for a

zero electric ﬁeld.

A while later, the repolarization wave comes in, from below, and the reverse process happens. The bottom

of the cell goes to the -80 mV, gradually changing into having the negative ions inside again, which will

then again create the dipole ﬁeld for a time.

Only the cells that are part of the depolarization wave at a given time - a minority, and most of the time

indeed none of them are - contribute to the dipole ﬁeld. The same is true for the repolarization wave as

well.

Since there is a net electric ﬁeld from the heart, there will be a potential diﬀerence between diﬀerent parts

of your body. Measuring this potential diﬀerence is how an EKG (or ECG - electrocardiogram) works.

Many electrodes - usually 12 - are attached to various body parts. The potential diﬀerence is only on the

order of a few (2-3) millivolts.

There is a condition known as ventricular ﬁbrillation. In the United States, it kills on the order of 400 000

people every year. The basic cause is that the ventricular cells ﬁre without a message from the pacemaker

cells, and so the ﬁre randomly, and theres’s a non-coordinated depolarization, so that the heart stops

pumping any blood.

Clearly, then, this is a medical emergency, since as said earlier, loss of consciousness usually happens

within 10 seconds, and there is risk of permanent brain damage extremely quickly, even after a single

minute without oxygen. After a few minutes, it is almost certain.

One treatment for ventricular ﬁbrillation is the well-known deﬁbrillator - a direct-current electric shock

across the heart, to “reset” the cells and hopefully get back synchronization from the pacemaker cells. The

shock sends a total of roughly 200-350 joules of energy into the heart, over a short period of perhaps a

tenth of a second.

The heart’s pacemaker can also be faulty, which may cause various problems. One treatment for such

a condition is to implant an artiﬁcial pacemaker, which can sense the heart’s condition and take over if

necessary, triggering the depolarization wave.

There are also implantable deﬁbrillators, which can apply small shocks automatically when ﬁbrillation

may have caused death otherwise.

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7.1.2 Aurora borealis

If we have a magnetic ﬁeld, and move charged particle though it, lets say a positive one, we know that the

magnetic force on that particle is given by

F

B

= q(v

B)

We can do vector decomposition to get two vectors: one parallel to

B, and one perpendicular to

B. We

get

F

B

= q( v

⊥

+ v

)

B

However, note that the parallel component v

**makes no diﬀerence for the force - the angle between that
**

and the magnetic ﬁeld is zero (or 180 degrees), so the cross product is zero. We end up with

F

B

= q( v

⊥

B)

Consider, then, a situation with a magnetic ﬁeld towards the right, and a velocity angled upwards (still

in the same plane). The perpendicular component will make the particles go in circles, but the parallel

velocity means it will still keep going “forward” at the same time, so the path is a helix, a bit like a spring.

The radius of the helix will then be given by, as usual (except that only the perpendicular component

matters know)

R =

mv

⊥

qB

Meanwhile, it continues forward at the same parallel velocity, which remains unchanged.

The Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld is not made up by straight ﬁeld lines, however. The ﬁeld is similar to what

you’d expect from a massive bar magnet buried within the Earth, with the magnet’s south pole near the

geographical north pole, and vice versa. (The magnetic poles drift and even shift completely with time,

over very long time periods.)

Thus, when a particle enters, it moves along a helical path around a ﬁeld line, and enters near the one of

the magnetic poles, where the ﬁeld lines terminate. Well, they don’t ever terminate, but they would enter

the Earth’s solid part, where the particle is unlikely to get far (if it ever reaches the surface).

The sun sometimes emits massive amounts of plasma, mostly ionized gas so protons and electrons, called

the solar wind, in coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The scale of these ejections are absolutely mind-

boggling; each “arc” of plasma that breaks oﬀ the sun is many, many times the size of the Earth. I feel an

image is absolutely necessary (image courtesy of NASA):

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In a CME, such a huge lump of plasma can break oﬀ and leave the sun, moving out a a few hundred to

a few thousand kilometers per second, meaning it can reach the Earth in a few days or so. Thus, a few

days after a CME, massive amounts of charged particles can collide with the Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld.

When that happens, it ionizes molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which releases light - the color

of which depends upon which particles are ionized. We call this aurora borealis, also northern lights in the

northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere, it is known as aurora australialis or southern lights.

Quite a stunning display. The second image is taken by the IMAGE satellite, a satellite designed to study

the response of the Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld to changes in the solar wind. (The image of the Earth is added

digitally; that too is taken by a satellite, however, so that too is real.)

The third is from the International Space Station.

The colors can vary; green, white and red are the most common, but blue is another possibility. The color

depends on at what altitude the collisions happen, and also on which molecules are being excited.

7.1.3 Superconductivity and magnetic levitation

Superconductivity is a state of exactly zero electrical resistance, encountered in certain materials at very

low tempereatures. (High-temperature superconductors are under heavy research.)

The resistivity of a superconductor has a discontinuous drop to 0 below its critical temperature T

c

.

Superconductivity was discovered by Dutch phycicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911, and gave him the

Nobel Prize in Physics 1913.

He invented a method for producing liquid helium a few years earlier; helium remains a liquid down to

absolute zero (an unreachable temperature); indeed he got it as cold as 1 kelvin!

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Unfortunately, quantum mechanics is required to fully understand superconductivity. Even then, high-

temperature superconductors (materials that are superconductive above 30 K, previously thought to be

impossible) are not fully understood as of this writing.

High-temperature superconductors were discovered in 1986, and led to the Nobel Prize as soon as in 1987.

Because there are now materials known that are superconducting at up to around 133 K, liquid helium

or other extreme measures are no longer required, and the much more available liquid nitrogen, with a

boiling point of about 77 K (about −196 C) is cold enough.

No electric ﬁeld can exist in a superconductor. If it did, then the electric ﬁeld times a distance in the

conductor could be nonzero, meaning a potential diﬀerence would exist. If there was a potential diﬀerence

V , and I =

V

R

=

V

0

, clearly things don’t work out.

If we approach say a superconducting disk with a bar magnet, Faraday’s law tells us there is a change in

magnetic ﬂux, and thus an induced EMF. But we just said there can be no EMF in a superconductor!

This has a very interesting consequence: we have said that Faraday’s law always holds, so the EMF in the

superconductor must be

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

... but since E must equal zero, so must the change in the magnetic ﬂux!

The magnet will induce eddy currents in such a way that the magnetic ﬂux through the superconductor is

held constant!

The net magnetic ﬁeld - the superposition of the ﬁelds due to the bar magnet and due to the eddy currents

- will look like so:

There will be a magnetic pressure between them, given by

P =

B

2

2µ

0

N/m

2

Because of the superconductivity, the eddy currents never dissipate - I

2

R = 0 because R = 0, and so we

can simply place a regular magnet above a superconductor, and it will levitate and stay in place.

There are other ways of magnetic levitation. In a train, we can have strong magnets and move them over a

conductive surface below the train. Since there will be a change in ﬂux penetrating the conductive surface,

eddy currents will be induced, and we know via Lenz’s law that they will oppose the external magnetic

ﬁeld, thus creating a repelling force, possibly allowing the entire train to magnetically levitate above the

tracks - as long as it has a high enough speed. If the speed is low enough, the ﬂux change through the

conductor will not be enough to produce enough force to lift the train, and it will crash (more or less) to

the ground. Clearly, such a train will need to be built to handle this either way, or it would have no way

to get moving from a standstill if it could only move while levitating!

Now then, we’ve seen two ways of magnetic levitation: one using superconductors, and another using

moving magnets.

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A third form requires neither speed nor superconductors, but instead uses alternating current in a loop.

Imagine a current loop, through which we pass an alternating current, above a conducting plate.

At one moment in time, the magnetic ﬁeld due to the coil will point downwards, i.e. have its north pole

towards the conducting plate. Lenz’s law tells us the eddy currents will produce a magnetic ﬁeld that

opposes this, and so the two plates will repel each other, and there will again be a magnetic pressure

between the two.

However, slightly later in time, the magnetic ﬁeld will now be decreasing, and so the eddy currents ﬂip

direction, such that the current loop’s ﬁeld still has its north pole downwards (but the ﬂux through the

plate is decreasing), but with the eddy current’s ﬁeld ﬂipped, the two will now attract each other.

It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that they will repel and attract each other equally, on average;

this is not the case, and there will be a net repelling force, the source of which is discussed in next week,

when inductance is discussed.

(A preview: there is a lag in the eddy current versus the induced EMF, such that they repel each other

more than 50% of the time, so the net force on the current loop is upwards.)

The magnetic levitation of a woman

We then reach the section responsible for the lecture’s name. Magicians used to (seemingly) levitate people

- stereotypically, they were women - using various tricks. Can we do it using magnetic levitation?

We have the equation for the magnetic pressure,

P =

B

2

2µ

0

Using a current loop of area 0.1 m

2

, we ﬁnd that using a B-ﬁeld strength of about 0.15 tesla, the pressure

is

P ≈ 9000N/m

2

Multiplying that by the area, we get a force of roughly 900 newtons, enough to lift a hair over 90 kilograms

in the Earth’s gravitational ﬁeld - so that should be enough to lift a person.

However, generating such a strong B-ﬁeld proves very diﬃcult, as you need a very high current. Thus,

the demo is about levitating a blow-up doll - which tells us that magicians most likely don’t use magnetic

levitation in their tricks.

7.2 Inductance and RL circuits

Self-inductance (as opposed to mutual inductance, discussed later in the course), often called inductance

for short, is a way to quantify the ability of a circuit to ﬁght the change in magnetic ﬂux produced by the

circuit itself.

We know that if you run a current through a circuit, a magnetic ﬁeld is created. If the current is changing

with time, then the magnetic ﬁelds are also changing with time, which causes an induced EMF in the

circuit, ﬁghting the change.

The magnetic ﬂux is always proportional to the current, Φ

B

∝ I. The constant of proportionality is then

the self-inductance, for which we use the symbol L:

Φ

B

= LI

If we combine this with Faraday’s law,

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

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We ﬁnd that

E = −L

dI

dt

... assuming that L is constant, i.e. it is not a function of time. That is usually a pretty good assumption,

as L is, just like capacitance C, only a function of the geometry. We will soon ﬁnd many other similarities

between capacitors and self-inductors.

Self-inductance of a solenoid

Say we run a current I through a solenoid, with N windings, each of which has radius r, and the length

of the solenoid is .

First, the B-ﬁeld inside, given by a quick-and-dirty Ampere’s law calculation, is

Ba = µ

0

I

pen

= µ

0

Ia

N

B =

µ

0

NI

**... where a is the length of the Gaussian rectangle we choose. (See the section on Ampere’s law for a
**

proper derivation.)

If we attach an open surface to the current loop in the solenoid - diﬃcult to visualize, but it will have an

area where the ﬂux penetrates of Nπr

2

, with N again being the number of windings. The ﬂux is then

that area, times the B-ﬁeld inside, so

Φ

B

= N

2

πr

2

µ

0

I

**This is then equal to LI by deﬁnition, as we said earlier, so we can now calculate the self-inductance L
**

for a solenoid:

LI = N

2

πr

2

µ

0

I

L =

N

2

πr

2

µ

0

**As promised, it is only a function of the geometry, plus two other constants π and µ
**

0

.

The SI unit of inductance is the henry, H.

1H = 1

V s

A

All circuits have a nonzero self-inductance, just as how they have a nonzero capacitance, and (for non-

superconductors) a nonzero resistance.

We can show this easily as follows: all current ﬂows in loops. All loops, no matter their shape, produce a

magnetic ﬁeld, which produces a magnetic ﬂux. Therefore all circuits have a nonzero self-inductance, no

matter how small it might be.

From here on, I will mostly refer to self-inductors simply as inductors. The only potential confusion is with

mutual inductance, which will not be discussed at all in this chapter, only mentioned like now. Mutual

inductance however requires multiple coils with physical proximity, which makes it irrelevant here.

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7.2.1 Direct-current RL circuits

Say we have a very simple series circuit: a battery, a switch, a self-inductor, and a resistor.

The switch is open to begin with, so the current at time t = 0, the current is zero.

The inductor will try to ﬁght the change in current, and so the current will ramp up slowly. In the end,

the current in the circuit will be simply I =

V

R

, with R being the resistance of the resistor.

(We often calculate as if inductors have zero resistance; that is of course not true, since all wire will have

some resistance. However, whenever that resistance is necessary to care about, we can often model it as

an ideal inductor in series with a resistor.)

So at t = 0, I = 0, and with t →∞, I =

V

R

. What about in between the two extremes? Well, let’s try to

set up an equation that describes the circuit.

This is a critical point of this week, and perhaps of the entire course so far. Prof. Lewin states in no

uncertain terms that the way most books do this is incorrect - the end result is correct, but the thought

behind the result is misleading and/or incorrect.

Therefore I will list both the correct and the incorrect solutions here, and talk about the diﬀerences.

This is explained in greater detail in the supplemental lecture notes for lecture 20, and is probably better

explained there, by a physics professor, rather than by a student!

So, let’s see. The circuit has an inductor. That means there will be time-changing magnetic ﬁelds. That

means that Kirchoﬀ’s loop rule does not apply! This is crucial. Instead, we will have to do a line integral

E

d around the loop, and set it equal to −

dΦ

B

dt

, not set it equal to zero!

To clarify: Kirchhoﬀ’s rule is a special case of Faraday’s law. It only holds when the change in ﬂux is zero,

because they state conﬂicting results for the same integral:

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

(Faraday’s law, always true!)

_

E

d = 0 (Kirchhoﬀ’s rule, NOT always true!)

With Faraday’s law being the one that is always correct, clearly then Kirchhoﬀ’s rule is correct ONLY

when

−

dΦ

B

dt

= 0

With that in mind, let’s move on, and use Faraday’s law as necessary.

RL circuit analysis and a long note on Kirchoﬀ’s second rule

We start to the right of the battery. We treat the switch as ideal, so it doesn’t contribute at all (we won’t

even write a 0 for it in the equation, but treat it as if it doesn’t exist). After that, we reach the inductor.

E

d is ZERO for the inductor, as we treat it as having no resistance (inductors are made to have as low

a resistance as possible). No resistance means no electric ﬁeld, and so the dot product must be ZERO!

So far, our integral is still at zero.

After the inductor, we reach the resistor. The electric ﬁeld inside the resistor is in the same direction as

the current, so the dot product of

E

d is positive, and equals IR; Ohm’s law works here. We then reach

the voltage source/battery. Here, the electric ﬁeld is in the opposite direction of the current - the E-ﬁeld

always goes from positive to negative, but the current inside a battery does not. Therefore the voltage

source contributes with a −V term.

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Finally, the sum of all these terms must be equal not to zero, but via Faraday’s law, to the negative of the

rate of change of the ﬂux, that is, −

dΦ

B

dt

. All in all, the equation is then

0 + IR −V = −

dΦ

B

dt

We have said earlier that Φ

B

= LI, so if we substitute that in there, we get

0 + IR −V = −

d

dt

(LI)

0 + IR −V = −L

dI

dt

Thus, we have used Faraday’s law in the proper way: the left side of the line integral is the sum of the

potential diﬀerences over the circuit: the potential diﬀerence across the inductor is zero, because we treat

it as having 0 resistance, and thus no E-ﬁeld can exist in it.

The right side is equal to the negative of the rate of charge of the magnetic ﬂux, as always in Faraday’s

law. THIS is where the inductor’s term is: it is due to the ﬂux, and is not really a “potential diﬀerence”

per se, as electric potential is only applicable to conservative ﬁelds - and with changing magnetic ﬂux, we

have non-conservative ﬁelds!

We therefore have a diﬀerential equation that we can solve, and thus ﬁnd the value of the current in the

circuit. First, however, let’s take a look at the incorrect approach used by most physics books.

The approach taken by them is to modify Kirchhoﬀ’s loop rule, such that the potential diﬀerence (or the

voltage drop, diﬀerent name for the same thing) across all inductors is −L

dI

dt

, if we move in the assumed

direction of the current. Thus, when we do that, and move across the loop in the same direction, and set

it all equal to zero via Kirchhoﬀ’s here invalid rule. We now ignore the electric ﬁelds, and think in terms

of potential: when we go up in potential, we add (so going through a voltage source from - to + means

we add, otherwise subtract; going through a resistor where we enter from the + side means we subtract).

This means we add −L

dI

dt

for the inductor - remember, the minus sign is from this “rule” (see above), we

are adding the term. We then subtract IR for the resistor, and ﬁnally add V for the voltage source. This

is then set equal to 0:

−L

dI

dt

−IR + V = 0

Note that this equation is identical to the one we found before, only that it has been rearranged. If we

take our “proper” equation and move IR and V to the same side as −L

dI

dt

, we get the above. Thus,

mathematically, both ways yield the correct answer.

So, if they give the same result, what’s all the fuss about? The problem is in what the equations represent.

In the correct equation that we found, we follow Faraday’s law: the integral of the electric ﬁeld around

the loop -

E

d - all added up, equals the negative of the rate of change of the magnetic ﬂux.

While the right-hand side also has the SI unit of volts, it is not a true potential diﬀerence, as the concept

of potential does not apply to non-conservative ﬁelds.

The “incorrect” equation, on the other hand, is really implying that the sum of the potential diﬀerences

around the loop (

_

E

d) is zero, which it is not! The sum of the potential diﬀerences,

_

E

d, is equal

to −

dΦ

B

dt

and nothing else! Faraday’s law!

The “incorrect” equation therefore also implies that the potential diﬀerence across the inductor is −L

dI

dt

,

which IS what you would measure with a voltmeter, but IS NOT correct. In the ideal inductor, the E-ﬁeld

is ZERO, so

E

d for the inductor is also zero!

76

The reason a voltmeter would measure the same value is not because there is a true potential diﬀerence,

but that when you connect a voltmeter, you get a RL-circuit with the voltmeter’s internal resistance

providing (most of) the resistance. Therefore, we must apply Faraday’s law to that circuit as well, and we

ﬁnd the same result (−L

dI

dt

); however the physical cause is again a change in magnetic ﬂux via Faraday’s

law, and not a true potential diﬀerence across the inductor!

Thus, the result (the number displayed by the voltmeter) is the same, but the physical reasons are vastly

diﬀerent!

If this is still confusing to you (especially everything prior to the voltmeter part, which seems even more

confusing), read (or re-read) the lecture supplement, and perhaps especially the last sentence:

“If you ﬁnd all this confusing, you are in good company. This is one of the most diﬃcult and subtle topics

in this course — it trips up experts all the time. Not easy!”

RL circuit analysis continued

So, getting back to where we were. We want to solve the diﬀerential equation

IR −V = −L

dI

dt

which governs this circuit. We add the additional constraint (boundary condition) that I(0) = 0, that

is, the current at t = 0 is 0. Without this condition, we cannot get a unique solution to the diﬀerential

equation.

Solving it, we get

I(t) =

V

R

_

1 −e

−

Rt

L

_

Alternatively, a bit easier to read, using e

x

= exp(x):

I(t) =

V

R

_

1 −exp (−

Rt

L

)

_

If we take the limit as t →0, we ﬁnd that the current is indeed zero.

Also, in the limit as t →∞ the current is

I

R

, as we expected.

In between the two, the current increases exponentially, asymptotically approaching the maximum current.

During this time, the inductor sucks up energy, and stores it in the magnetic ﬁeld it creates. This energy is

later freed again when the ﬁeld collapses, whenever the inductor ﬁghts a current change by itself providing

a current.

After one time constant, τ =

L

R

(the unit of henry divided by ohm is indeed seconds!), the current has

increased to 1 −e

−1

≈ 63.2% of its maximum value. After two time constants, the current is ≈ 86.47% of

its maximum.

If we reverse our thinking: at what time is the current x times its maximum value, for 0 < x < 1?

The “current multiplier”, so to speak, is then both x and 1 −exp(−

R

L

t), so we can set the two equal and

solve for t:

1 −exp(−

R

L

t) = x

−exp(−

R

L

t) = x −1

exp(−

R

L

t) = 1 −x

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−

R

L

t = ln (1 −x)

t = −

L

R

ln (1 −x)

We now know how the circuit behaves as the power is connected. What happens when it is disconnected?

That is, we remove the voltage source and replace it by a short circuit (not an open circuit!).

Since the inductance will ﬁght the change, we expect the current to go down gradually. It has to stop

eventually; power is “burned” in the resistor, so without a power source, a current cannot run forever.

Until then, the magnetic ﬁeld in the inductor collapses, and the magnetic energy will power the resistor.

To ﬁnd the quantitative answer, we need to solve the same diﬀerential equation as before, but with V = 0.

We will ﬁnd the answer to be

I(t) =

V

R

exp(−

Rt

L

)

with V being the now-removed battery’s voltage, so that

V

R

was the stable current prior to the change we

just did to the voltage source.

So if we redeﬁne t = 0 to be a time where the current in

V

R

, we ﬁnd that indeed, the equation holds; the

current is its maximum. Same goes for t →∞, where the current will asymtotically approach zero, in the

same way it asymtotically reached its maximum before.

After one time constant τ =

L

R

, then, we ﬁnd the current to be about 36.8% of its maximum value; after

two time constants 13.6%, and so on.

A common rule of thumb in electrical engineering is to take the process as complete after 5 time constants.

Thus, for an increasing current, after 5 time constants, it will be at ≈ 99.33% of its maximum, while for a

decreasing current, it will be down to ≈ 0.67%, which we consider essentially 100% and 0%, respectively.

We know that the power dissipated in the resistor is I

2

R at all times, so we can use that fact, and the fact

that the circuit now only contains an ideal inductor, ideal resistor and ideal wires, to calculate the total

energy stored. We do that do integrating the power dissipated in the resistor over all time from t = 0,

when I = I

max

, to t →∞, when the current has died out:

E =

_

∞

0

I

2

R dt =

_

I

max

exp(−

R

L

t)

_

2

R = I

2

max

R

_

∞

0

exp(−2

R

L

t)dt

Note the added two inside the exponential, since we raised it to the 2nd power. The result of the integral

is

_

∞

0

exp(−2

R

L

t)dt =

L

2R

So the power is

I

2

max

R

L

2R

= I

2

max

L

2

=

1

2

LI

2

max

This relation holds for the current through the inductor at any instant in time, so we can remove the

“max”, and get an equation relating the current to the stored energy at any time:

E =

1

2

LI

2

78

Dual circuit elements

Notice the striking similarity between this, and the energy stored in a capacitor:

E =

1

2

CV

2

This is another of many similarities between the capacitor and the inductor, which are dual circuit elements.

Capacitors store energy in electric ﬁelds; inductors store energy in magnetic ﬁelds.

Capacitors ﬁght a change in the voltage across them; inductors ﬁght a change in the current through them.

The current through a capacitor is related to the rate of charge of the voltage across it:

I(t) = C

dV

dt

The voltage across an inductor is related to the rate of change on the current through it:

V (t) = L

dI

dt

If we integrate both sides of these equations, we will also ﬁnd that the voltage across a capacitor is related

to the integral of the current, and that the current through an inductor is related to the integral of the

voltage across it. This had the rather profound implication that to calculate the current through an

inductor, we must know its entire history, so to speak - we must know the voltage across it from t = −∞

up to the time where we want to know the current. Either that, or just the voltage across it from t

1

to t

2

,

plus i(t

1

).

The same, or perhaps rather the opposite, is true for capacitors.

This makes capacitors and inductors state devices, that essentially have a memory, of a sort.

Magnetic ﬁeld energy density

Going back to the magnetic ﬁeld energy, since we know that stored energy, and we know the volume of

the solenoid, andt he fact that the magnetic ﬁeld is essentially exclusively enclosed with it (the B-ﬁeld

outside due to the solenoid is roughly zero), we can calculate the solenoid’s magnetic ﬁeld energy density,

by dividing the stored energy by the solenoid’s volume.

First, we can substitute in values for L and I that we had found previously, into the equation. Namely,

these values:

B = µ

0

I

N

**we solve that for I, and ﬁnd
**

I =

B

µ

0

N

We also had a value for L:

L = πr

2

N

2

µ

0

Substituting them into the equation, we have

1

2

LI

2

=

1

2

_

πr

2

N

2

µ

0

__

B

µ

0

N

_

2

=

1

2

_

πr

2

N

2

µ

0

__

B

2

2

µ

2

0

N

2

_

1

2

πr

2

µ

0

B

2

2

µ

2

0

1

2

πr

2

B

2

µ

0

79

Note however, that because we’ve assumed that the magnetic ﬁeld outside the solenoid is zero, and that

πr

2

is the volume where the ﬁeld exists, we can divide out those terms, and ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁeld energy

density:

U =

B

2

2µ

0

J/m

3

This, too has an electrical analogue. We calculated the electric ﬁeld energy density for a capacitor, which

we found te be

0

κE

2

2

J/m

3

In the electrical case, this represents the work required to assemble charges in a certain conﬁguration.

In the case of the inductor, this represents the work required to get the current running through a pure

self-inductor (one with zero electrical resistance). It takes work because the inductor ﬁghts the change.

7.2.2 Alternating-current RL circuits

What if we have an RL circuit and power it by an alternating current? Say we have as simple series circuit

with a voltage source of voltage V

0

cos ωt, a self-inductor L and a resistor R.

Say the current is clockwise at one moment in time.

We walk around the circuit and add up the potential diﬀerences

_

E d, according to Faraday’s law, and

then set those equal to the negative of the magnetic ﬂux change.

First, we reach the inductor. As before, the E-ﬁeld is ZERO inside the ideal inductor, so it doesn’t con-

tribute at all to the potential diﬀerence sum.

We then reach the resistor, where the E-ﬁeld is in the same direction as the current, an so we add a

potential diﬀerence of IR.

Finally, we reach the voltage source.

The E-ﬁeld is a power source is always in the opposite direction of the current, so it contributes with a

−V

0

cos ωt term.

Finally, on the right-hand side, we have the change in ﬂux −

dΦ

B

dt

= −L

dI

dt

, via Faraday’s law, and the

equivalence via the deﬁnition of inductance, LI = Φ

B

.

All in all, we have

0 + IR −V

0

cos ωt = −L

dI

dt

And again, we solve this diﬀerential equation. Unfortunately, the solution to this equation is a bit complex

- and this result is the simpliﬁed version; the unsimpliﬁed answer is quite a bit worse!

We ﬁnd that

I(t) =

V

0

_

R

2

+ (ωL)

2

cos(ωt −φ)

where

tan φ =

ωL

R

We can note two imporant facts here. First, the current will be sinusoidal (as we would expect), with a

peak of

I

peak

=

V

0

_

R

2

+ (ωL)

2

... which is just the term that multiplies the cosine; this comes simply from the fact that the cosine just

moves between −1 and +1.

80

The phase of −φ means the current will appear later than the voltage; they will be out of phase. In an

RL circuit, this lag is between 0 degrees (purely resistive) and 90 degrees (purely inductive).

Another interesting - and vitally important - observation is that ωL plays the term of a resistance, in

two diﬀerent places, no less. The phase lag is determined by the ratio of the “inductive resistance” ωL

(properly called the inductive reactance) to the regular resistance. The maximum current, meanwhile, is

determined by the “resistance” of

_

R

2

+ (ωL)

2

.

The sum of a resistance (symbol R) and a reactance (symbol X) is called an impedance (symbol Z).

There are more things we can deduce from this relationship. When ω is high, the current will be low -

this makes intuitive sense, because the inductor ﬁghts the change. When the charge is more rapid, there

will be less time for the circuit to “win” the ﬁght, and the current goes down. Likewise, when L is high,

the self-inductance has more strength to ﬁght the change, and so the current goes down.

It is also intuitively pleasing that when ω is zero, i.e. we have DC, the entire equation simpliﬁes down to

just

I =

V

0

R

... which of course is just Ohm’s law.

Here’s a table over values of the circuit, for diﬀerent angular frequencies ω, for values V

0

= 10 V, R = 10 Ω,

L = 10

−2

H and V = V

0

cos ωt:

f (Hz) 100 10

3

10

4

ω (rad/s) 628 6.3 10

3

6.3 10

4

ωL (Ω) 6.3 63 628

I

max

(A) 0.85 0.16 0.0016

φ 32

◦

81

◦

89

◦

At low frequencies R dominates over ωL, with the current coming relatively close to I =

V

R

. At a 10 times

higher frequency, ωL dominates, and the current largely depends upon the inductance L. After another

tenfold increase in frequency, the inductor really dominates, and the resistance is almost negligible, which

causes a phase lag very close to the maximum 90 degrees.

This formes the basis of RL ﬁlters, which can be used as low-pass or high-pass ﬁlters, depending on where

you read oﬀ the output voltage.

Say that you input a piece of music, such that the voltage source is not a simple sinusoidal wave, but a

full piece of music, constructed by tons and tons of diﬀerent sinusoids.

If we pass them through an RL circuit, diﬀerent frequencies will aﬀect the current diﬀerently. Low frequen-

cies will pass through the inductor almost “unharmed”, which means the voltage drop across the resistor

will be about the same as it would be without the inductor.

High frequencies - high ω - will be blocked by the inductor, and so the current through the resistor due to

the high frequencies will be reduced drastically.

If we then read oﬀ the resistor’s voltage drop, and feed that into an ampliﬁer and a speaker, we can hear

that all the high frequencies are gone from a piece of music, since the high frequencies of the current was

removed, thus causing no voltage drop across the resistor.

81

7.2.3 More on magnetic levitation

Let’s return to the magnetic levitation we looked at last week, with a coil hovering about a conductive

plate. The setup was little more than that. We run 60 Hz AC through a loop (many loops, rather) of

conducting wire. This is positioned above a conductive metal sheet, and switched on. Given enough

current, the loop will levitate.

Let’s begin by looking at the case where the current in the coul is in a clockwise direction. Via Lenz’s

law, we know that there will be eddy currents induced in the metal plate, such that the induced B-ﬁeld is

opposite to the original one.

Therefore, the loop will have its north pole downwards, and the current loop have its north pole upwards,

so they repel each other, and the loop levitates.

Slighly later in time, the current in the loop is still clockwise, but it is now decreasing. Faraday’s law and

Lenz’s law doesn’t care about the current direction, nor the magnetic ﬁeld direction, but the sign of the

rate of charge of ﬂux, which has now ﬂipped - it is now decreasing!

Therefore, the current loop’s north pole is still downwards, but the eddy current will reverse, and have its

south pole upwards. Therefore, the two will attract each other! Say goodbye to magnetic levitation. Half

the time they will attract each other!

This is clearly not the case, as this was demonstrated and did work. The secret in inductive phase lag.

The EMF induced in the plate changes instantly

1

, but the induced current does not - because the plate

has a nonzero inductance! Therefore there will be a phase lag as given by

tan φ =

ωL

R

If this lag is zero, because L = 0 (which cannot happen - but say L is extremely, extremely small), then

on average, the force repels and attracts each with 50%, so there is no net force.

If the lag is greater than zero, however, we can get a repelling force more than 50% of the time. If the

lag is the full 90

◦

, which can only happen as the ratio

ωL

R

→∞, the force would be repelling 100% of the

time.

The ﬁrst image shows the situation with L →0, where the induced EMF (green) and eddy current (blue)

are in phase. Note that the induced EMF depends not on the coil current directly, but the derivative of

it, which is why the green and red curves appear out of phase.

The second image shows the case where ωL ¸R, or rather when the ratio goes to inﬁnity, and the phase

lag goes to 90

◦

.

1

Not faster than at the speed of light, of course!

82

The reality would be somewhere in between. Any phase lag greater than 0 degrees give a net repelling

force, thus allowing levitation; a greater lag would mean a greater net repelling force.

Of course, if the conductor is in fact a superconductor, then the phase lag will be exactly 90 degrees, and

the force will always be repelling.

7.3 Magnetic materials

7.3.1 A short note on motors

The lecture begins with some information about the MIT motor contest, which was held when the lectures

were recorded. Not a lot of physics is discussed, except one point about motors and current.

The ohmic resistance of a motor’s windings is often very low, so a very high current will ﬂow when the

motor is just starting up. As it starts spinning, there is an induced EMF according to Faraday’s law,

which will counteract the external supply. Thus the current drops drastically, and later on settles at a

value, when the rotational speed is constant.

Therefore, if we hold a motor still while it is powered, the high current may damage it, so one should take

care to avoid this.

7.3.2 Magnetic dipole moment

As we have seen with some motor designs, a current loop in a magnetic ﬁeld will experience a torque.

Imagine a rectangular current loop, with sides a and b, with a current that is counterclockwise as seen

from above. Say the left and right sides are a, and the other two b.

Say there is a uniform magnetic ﬁeld B towards the right

The magnetic force on a straight wire will be

I

B (or I

L

B, since I is not really a vector).

For the right a side, the force will be experience a force in the downwards direction; the left a side will

experience a force upwards. The b sides will experience no force, as the cross product is zero there - they

are parallel and antiparallel with the magnetic ﬁeld, respectively.

Thus, there will be a net torque on the loop, given by [τ[ = IabB. If we deﬁne A = ab to be the area of

the loop, we get [τ[ = IAB.

If there is an angle between the loop and the B-ﬁeld, the magnitude is given by [τ[ = IABsin θ. Thus, we

can write the torque as a cross product:

τ = I

A

B

where the vector area

A has the magnitude of the loop’s area, and the direction of the upwards surface

normal perpendicular to it.

The magnetic dipole moment µ is deﬁned as this product I

A:

µ = I

A

µ then has the unit of ampere-square meters, A m

2

, or equivalently joule per tesla (J/T).

So the torque can also be written as

τ = µ

B

Because of its deﬁnition, the vector µ always points from the dipole’s south to its north pole, which makes

it a handy tool in several places. It is sometimes known as m rather than µ.

83

7.3.3 The source of magnetism in matter

First oﬀ, let’s state one thing clearly: what will follow here is mostly a classical interpretation of mag-

netism. For the truly correct answers, quantum physics is required. However, the results we ﬁnd here are

often in fairly good agreement with the correct ones.

We know that current loops create a magnetic ﬁeld. For a simple circular loop, going counterclockwise as

seen from above, the ﬁeld (and thus the magnetic dipole moment µ is upwards, via the right-hand rule.

This is the source of all magnetic ﬁelds, including those inside permanent magnets!

We also know that induced eddy currents create magnetic ﬁelds, but how does that apply to permanent

magnets, which do not rely on a change in external magnetic ﬁelds, or indeed do not rely on any external

magnetic ﬁelds?

The answer is that it doesn’t apply: the mechanism is diﬀerent.

Up until this moment in the course, I struggled to understand how a permanent magnet could possibly

work, given what we’d learned prior... And then I read something similar to what follows in the next

paragraph, and it just clicked. There are simple current loops in all materials!

In the classical model of the atom, we have electrons in circular orbits, orbiting around the much more

massive nucleus. Because the deﬁnition of a current is a charge moving over time, the electron orbits

constitute tiny current loops - they are moving in a circle!

We can deﬁne the magnetic dipole moment of an electron orbital by ﬁrst ﬁnding its current in amperes,

and then using the deﬁnion for µ = IA.

The current is the charge, divided by its period T. The period is in turn given by the distance travelled

(the circle’s circumference), divided by the velocity v:

T =

2πr

v

The electron’s charge is −e, so we divide that charge by T, looking only at the magnitudes for now:

[I[ =

[ −e[v

2πr

(The current is deﬁned by the amount of charge passing by a point, per second. Dividing the charge by

the period will get us that number!)

The magnetic dipole moment is then the current times the loop area A = πr

2

:

µ =

ev

2πr

πr

2

=

evr

2

Because the electron has a negative charge, the current is then in the opposite direction of its orbit. If the

electron orbits clockwise as seen from above, we deﬁne the current I as being counterclockwise.

The magnetic ﬁeld created follows the right-hand rule of the current’s direction, so the magnetic dipole

moment is then pointing upwards, according to the right-hand rule.

So if all electron orbits produce a magnetic moment, and all materials contain orbiting electrons, why are

not all materials magnetic? The answer is simple: the magnetic moment due to one electron orbiting is

usually cancelled by one orbiting in the opposite direction, so that the net force in a material with many,

many electrons will be essentially zero.

We know that electric ﬁelds can induce electric dipoles in materials. In case the molecules or atoms them-

selves are permanent electric dipoles, an external electric ﬁeld will attempt to align them. The degree of

success depends on how strong the external electric ﬁeld is, and on the temperature: a lower temperature

means less random thermal motion, and so the dipoles are easier to align.

84

There is a similar situation with magnetic ﬁelds. If we have an external magnetic ﬁeld, it can induce mag-

netic dipoles in a material, at the atomic scale. In case the molecules/atoms themselves have a permanent

magnetic dipole moment, then the external magnetic ﬁeld will attempt to align them. Again, the lower

temperature will lead to a greater degree of success, due to less thermal motion.

When we bring a material into an external ﬁeld, then, the ﬁeld inside the material from the external ﬁeld.

The external ﬁeld will often be referred to as the vacuum ﬁeld here.

When we dealt with dielectrics, we saw how an electric ﬁeld could change inside a nonconductive material;

the eﬀect was that the electric ﬁeld inside was lowered by a factor κ, the dielectric constant of the material.

Since κ > 1 for all natural materials, at least (and κ = 1 for the vacuum), the electric ﬁeld inside the

material was always lower than the external electric ﬁeld that induced the change to begin with.

That is in stark contrast to what we will now explore with magnetism. There are three possibilites, rather

than the one for electric ﬁelds above, when we deal with magnetic ﬁelds. The magnetic ﬁeld inside a

material can be

1) slightly lower than the external ﬁeld (diamagnetic materials),

2) slightly higher than the external ﬁeld (paramagnetic materials), or

3) a lot higher than the external ﬁeld (ferromagnetic materials).

Ferromagnetism is the form that most people are familiar with, where e.g. iron is strongly attracted to

magnets.

The other two forms have eﬀects that are much weaker, to the point that they often go unnoticed. For

example, water is diamagnetic, and thus repelled by magnetic ﬁelds - only that it is repelled very weakly.

Before we talk about the three forms of magnetism, we should introduce magnetization.

7.3.4 Magnetization

Now that we know where the permanent dipoles in matter come from, let’s look at a larger scale than the

atomic one, where the electron orbits are, and switch our focus to what happens when we have lots and

lots of these tiny dipoles in a material.

Suppose we have a cylindrical piece of material, with end-cap area A and height L, consisting of N individ-

ual dipoles, each with a magnetic dipole moment µ, spread uniformly throughout the cylinder’s volume.

All of the dipole moments are also aligned with the cylinder’s axis, i.e. they all point “upwards”.

In the absence of an external magnetic ﬁeld, what is the ﬁeld due to these dipoles alone?

We deﬁne the magnetization vector

M to be the net magnetic dipole moment per unit volume:

M =

1

V

i

µ

In the case of the cylinder, since all moments are aligned, the net moment is simply Nµ. To get the “per

unit volume” part, we just divide by the volume, AL:

M =

Nµ

AL

Clearly, the direction of

M is the same as all the individual moments µ, if they are all aligned.

Since µ is in ampere-square meters (A m

2

), and the volume in cubic meters, the magnetization is then in

amperes per meter, A/m.

The average magnetic ﬁeld due to this magnetization B

M

is then given by

85

B

M

= µ

0

M

This is the large-scale average throughout the material; close to each of the dipoles, the ﬁeld will be very

diﬀerent.

This principle is similar to the E-ﬁeld due to several nearby point charges; in the vicinity of the changes,

the ﬁeld will be very complex, but from very far away, the ﬁeld will look as one due to a single point

charge, with the same charge as the sum of the charges due to the collection.

7.3.5 Paramagnetism

Let’s now start looking at the diﬀerent forms of magnetism.

In paramagnetism, the atoms or molecules in the material themselves have a magnetic dipole moment,

such that they are in a way tiny magnets.

In the absence of an external ﬁeld, these dipoles are randomly oriented, such that there is no net magnetic

ﬁeld.

Once exposed to an external ﬁeld (a vacuum ﬁeld), that ﬁeld will attempt to align them. The success

depends on the vacuum ﬁeld’s strength, and on the temperature, such that a lower temperature means

easier alignment, due to reduced thermal motion.

The alignment will be such that the induced magnetic ﬁeld in the material adds to the external ﬁeld, and

the ﬁeld inside the material is slighly stronger than the external ﬁeld. This is in contrast to diamagnetism,

where the ﬁeld inside was weaker.

Because of this, paramagnetic materials are attracted to magnetic ﬁelds, while diamagnetic materials are

repelled.

More quantitatively, the alignment of the atomic-scale dipoles with the external ﬁeld (which we’ll call

B

0

)

creates a net magnetization

M that is parallel to

B

0

. Since the induced ﬁeld

B

M

is parallel to

M, then

B

M

too is parallel to

B

0

. We see, then, that the ﬁeld due to the paramagnetism indeed strengthens the

external ﬁeld.

The total magnetic ﬁeld in the material is then given by

B =

B

0

+

B

M

=

B

0

+ µ

0

M

In most paramagnetic materials,

M is proportional to the external ﬁeld

B

0

. The proportionality constant

is known as the relative permeability, and is written as κ

m

:

B = κ

m

B

0

Because the eﬀect of paramagnetism (and diamagnetism) is so small, κ

m

is usually very close to 1, and so

it gets cumbersome to talk about numbers such as the relative permeability of e.g. magnesium, which is

≈ 1.000012. Because of this, we can also deﬁne the relation in terms of the magnetic susceptibility χ

m

(χ

being the Greek letter chi) of a material. The relation between the two is such that

κ

m

= 1 + χ

m

Thus, instead of the relative permeability of magnesium being 1.000012, we can talk about its magnetic

susceptibility of 1.2 10

−5

.

Both relative permeability and magnetic susceptibility are dimensionless numbers.

We can then combine the relative permeability with the permeability of free space µ

0

to get the magnetic

permeability µ

m

(sometimes only µ, which can easily be confused with magnetic moment) of a material:

µ

m

= κ

m

µ

0

= (1 + χ

m

)µ

0

86

For paramagnetic materials, µ

m

> µ

0

. However, χ

m

is often on the order of 10

−6

to 10

−3

, with many

materials having even lower values. In other words, the permeability of these materials is very, very close

to that of the vacuum, which also implies that the magnetic forces will be rather low.

Note that one of the meanings of this is that ﬁeld lines will prefer to go “through” the paramagnetic

material, versus outside it, where the permeability is lower (assuming it’s in a vacuum or in air, with κ

m

essentially 1).

Let’s now look at why a paramagnetic material would be attracted to an external magnetic ﬁeld.

If we imagine each molecule as a tiny bar magnet, with a dipole moment µ pointing at an angle with the

vacuum ﬁeld, then there will be a torque on the molecule, such that the torque causes its poles (or its

dipole moment) to align with the vacuum ﬁeld. This torque would then by given by τ = µ

B.

Paramagnetic materials will be pulled towards the strongest point in a non-uniform external ﬁeld.

Let’s look at an example.

Say we have a bar magnet as above, with the north pole downwards, creating a non-uniform magnetic

ﬁeld. Below it, we have, say just an atom, with a dipole moment that is also downwards.

We can think of this in two ways. Either we simply realize that the downwards dipole moment of the atom

means that its north pole is downwards, and thus the south pole upwards, and so north and south attract

each other.

Another way to think of it is to consider the current loop as drawn. On the left side, the current goes

into the blackboard, and the magnetic force is given by the cross product of the current’s direction and

the B-ﬁeld due to the bar magnet, angled downwards, so the force will be at an angle upwards/to the left.

On the opposite side, we ﬁnd the magnetic force to be upwards/to the right. The net force will then be

upwards, so the material will be attracted to the bar magnet.

What if the atom were at an angle, so that the dipole moment was towards the right in this picture? There

would be a torque on it that tries to align it with the ﬁeld. This is yet again a quantum mechanical eﬀect,

so we will unfortunately just take that for granted now.

7.3.6 Diamagnetism

Most of the things we have said about paramagnetism either applies to diamagnetism, or the opposite

does. The diﬀerences will be stated below.

Diamagnetic materials have no permanent magnetic dipoles; an external ﬁeld

B

0

can induce magnetic

dipole moments in atoms or molecules, however. These induced dipoles will be anti-parallel to

B, and

thus serve to weaken the ﬁeld inside the material.

Diamagnetic materials have a magnetic permeability µ

m

< µ

0

, and therefore a relative permeability κ

m

< 1

(since µ

m

= κ

m

µ

0

), meaning χ

m

< 0.

87

Here, the magnitude of χ

m

is even smaller than that of paramagnetic material, perhaps on the order of

−10

−5

to −10

−9

.

Just as how ﬁeld lines prefer to go through paramagnetic materials, because of their (slightly) higher mag-

netic permeability than the surrounding vacuum/air, ﬁeld lines prefer to avoid/go around diamagnetic

materials, as the permeability is lower than that of the vacuum.

This eﬀect is striking in superconductors, which are essentially perfect diamagnets, with χ

m

= −1 and

µ

m

= 0, such that they repel all ﬁelds entirely, except for a very thin layer near the surface (which is

usually less than 1 micrometer deep, given by the London penetration depth, which is likely not covered

by this course).

All materials are diamagnetic; however, for those that are also paramagnetic or ferromagnetic, as we can

see on the tiny susceptibility of diamagnetic materials, those other eﬀects will usually overshadow the

diamagnetism.

As stated above, the induced dipoles weaken the internal magnetic ﬁeld, and so they oppose the external

ﬁeld. Diamagnetic materials will therefore be repelled by external magnetic ﬁelds, as their dipole moment

will always tend to oppose external ﬁelds.

Due to the low susceptibility, the eﬀects of diamagnetism is usually very small, and often hard to even

notice, at least in everyday life. It does however result in water, a diamagnetic material, being repelled by

very strong magnetic ﬁelds, to the point that phycisists have levitated a living frog (and also mice) by the

repelling force on the water inside it. Doing so took a magnetic ﬁeld with a strength of roughly 16 tesla!

7.3.7 Ferromagnetism

Ferromagnetism is perhaps the most interesting form of magnetism, because it forms the basis of perma-

nent magnets.

Like paramagnetic materials, ferromagnetic materials also have permanent dipole moments.

However, (yet again!) for quantum mechanical reasons beyond this course, these dipoles are grouped into

domains, which are on the order of 10

−6

to 10

−4

m in size (very roughly), such that even large domains are

essentially microscopic. Inside each of these domains, all the individual dipole moments will be completely

aligned in one and the same direction. However, since there are many domains in a piece of material, there

may still not be a net magnetic moment. Each domain has a separate alignment, which may cancel out

with another nearby domain, to provide no net moment.

There may be up to on the order of 10

17

to 10

21

atoms in a single domain.

As we’ve seen before, when we expose the material to an external magnetic ﬁeld, the dipoles (and thus the

domains) will try to align along the external magnetic ﬁeld; the degree of success depends on the strength

of the external magnetic ﬁeld, and on the temperature; the lower the temperature, the easier alignment

is, due to lower thermal motion.

The magnetic ﬁeld inside a ferromagnetic material may be thousands of times stronger than that of the

external ﬁeld, that is, κ

m

can be 1000 or more. That’s in fairly stark contrast to paramagnetic and dia-

magnetic materials, which had factors more on the order of 1.001 or less!

In addition, the domains in a ferromagnetic materials can stay aligned, to a certain degree, after the re-

moval of the external ﬁeld, creating permanent magnets.

This alignment can be removed either by sudden shock (such as hitting the material with a hammer), or

by heating the material; in either case, the domains will randomize again and the residual magnetism may

well go away entirely.

88

When we heat a ferromagnetic materials, at a certain temperature, the domain completely fall apart, and

disappear. The point where this happens is nown as the Curie temperature, or the Curie point. Iron’s

Curie temperature is 1043 degrees K, or 770 degrees Celsius.

At this point, the material becomes paramagnetic instead, in a very abrupt change.

89

Chapter 8

Week 8

8.1 Hysteresis and electromagnets

Last week, we talked about magnetic permeability, the relative permeability κ

M

of materials, and brieﬂy

about ferromagnetism, the only form of magnetism where κ

M

has a signiﬁcant value. We will now talk

about how strong a magnetic ﬁeld we can theoretically get in a material, and about hysterisis in ferromag-

netism - a phenomenon where the past state of the material changes its permeability, in a nonlinear fashion

(so the magnetization and permeability are no longer directly proportional to the external magnetic ﬁeld).

If we were to align 100% of the atomic dipoles in a material, what would the strength of that ﬁeld be?

Let’s start with a slightly diﬀerent derivation, that we will later use to answer the above question.

Say we have a hydrogen atom, consisting of a proton at the center, and an electron orbiting with a radius

R, in the classical model.

If the electron, as seen from above, orbits in a clockwise fashion, the current - we have a moving charge,

so there is a current - will by convention be in the counterclockwise direction.

The magnetic dipole moment µ is then given by IA, where A = πR

2

is the area of the current loop. The

direction will be, via the right-hand rule, upwards.

Let’s then try to ﬁnd the value for I, which takes a bit more work.

If the electron is orbiting in a circle around a center point, there must, according to classical mechanics,

be a centripetal force on it, acting radially inwards. We can use Coulomb’s law to ﬁnd the electric force,

and set that equal to the centripetal force

mv

2

R

:

m

e

v

2

R

=

[e[[ −e[

4π

0

R

2

v

2

=

e

2

4π

0

Rm

e

v =

e

2

√

π

0

Rm

e

The time to go one loop around (the period T) is then the distance around, 2πR, divided by the velocity:

T =

4πR

√

π

0

Rm

e

e

If we stick some numbers in there, using R = 510

−11

for the orbit radius (the Bohr radius, about 5.2910

−11

meters), we ﬁnd v ≈ 2.3 10

6

m/s and T = 1.4 10

−16

s - rather incredible numbers!

90

We can now calculate the current: current is deﬁned as the amount of charge passing a point per second

- so if we choose a point along the orbit, the electron will pass it

1

1.4 10

−16

times per second. We can

therefore calculate

I =

e

T

=

1.602 10

−19

1.4 10

−16

≈ 1.144 10

−3

A

We ﬁnd a current of about a milliampere - due to a SINGLE electron orbiting! In a copper wire, a current

of a milliampere would take roughly 6.24 10

15

electrons passing by a point per second (a coulomb is

approximately 6.24 10

1

8 electrons, the reciprocal of the elementary charge 1.602 10

−19

C) and in this

case ONE electron is doing all that, because of its incredible velocity around the tiny orbit.

The magnetic moment is then µ = IA, as we stated, so

µ = IA = IπR

2

≈ 8.98 10

−24

A m

2

This value is known as the Bohr magneton. However, its value isn’t really what we just found, but rather

the value of the Bohr magneton µ

B

is

µ

B

=

e

2m

e

≈ 9.274 10

−24

J/T

... which is a result from quantum mechanics, which is where comes from (the reduced Planck constant).

The value cannot be found accurately using classical physics.

The magnetic moment due to all electrons in orbit around an atom can only ever be a multiple of the

Bohr magneton - never anything it between. This is one example of the quantization (only a certain set

of discrete values are allowed) that gives quantum physics its name.

In another quantum weirdness eﬀect, electrons themselves produce a magnetic moment due to a quantum

eﬀect called spin, often thought classically as a literal spin of the electron, around its own axis.

The net magnetic dipole moment of an atom is then the vectorial sum of all the orbital dipole moments,

due to the electrons’ orbits, and of the spin dipole moments. The result of that is that most atoms and

molecules have dipole moments of either one or two Bohr magnetons. The limit on the maximum ﬁeld

strength in a material (due to the material itself), then, will be on the order of 2 Bohr magnetons, times

the number of atoms we can manage to align all in the same direction.

When we expose a material to an external magnetic ﬁeld, the ﬁeld inside will be

B =

B

0

+

B

where

B

0

is the external ﬁeld (the vacuum ﬁeld), and

B

**is the ﬁeld due to the aligned dipoles.
**

For paramagnetic and diamagnetic materials, we then ﬁnd that

B = κ

M

B

0

=

B

0

+χ

M

B

0

. However, as we

will soon see, that relationship does not hold so easily for ferromagnetic materials. The reason is that in

ferromagnetic materials, an external ﬁeld can align dipoles so well that essentially all of them are aligned.

At that point, clearly, increasing the external ﬁeld will have no eﬀect on the material’s dipole alignment -

they are already aligned, and so

B

is at a maximum.

When all dipoles are aligned, and an external ﬁeld cannot increase the material’s induced ﬁeld further, we

call that saturation.

Say we have a material where each atom contributes with 2 Bohr magnetons, with a “density” of N = 10

29

atoms per cubic meter in our material.

Inside the material, a solid material, the atoms will be nicely packed together. We can imagine them as a

lot of small current loops in a grid; each column of the grid (which is really 3-dimensional, of course) then

looks a lot like a solenoid - many small windings, each with a current through them. Since we’ve said that

all dipole moments will be aligned, we can indeed approximate the B-ﬁeld strength using the equation for

91

a solenoid’s magnetic ﬁeld.

Each column will have an area A and a height ; let’s = 1 meter, for simplicity. Each column is then

A = A m

3

in volume. The equation for the B-ﬁeld inside a solenoid is

B = µ

0

I

N

**So somehow, we need to ﬁnd a way to put µ
**

B

inside there. Note that N in the above equation is the

number of windings, while N is a diﬀerent symbol (look closely), which is the number of atoms per cubic

meter.

If we take the area (not the volume!) A times N, we get the number of atoms per meter. Since each atom

is really a “winding” of this “solenoid”, we can substitute this term in for

N

**in the solenoid equation, since
**

that term means nothing but the number of windings per meter. Thus, we have

B = µ

0

IAN

A-ha! But µ = IA, so we have

B = µ

0

µ N = µ

0

(2µ

B

)N

... using 2 times the Bohr magneton µ

B

as the value for the dipole moment. We can thus calculate the

B-ﬁeld strength by putting numbers in the above equation:

B ≈ (4π10

−7

)(2 9.3 10

−24

)(10

2

9) ≈ 2.34 T

The units of Wb/Am times A m

2

times m

−3

check out, and equal the unit of tesla (since 1 tesla is 1

Weber per square meter).

So for the values we have chosen, with 2 Bohr magneton dipole moment per atom, and 10

2

9 atoms per

cubic meter, about 2.3 tesla is the value we ﬁnd for the maximum B-ﬁeld strength due to the material

itself.

8.1.1 Ferromagnetism and hysteresis

Let’s now look at the B-ﬁeld strength inside a ferromagnetic material. Let’s say that it has a relative

permeability κ

M

= 1000, to start with. That will only hold for a part of this section, however!

If we try to plot this, we will be unable to do so on a linear scale. Say we plot the vacuum ﬁeld B

0

on the

x axis, and the induced ﬁeld B

**on the y axis. Since κ
**

M

= 1000, for each unit we go towards the right, we

need to go 1000 units up! That is clearly not possible to draw in an easy way, on a to-scale linear plot.

Nevertheless, say we do this on a linear plot, just not to scale.

In the beginning, the slope will indeed be the κ

m

of 1000, but after a while, so many of the atomic dipoles

will have aligned, that the eﬀect of further increasing the external B-ﬁeld lessens. There then comes a

point where increasing it has no eﬀect at all on B

**, when all (or close to all) dipoles are aligned; this is
**

what we call saturation. If we do this on the material where we calculated this above, then B

will have a

magnitude of about 2.3 tesla when we reach the saturation point.

At this stage, then, the eﬀect increasing the external ﬁeld will have on B

is essentially zero.

The total ﬁeld B = B

0

+B

**inside the material can however always be increased, by increasing the strength
**

of the external ﬁeld; B

**is the only ﬁeld that is at its maximum strength.
**

92

Say we start with a nonmagnetic ferromagnetic material, and stick it inside a solenoid. B

vac

, the vacuum

ﬁeld, we can always calculate: we know how to ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld inside a solenoid, all we need to measure

is the current through it.

So we start at the origin, and increase the vacuum ﬁeld, until we reach to point in the top right (in the

ﬁgure above), where B

saturates.

We then reduce the current in the solenoid to 0, and B

vac

reaches zero (at point P, just above), as expected.

However, B is not zero, because the ferromagnetic material has now become a permanent magnet!

Note that we then see that B has two possible values for B

vac

= 0!

But wait, there’s more!

If we now change the direction of the current in the solenoid, the vacuum ﬁeld will reverse direction, to

the left side of the y axis. If we increase the current (in the new direction) until we reach point Q, we

see that the net ﬁeld in the material is now zero! The domains in the material are still pointing to the

direction they were in at point P, which is now in the opposite direction of the vacuum ﬁeld, since we just

reversed that.

If we then move the current back to zero again, the vacuum ﬁeld goes away, and we end up at point S

(also above). The material is now a permanent magnet again, but this time in the opposite direction as it

was before, since we coerced the domains to reverse direction.

93

Finally, if we increase the current in the original direction again, we go from S back up to the point it the

top right.

Note that if we were to decrease it again now, we would get back to point P! We can not get back to the

origin again simply by reversing the current.

This also implies that given a material, if we expose it to an external ﬁeld, we cannot calculate what the

ﬁeld inside will be - since it depends upon the history of the material.

Looking at the relative permeability κ

M

, then, shows why we cannot use a ﬁxed value for ferromagnetic

materials. At the two points where the hysteresis curve meets the x axis (outside the origin) , κ

M

must

be zero, because there is a vacuum ﬁeld, but the B-ﬁeld inside the material is zero! B = κ

M

B

vac

, so κ

M

must be 0 if B

vac

is greater than zero, but B is exactly zero.

Consider the situation in the upper-left quadrant. The vacuum ﬁeld is towards the left, but the B-ﬁeld

inside the material is towards the right - so κ

M

must be negative! The same applies to the lower-right

quadrant.

Demagnetization

This raises the question: can we get the material back to being unmagnetized? The answer is yes, we can.

If we heat it above its Curie point, that will destroy the magnetic domains, and when it cools back down,

it should be unmagnetized. We can also possibly do it by shock - hitting it with a hammer, etc.

Another nice solution is to pass a sinusoidal current through it, with decreasing current, which is called

demagnetization.

Because B

vac

is linearly proportional to the current I through the solenoid, if we pass a sinusoidal current

through it, the B-ﬁeld inside the material will move along the hysteresis curve we just saw.

However, if we gradually decrease the current’s magnitude, we gradually move “inwards”, so that the

points where we cut the x axis move closer and closer to the origin, and when the current reaches zero,

the material has been demagnetized.

Ferromagnetic materials and ﬁeld changes

If we have a permanent magnet (top left in the illustration below), and we move a bit of nonmagnetized

ferromagnetic material near it, what will happen? I think we all know, in part even since childhood, that

the ferromagnetic material will be attracted to the magnet.

Using our new knowledge, we also know that the “atomic dipoles” inside the material will align to support

the external ﬁeld, which in turn causes the net ﬁeld to strenghthen in the left/right plane, and so there

will be an “induced” south pole near the north pole of the magnet. Due to the strengthened ﬁeld inside

the material, the external ﬁeld lines are sort of “sucked in” into the material (the pink lines).

94

Because of this, the external ﬁeld will weaken towards the left of the picture, where two ﬁeld lines are drawn.

This can be (and is, in the lecture) be shown experimentally, by tying a ferromagnetic nail to a thread,

with a magnet hanging down. The nail is tied such that it is held up, against gravity, by the attracting

magnetic force.

When we move another ferromagnetic object (a wrench, in the lecture) towards the other side, the ﬁeld

lines are “sucked in” to the wrench, and the ﬁeld weakens around the nail, and it falls down, without even

being touched.

It is also demonstrated that while this eﬀect also happens with paramagnetic materials, such as aluminium,

it is so positively tiny that the nail stays up with no problems.

8.1.2 Maxwell’s equations

Now that we have learned about magnetic materials, we can ﬁnally write down the complete set of

Maxwell’s equations (in integral form). There is only one of the four that changes, and that one is

Ampere’s law.

Looking at the other three equations (below), there is no reason to suspect that magnetic permeability

would cause any change. However, Ampere’s law uses a µ

0

term, which is the permeability of the classical

vacuum. If the permeability of the medium in question is diﬀerent, then we need to use the medium’s

permeability, by adding in a κ

M

, so that we have κ

M

µ

0

instead. All in all, the four equations are, in

integral form (the only form taught in this course):

E

dA =

Q

free

κ

0

(Gauss’s law)

B

dA = 0 (Gauss’s law for magnetism)

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

(Faraday’s law of induction)

_

B

d = κ

M

µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

dΦ

E

dt

_

(Ampere’s law)

95

8.2 Review for Exam 2

The list of topics covered on the exam, as stated on the transparency in lecture:

• Magnetic ﬁelds & ﬁeld energy

• Lorentz force

• Cyclotrons

• Biot–Savart Law

• Solenoids

• Ampere’s law – displacement current

• Lenz’s law

• Faraday’s law of induction

• Motional EMF

• Induction – eddy currents

• AC – dynamos

• 3–phase current

• Induction motors

• Aurora

• Magnetic levitation – bullet trains

• Self–inductance

• RL circuits

Quite a lot! Of course, knowing all the material from the ﬁrst exam is most likely necessary, too, so the

full list ought to be everything learned in the course so far.

Everything covered in the review was, well, a review... So I didn’t take any additional notes.

96

Chapter 9

Week 9

9.1 Transformers, Car Coils and RC circuits

9.1.1 RC circuits

We previously looked at series RL circuits - circuits with an inductor and a resistor, plus a power source

and a switch. We will now look at series RC circuits - so the only diﬀerence is that we replace the inductor

with a capacitor.

Thus, we have a circuit of a capacitor, resistor, battery with EMF V

0

, and a switch, going around the

circuit on the blackboard clockwise (not that order matters!).

The two nodes the capacitor are connected to are labelled V

A

and V

P

, so the capacitor voltage is

V

C

= V

A

−V

P

Intuition goes a long way when it comes to solving this circuit, especially for the simple cases t = 0 and

t →∞, just after we close the switch, and when it has been closed for a very, very long time.

Capacitors take time to charge up to a voltage, just as how inductors take time to “charge” with a current.

The two circuit elements are duals - as mentioned previously. That means that while inductors take time

to let a current through, with a EMF that goes down to 0 with time, capacitors are the opposite: the

current goes to 0 with time, while the voltage increases to its maximum.

So at t = 0, we expect the capacitor to be unchanged (V

C

= 0), but charging (I = I

max

=

V

0

R

).

At t →∞, the current must die down, at which point V

C

= V

0

(otherwise part of the battery’s EMF must

be across the resistor, which means I =

V

R

,= 0). So at this point, V

C

= V

0

and I = 0.

What about in between? Well, to ﬁnd the correct answer, let’s get serious and analyze this circuit properly.

The lecture questions asks us to use Faraday’s law, which is unnecessary since there is no changing magnetic

ﬂux (Kirchhoﬀ’s rule works), but let’s do so.

We start “before” the battery and go clockwise, adding whereever the electric ﬁeld is in the direction we

are moving, subtracting otherwise. We ﬁnd:

−V

0

+

Q

C

+ IR = −

dΦ

B

dt

= 0

Alternatively, adding when we go up in potential, subtracting when we go down:

+V

0

−

Q

C

−IR = 0

97

The equations are of course the same, with both sides having been multiplied by −1 in the second case.

We can write I as

dQ

dt

, which it equals by deﬁnition. We then get, rearranged,

Q

C

+ R

dQ

dt

−V

0

= 0

... which is a diﬀerential equation in one variable. The solution to it, given the initial condition V

C

(0) = 0,

is

Q(t) = V

0

C

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

__

Knowing the charge is generally not that useful, but knowing the current is; since current is the time

derivative of charge, we diﬀerentiate this result with respect to t:

dQ

dt

= I(t) = V

0

C

_

1

RC

exp

_

−

t

RC

__

I(t) =

V

0

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

To ﬁnd the voltage across the capacitor, we simply use the deﬁnition of V =

Q

C

, and the result for Q we

already found. We divide out the C, and ﬁnd

V

C

(t) =

Q(t)

C

= V

0

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

__

Much like RL circuits, RC circuits also have a time constant τ (tau). In the case of RC circuits, it’s given

by RC, the unit of which is seconds:

Ohm =

Volt

Ampere

Farad =

Coulomb

Volt

Ohm Farad =

Volt Coulomb

Ampere Volt

=

Coulomb

Ampere

=

Ampere second

Ampere

= second

As with RL circuits, after one time constant τ, the values have either gone down to

1

e

of their initial value,

or up to (1 −

1

e

) of their maximum, depending on in which direction they are going.

So the potential diﬀerence across the capacitor after one time constant τ = RC is ≈ 63.2% of its maximum,

while the current is down to ≈ 36.79% of its initial value.

If we now ﬂip the switch in the circuit, such that the capacitor and resistor are in series with nothing else

in there, the capacitor will dischange and its stored energy will be burned as heat in the resistor.

The equation governing that circuit will be

Q

C

−IR = 0

98

If we deﬁne I to be positive in the opposite direction, this turns into

Q

C

+ R

dQ

dt

= 0

The solution for that diﬀerential equation is

Q(t) = V

0

C exp

_

−

t

RC

_

We use the same tricks (dividing by C and diﬀerentiating with respect to t, respectively) to ﬁnd V

C

(t) and

I(t):

V

C

(t) =

Q(t)

C

= V

0

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

dQ

dt

= V

0

C

_

−

1

RC

_

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

= −

V

0

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

I(t) = −

dQ

dt

=

V

0

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

So the current will now ﬂow in the counterclockwise direction (remember that we redeﬁned a positive I as

counterclockwise) as opposed to clockwise back when the battery was charging the capacitor.

So to summarize, when charging a capacitor in a simple RC circuit, the following equations apply:

I(t) =

V

0

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

V

C

(t) = V

0

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

__

When discharging, the following equations apply (assuming it is charged to voltage V

0

):

I(t) =

V

0

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

V

C

(t) = V

0

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

... where the current is in the opposite direction when discharging.

99

9.1.2 Transformers

Transformers are used to transform AC (and only AC!) currents and voltages.

To construct one, we take a coil, which we call the primary, with N

1

turns, and self-inductance L

1

.

We then add a second winding, electrically isolated, around the same core. This winding is called the

secondary, and has N

2

turns and self-inductance L

2

.

Since they are wound “together” (while electrically isolated), there is magnetic ﬂux coupling between the

two. As the current changes in the primary, via Faraday’s law, a current is induced in the secondary.

So, we apply Faraday’s law to the primary side. We begin at the top, and ﬁrst go through the primary

coil, where we know there is no electric ﬁeld (since we treat the inductor as ideal, R = 0). Thus that

doesn’t contribute to the integral at all.

We then reach the voltmeter, where the current is opposing the direction we are moving around the circuit,

so it contributes with a −V

1

term. According to Faraday’s law, that is then equal to the negative of the

rate of charge of magnetic ﬂux, or

−V

1

= −L

1

dI

1

dt

... via the deﬁnition of inductance. This is a simpliﬁed result, where the proper result also has a term

related to the mutual inductance between the two coils, and the current in the secondary.

We do the same on the secondary. The current is clockwise here as well, so we get a positive contribution

at the voltmeter:

V

2

+ 0 = −L

2

dI

2

dt

Again, we ignore the contribution of the mutual inductance.

The −L

dI

dt

are, as usual, the induced EMF due to Faraday’s law. Therefore, we can also write the equations

as

[V

1

[ = E

1

= −L

1

dI

1

dt

= −N

1

dΦ

B

dt

[V

2

[ = E

2

= −L

2

dI

2

dt

= −N

2

dΦ

B

dt

Due to the way the coils are constructed, assuming we have perfect magnetic coupling, the ﬂux term is

the same for both equations! Therefore, we ﬁnd that

¸

¸

¸

¸

V

2

V

1

¸

¸

¸

¸

=

N

2

N

1

The result speaks for itself: we can choose the number of windings on each coil such that we create huge

voltages at the secondary - step-up transformation - or, we can do the opposite, and get a step-down

100

transformer instead.

Because ideal transformers are lossless, we can show that as power is conserved, a transformer that steps

down voltage will step up current, and vice versa. Thus, a transformer with N

2

/N

1

= 100 will draw a

much larger current on the primary than it delivers on the secondary, since the voltage at the secondary is

larger, but the power must be the same on both sides. If we ﬂip the primary and secondary, the opposite

is true: with the ﬂip, the output voltage is very low, but the current is much greater than the current

drawn at the primary.

The product V

1

I

2

is always equal to V

2

I

2

in an ideal transformer; more on this below.

Keep in mind that these voltages are peak values (or RMS values); transformers only work with AC, since

there would be no change in magnetic ﬂux for DC.

Transformation is used a lot in power distribution. As discussed earlier in the course, power transfer is

done at very high voltages, which means we can power with less I

2

R losses, as I becomes smaller for a

given power transferred.

The power is generated, upconverted to a few 100 kilovolts or so, and fed into the power lines. When

it reaches a city, it is stepped down, but is still in the kilovolts range. Then, close to homes, it is again

stepped down, to the ≈ 110 −120 volts or ≈ 230 −240 volts used around the world.

Let’s return to talking about currents in transformers. The currents are proportional/inversely propertional

to the windings ratio if a few things are true - that by no means are always true. They are:

• R ¸ωL in both the primary and the secondary

• No energy is lost to eddy currents, e.g. in the transformer core, which is often iron

• The ﬂux coupling is ideal, so that the ﬂux in the primary equals the ﬂux in the secondary

In these cases, power is conserved, so V

1

I

1

= V

2

= I

2

.

If all of these are true, then it is true that

¸

¸

¸

¸

I

2

I

1

¸

¸

¸

¸

=

N

1

N

2

9.1.3 Spark plugs / “car coils”

We can use our newfound knowledge on transformers to understand how the spark plug in a car works.

(A spark plug is used to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the engine.)

The car battery is a 12-volt DC battery. However, by placing a switch in series with the transformer’s

primary, we can still get a huge

dI

1

dt

value by letting the current built up, with the switch closed, and then

opening the switch, thus instantaneously breaking the current.

L

1

will then try to oppose this change, and generate an EMF in response. However, the magnetic ﬂux

change responsible for the EMF, via Faraday’s law, is shared by the secondary.

101

The secondary is then wound such that N

2

¸ N

1

, and the induced EMF in the secondary will be way

higher than the already high value in the primary.

Therefore, if we simply connect two wires to the secondary, and place them a short space apart, we will

get sparks between them if the electric ﬁeld between them exceeds the roughly 3 million volts per meter

that causes electric breakdown in air.

For a distance of, say 3 mm, that voltage would be 9 kilovolts. We cound generate a hundred times that

with this method, but that would not be necessary for this usage.

9.2 Driven RLC circuits and resonance

We have discussed RL and RC circuits previously, and will now discuss RLC circuits (or LCR, or LCR,

etc.), i.e. series circuits with a power source, a resistor, a capacitor and an inductor.

We will only talk about the case of a sinusoidal voltage applied to the circuit.

Walking clockwise from the top-left corner in the circuit on the blackboard, using Faraday’s law, we get

Q

C

+ 0 + IR −V

0

cos ωt = −L

dI

dt

The zero term comes from the self-inductor: we treat it as ideal, so the E-ﬁeld inside is zero, and thus it

has no real voltage drop. Measuring across it will show a voltage, which is rather an induced EMF than

a true potential diﬀerence.

We want to write everything in terms of Q, plus the constants (R, L, C and V

0

, so we replace the

dI

dt

with

its other form, via I =

dQ

dt

, and move it to the other side at the same time:

Q

C

+ R

dQ

dt

+ L

d

2

Q

dt

2

= V

0

cos ωt

The way to solve this second-order diﬀerential equation wasn’t shown in lecture, as that is the subject of

a course not yet taught at this stage at the MIT students’ studies.

The solution for the current in the circuit is given as

I(t) =

V

0

_

R

2

+

_

ωL −

1

ωC

_

2

cos (ωt −φ)

where

tan φ =

ωL −

1

ωC

R

As before, the expression multiplying the cosine is the maximum current possible through the circuit, at

a particular V

0

.

This solution is only valid for the steady state. When we power such a circuit up, the sine wave will be

multiplied by an exponential term, which turns into 1 once steady state is reached.

We can now deﬁne two (or four, perhaps) new terms. The term in the numerator of the tangent is called

the reactance, symbol X, and is eﬀectively a frequency-dependent resistance:

X = ωL −

1

ωC

Combined with the resistance, the reactance gives us the impedance, symbol Z:

102

Z =

√

R

2

+ X

2

=

¸

R

2

+

_

ωL −

1

ωC

_

2

The two parts of the reactance are the inductive reactance X

L

= ωL and the capacitive reactance

X

C

=

1

ωC

, respectively.

Both reactance and impedence have the units of ohms, and can in many cases be treated as resistances,

as long as the input is sinusoidal.

The solution has a few quite interesting subtleties. One of them is resonance: there will be a value for ω

where the current is at a maximum. We can ﬁnd this by doing some simple math (no calculus optimization

required). Looking at the expression for I

max

:

I

max

=

V

0

_

R

2

+ (ωL −

1

ωC

)

2

... we see that no matter what, the R term will limit the current. Since the reactance is squared, we

cannot get it negative, only zero. So it will be at its lowest when

ωL −

1

ωC

= 0

ω

2

CL −1 = 0

ω

2

CL = 1

ω =

1

√

LC

This is known as the resonance frequency, often given the symbol ω

0

.

At resonance, the current is given simply by

I

max

=

V

0

R

The current will also be in phase with the driving voltage, as φ becomes zero.

Do note, however, that when not at resonance, φ can be either greater than zero (which causes a phase

lag: current lagging the voltage), or smaller than zero, in which case the current leads the voltage. The

latter is due to the capacitive reactance, while the former is due to the inductive reactance.

Let’s now look at how the circuit behaves at diﬀerent values of ω, the driving frequency, for ﬁxed values

of R, L and C.

As the frequency is extremely low, ω →0, the current will go to zero, due to the capacitor. At that point,

our current really goes to DC, and so we charge the capacitor to V

0

, and then the current stops. This can

of course be seen in the equation, from the

1

ωC

term.

As ω → ∞, the current again becomes zero. This time, the inductor is responsible. With the extremely

high dIdt, the inductor has a lot of “power” to say no to a getting a current through it.

We already saw that the maximum possible current is when the reactance becomes zero, at the point

where the inductive and capacitance reactances take each other out.

Between the two extremes, we got a plot that looks something like this (on a log ω scale):

103

As noted in the graph (in pink), below the resonance frequency, the capacitor plays the main role in de-

ciding the current, and the phase in also in favor of the capacitor, such that the current leads the voltage.

Above the resonance frequency, the inductor dominates. The phase is in favor of the inductor here, such

that the voltage leads the current.

Exactly at the resonance frequency, there is no phase diﬀerence between the voltage and current, and the

current is at a maximum, as stated previously.

There are two points along the plot above where the current is ≈ 0.707 (

1

√

2

) times its maximum value.

These two points are known as the “half-power points”: the power I

2

R will be exactly half of its maximum

when the current is

1

√

2

of its maximum.

If we label the lower half-power point ω

1

and the upper ω

2

, the width ω

2

− ω

1

between these points is

known as the bandwidth, ∆ω, which for a series RLC circuit is

∆ω =

R

L

(the derivation of this is not shown.).

The quality, or quality factor Q, not to be confused with charge, is given by

ω

0

∆ω

=

1

√

LC

L

R

=

L

R

√

LC

=

1

R

_

L

C

... if we ﬂip the fraction and multiply, instead of the unreadable 4-level fraction division.

Clearly, this is inversely proportional to the bandwidth, so the narrower the bandwidth, the higher the

quality factor, and vice versa. A high-quality resonator will have a very narrow and sharp peak.

Resonant circuits can be used in radios, TVs, etc, to select a station. The antenna will recieve a wide

variety of stations all at the same time, and a ﬁnely tuned, high-Q resonant circuit with adjustable ω

0

(often using an adjustable capacitor) is used to ﬁlter out one of them.

In reality, it is more complex, but the principle is absolutely used as part of the full solution.

Metal detectors also use resonant circuits. They are often built using two coils, ﬁnely tuned, and at

resonance. When a piece of metal comes near, eddy currents are induced in the metal, and so the magnetic

ﬂux coupling between the loop changes, the mutual inductance between the two coils is disturbed, and the

system goes oﬀ resonance, and sounds the alarm.

The metal detectors at airport use this principle in a very simple matter: you walk in between the two

coils, having one of them on each side of you. If the circuit is sensitive enough, a piece of metal moved in

between them can disturb the resonance enough that it is detectable.

104

9.3 Traveling waves and standing waves

9.3.1 Traveling waves

Say we have a very simple equation, such as

y =

1

3

x

and we want to make it “move” towards the right, at a certain velocity v = 6.

All we have to do to make this happen is to replace x with x −vt, so we have

y =

1

3

(x −vt) =

x

3

−2t

At t = 0, this simpliﬁes down to the original equation, At t > 0, the equation will be shifted, and if

graphed, it will have moved towards the right.

Replace the minus sign in x − vt with a plus sign, and it will instead move towards the left, again with

velocity v.

Let’s look at a diﬀerent function: y = 2 sin(3x). This time, we have a proper wave.

On this plot, we measure the wavelength λ (Greek lowercase lambda) as the length of a full cycle, so the

time between one peak and the next, or one trough and the next (or any two similar points).

In this example, the wavelength is λ =

2π

3

.

We also introduce the symbol k for the wave number, deﬁned as k =

2π

λ

, so k = 3 for this case. So k is

then the number multiplying x in the sine function.

Now, can we make this wave move, in the same manner as we did with the line? Indeed, we do as we did

before: we replace x with x −vt. For v = 6 m/s again, we ﬁnd

y = 2 sin(3(x −6t))

There is more information in this equation: the 2 multiplying the sine gives us the amplitude. The 3, the

wave number, tells us the wavelength (via k =

2π

λ

, so λ =

2π

k

), and the 6 tells us the velocity. The minus

sign also tells us that it is travelling towards the right. Thus the equation is of the form

y = Asin(k(x −vt))

If we attach a rope to a spinning wheel, we can create a traveling wave, propagating in the rope.

Say the wheel rotates with angular frequency ω. The period of one wave will as always be T =

2π

ω

. One

wavelength λ is as always the length between two peaks of the wave, or the distance traveled during one

105

period, which is simply λ = vT, which also equals =

v

f

, where f is the frequency in hertz (f =

1

T

, and

ω = 2πf). It’s then also true that f =

v

λ

.

We can write the equation in a diﬀerent form:

y = Asin(kx −ωt)

Via the conversion formulas we just found, this too contains all the information. k gives the spatial in-

formation, such as λ. ω gives the angular frequency/frequency/period/velocity, either alone or combined

with k: v =

ω

k

As an example, let’s look at the equation

y = 4 sin(2(3x −9t))

If we multiply it out, we get

y = 4 sin(6x −18t)

... which tells us k = 6 and ω = 18, traveling towards the right.

Thus the amplitude is A = 4, the velocity v =

ω

k

= 3 m/s. The wavelength is λ = vT = v

2π

ω

=

2π

3

18 =

π

3

,

and the frequency f =

ω

2π

=

9

π

.

9.3.2 Standing waves

Say we have a wave

y

1

= y

0

sin(kx −ωt)

which is the travelling towards the right. However, we also have a second wave, identical except for a plus

sign, which tells us it is travelling towards the left:

y

2

= y

0

sin(kx + ωt)

Via trigonometric identities, the sum of these is

y = y

1

+ y

2

= 2y

0

sin(kx) cos(ωt)

This is a standing wave. If we plot it at various values of t, we ﬁnd that some points, called nodes, are

completely ﬁxed: their y-value is ﬁxed. These points occur at multiples of

λ

2

.

All points along the curve that are not nodes will move up and down, but not towards the left or towards

the right - note that there is no x − t anywhere any more. So the sinusoid will essentially bob up and

down, while standing still.

We can make standing waves in a similar fashion to making traveling waves, but we need to get the fre-

quency of them just right.

Say we have a length of string, and we hold it ﬁxed at the ends, so the ends become nodes.

It is held by two people, and one of them is moving their “node” up and down slightly (which makes it not

a node, but with small movements, we can ignore that). When the wave reaches the end of the string, it

will reﬂect back towards the ﬁrst person. When it comes back to the ﬁrst person, it will again reﬂect, etc.

If the conditions are right, these reﬂections can support each other, and the amplitude will increase. This

happens at a set of frequencies, which we call the resonance frequencies, in a similar fashion to RLC

106

circuits. However, in this case, there are in theory an inﬁnite amount of such frequencies.

For the lowest possible such frequency, which we call the fundamental (or ﬁrst harmonic), there will be

nodes at the ends of the string, but nowhere else. Thus the length of the string will be half the wavelength

- or, the wavelength will be twice the string’s length.

For the next possible frequency, the second harmonic, the frequency is exactly twice that of the ﬁrst har-

monic. Here, there will be a node at the exact center of the string, which will not move at all. So now we

have three nodes: one at each end, plus one at the exact center.

For the third harmonic, the frequency is exactly three times the ﬁrst harmonic’s frequency, and there will

be another node, splitting the string into 3 parts that move, with a total of 4 nodes (one at each end, one

at 1/3 of the string’s length, and one at 2/3 the string’s length).

There are always n + 1 nodes for the nth harmonic, assuming we count nodes at the string ends.

The fundamental, denoted by

1

, is then 2L, where L is the length of the string, as we stated above.

The frequency of the fundamental, f

1

, is given by f

1

=

v

λ

in general, so in this case, f

1

=

v

2L

.

For the second harmonic, λ

2

= L, which follows from f

2

= 2f

1

(or from drawing it out, in which case it is

immediately obvious).

In general, then,

λ

n

=

2L

n

f

n

=

v

λ

n

= nf

1

=

nv

2L

9.3.3 Musical instruments

When we “excite” a string in an instruments — whether it is a string inside a piano being hit by a hammer,

a guitar string hit by a guitar pick, or a violin string hit by a bow — it will be exposed to a whole range

of frequencies. However, it will tend to oscillate only in the resonant frequencies, which is why we can get

well-tuned sound out of such instruments.

So a ring that has a resonant frequency of 400 Hz, when struck, will tend to oscillate at 400 Hz, 800 Hz,

1200 Hz etc., all at the same time.

So for designing a stringed musical instrument, a key equation is

f

1

=

v

2L

v is decided by the string’s material and tension:

v =

¸

Tension

Mass/length

(proved in the next MIT physics course, 8.03 “Vibrations and Waves”, not here).

A regular steel-stringed guitar usually has roughly the same tension for all strings, something on the order

of 7-10 kg-force of tension per string for a 6-string guitar in standard tuning, with standard string gauges.

The diﬀerence between the strings is then mostly in their material - indeed, they usually all diﬀer in thick-

ness, from 0.010" for the thinnest E string, to 0.046" for the thickest. (Diﬀerent guitarists have diﬀerent

tastes; 0.009"-0.0042" is about the thinnest anyone uses, and they can go up to about 0.013"-0.056", still

107

in standard tuning, which then causes much more tension).

The tension is what we adjust when we tune a stringed instruments - we wind the string either more (more

tension) or less, until it resonates at the (fundamental) frequency we want.

When we play the instrument, we change the string’s length, by shortening it with our ﬁngers.

On fretted instruments, like guitars and electric basses, the string is shortened by a metal bar (the fret)

going across the neck; there are usually 17-24 such frets on a guitar.

The instrument’s sound is then generated as the string vibrates, which pushes and pulls on the surrounding

air, creating pressure waves in the air. Those pressure waves eventually reach our ear drums, and causes

the ear drums to vibrate at the same frequencies. That is then interpreted as sound by the ear and our

brains.

Let’s now discuss wind instruments.

Say we have a completely closed box, of length L. At the left end of the box, we put a loudspeaker, which

generates a certain sound frequency.

We can now get resonance, and a standing wave, in the air inside the box. The frequencies are goverened

by the same equation as for the stringed instruments, except that v is now ﬁxed: it is the speed of sound

in the air inside the box.

We can’t do much about the temperature - but if it does change, the fundamental of the instrument will

also change. This can be compensated for by adjusting L to cancel out the error, if applicable to the

instrument.

Because of the equation that governs them (above), the smaller L is, the higher the fundamental frequency.

Therefore a trombone, which is large, has a lower frequency than a trumpet, which is smaller. A tuba has

an even lower frequency sound.

For a ﬂute, if you cover all the drilled holes on it, the “resonant chamber” will be long, and the frequency

will be low. If you take your ﬁngers oﬀ the holes, so that they are open, the frequency will go up.

108

Chapter 10

Week 10

10.1 Resonance, electromagnetic waves

The lecture begins with talk about mechanical resonance, without much math or things to take notes of.

It is demonstrated how playing a loud tone at a wine glass’s resonance frequency can shatter the glass.

After that, a movie is shown about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, that collapsed only 4 months after its

construction in 1940.

The bridge resonated with the wind, such that huge waves went along it. On the day of its collapse, it

went into a “twisting” motion that proved too much for it to handle, and the bridge collapsed. I would

recommend looking up footage of this on the internet, as the collapse was actually ﬁlmed.

Let’s now turn to electromagnetic waves. Two of Maxwell’s equations are extra important here:

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

(Faraday’s law)

_

B

d = µ

0

κ

m

_

I +

0

κ

dΦ

E

dt

_

(Ampere-Maxwell law)

At least to begin with, we will introduce EM waves without the rigorous diﬀerential equation treatment.

As the above equations show, we can get an electric ﬁeld due to a changing magnetic ﬁeld (Faraday’s law).

Not only that, but we can also get a magnetic ﬁeld due to a changing electric ﬁeld (the Ampere-Maxwell

law).

One possible EM wave that meets all four of Maxwell’s equations is

E = E

0

ˆ x cos(kz −ωt)

B = B

0

ˆ y cos(kz −ωt)

Thus, the electric ﬁeld is solely in the x direction, the magnetic ﬁeld solely in the y direction, while the

wave propagates in the (positive) z direction, as seen by the term inside the cosine. Furthermore, we see

that they have the same frequency/wavelength, and that they are in phase with each other. That is, when

E = 0, B = 0, and when E = E

0

(the maximum value), B = B

0

, etc.

The wave propagates with v =

ω

k

= c, with c being the symbol for the speed of light (in a vacuum), about

3 10

8

m/s (to within 0.07%!).

The equations above are for a plane wave. If we take a plane perpendicular to z, at a single moment in

time, the E and B vectors are the same everywhere in that plane. They satisfy Maxwell’s equations only

if

B

0

=

E

0

c

109

and

c =

1

√

µ

0

0

Now, let’s move into some math.

At t = 0, we draw a loop in the y-z plane. Due to the nature of a plane wave, the ﬁeld is constant along

one value of y, so the marked strip with width dz has a constant ﬁeld along one side. If we assume dz is

very small, we can consider the ﬁeld constant through its width.

We mark the width (in the z dimension) as λ/4 as it will simplify the result we get.

We attach a ﬂat surface to the loop, bounded by λ/4, and the y and z axes, and apply Ampere’s law to

it:

_

B

d =

0

µ

0

dΦ

E

dt

Because we are in a vacuum, κ

m

= κ = 1, and I = 0 as there can be no conduction current through a

vacuum.

First, what is the ﬂux through one such slice dz? Flux is the dot product of E-ﬁeld strength dot area, so

the ﬂux is

dΦ

E

= dzE

0

cos(kz −ωt)

if we choose dir

dA = ˆ x, i.e.

dA points upwards.

We need to ﬁnd the ﬂux through the entire surface, though, so we integrate the above:

Φ

E

=

_

λ/4

0

dzE

0

cos(kz −ωt) = E

0

_

λ/4

0

cos(kz −ωt)dz

We could simply integrate this, take the time derivative, and have our answer - but doing that in math

software yields a relatively complex answer, as we need to substitute a few values to make the answer

(very) simple.

dΦ

E

dt

= E

0

d

dt

_

_

λ/4

0

cos(kz −ωt)dz

_

We can diﬀerentiate this inside the integral, instead of ﬁrst calculating the integral and then taking the

derivative of what we ﬁnd; this will make the calculation involve fewer terms.

When we take the time derivative of cos(kz − ωt), a −ω term comes outside. Since ω is a constant, we

move it outside the integral, too. The cosine turns into −sin inside the integral; we then substitute for

t = 0, so that the integral turns into

_

/4

0

−sin(kz). Combining these steps, we get

110

dΦ

E

dt

= −E

0

ω

_

λ/4

0

−sin(kz)dz

= E

0

ω

_

λ/4

0

sin(kz)dz (cancelling minus signs)

= E

0

ω

λ

2π

We get this result after calculating the integral, and then making the substitution k =

2π

λ

(we could make

the opposite substitution as well). We can simplify it further:

dΦ

E

dt

= E

0

ω

λ

2π

= E

0

ω

2π

λ

= E

0

fλ

= E

0

v

= E

0

c

The second line is simply a rewrite with no actual change. In the third, we use f =

2π

λ

. In the fourth, we

use v = fλ, and in the last, the velocity v of EM radiation is c, the speed of light (or perhaps rather the

speed of EM radiation!) in a vacuum.

So we ﬁnally have the change in electric ﬂux, and we now need to do the closed loop integral of the

Ampere-Maxwell law. With the result we just found, we now have

_

B

d = µ

0

0

E

0

c

Keep in mind that

B is strictly in the +ˆ y direction, i.e. out of the blackboard. If we do the closed loop

integral, counterclockwise as seen from above, starting at the outer edge, we ﬁnd that for the outer edge,

B and

d are perpendicular; one is in +ˆ y and one in +ˆ z, so that contributes nothing to the dot product.

For the rightmost side, the B-ﬁeld is zero everywhere along the line, by the deﬁnition of the plane wave.

(It is zero for all y along that line.)

For the short inner portion, they are again perpendicular, so that part doesn’t contribute.

The only part that does contribute is the part along the y axis, with length . The ﬁeld is constant along

111

that line - again, deﬁnition of a plane wave, so that part simply contributes B

0

. So with the integral

evaluating to that simple value, we ﬁnd

B

0

= µ

0

0

E

0

c

B

0

= µ

0

0

E

0

c

The cancels, and we ﬁnd a relation between the two ﬁeld strengths.

The following properties are always true of traveling EM waves:

E ⊥ v

B ⊥ v

E ⊥

B

E and

B are in phase

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ v

B =

E

0

c

c =

1

√

µ

0

0

The second-last one does not contradict our ﬁnding above, because of the last one. We can solve the two

as a system of equations and will ﬁnd the value for c shown, which means that the two equations are really

equivalent.

We know that electromagnetic waves travel at (propagate at) c ≈ 3 10

8

m/s, we can then calculate some

rough times required to move certain distances.

One foot takes about a nanosecond. 30 meters, the length of the lecture hall where the lecture is recorded,

about 0.1 microsecond. In one second, it can move all the way to the moon, and about eight minutes to

the sun. That is, it takes light 8 minutes to move between the surface of the sun and the Earth.

The closest star (except for the sun, of course!), Proxima Centauri, is about 4.2 lightyears away, so light

would (by the deﬁnition of a lightyear) take light 4.2 years to travel to us from there.

The nearest large galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, is about 2.5 million lightyears away. When we look at

it in the sky, we see it as it were 2.5 million years ago!

Since one year is (in the deﬁnition used) 365.25 days (on average), one year is 365.25 24 60 60 = 31557600

seconds, so multiplying that by the speed of light, we ﬁnd that one light year is about 9.46 10

15

meters.

10.1.1 Radar and measuring distance

We can measure distances by measuring how long it takes for light to reﬂect oﬀ a target.

We sent a pulse, and begin measuring the time taken. When the reﬂection returns, we stop measuring,

and calculate the distance as

2d = ct

d =

ct

2

where t is the measured time, and c is as usual the speed of light. We have to divide by two since the light

has travelled both there and back, and we only want the one-way distance.

We can measure the distance to the moon in this way, by sending focused laser pulses. Astronauts from

both the US Apollo missions and the Soviets have left corner reﬂectors / retroreﬂectors on the moon.

112

These devices reﬂect light back in the exact direction it came from - as opposed to a mirror/mirror-like

surface, where the angle would be of the same magnitude, but the reﬂection would only come back if you

looked at it exactly straight on.

10.1.2 Radio

Now to something slightly diﬀerent: radio, as in both radio waves and radio stations. An AM radio station

might transmit somewhere in the 1000-1000 kHz range (as an order of magnitude). How is audible sound,

<20 kHz, transmitted that way?

Well, we use AM: amplitude modulation. First, we generate a carrier wave, a high-frequency sinusoid.

The frequency of the carrier wave is the frequency a listener will have to tune in to.

We then modulate that signal, by changing its amplitude, by essentially simply multiplying the two

frequencies. Thus we will end up with a signal that is of the (simpliﬁed, not truly accurate) form

y = sin(2π10

6

t) cos(2π10

3

t)

To listen to such a station, we tune an RLC circuit in our radio to the carrier frequency, such that it is at

resonance only at the frequency we want to listen to. (We need a high-Q / low-bandwidth resonator for

this, or we might pick out nearby stations as well!)

After that, we need to demodulate the signal, to get only the envelope, which is what was the signal to

begin with (at the radio station).

10.2 Index of refraction and Poynting vector

10.2.1 Poynting vector

Let’s now look at the energy content of electromagnetic waves. We have seen earlier that electric ﬁelds

and magnetic ﬁelds both have an associated energy density, given by

U

E

=

1

2

0

E

2

J/m

3

U

B

=

1

2

µ

0

B

2

=

1

2µ

0

E

2

c

2

J/m

3

The latter follows from the equivalence B

0

=

E

0

c

that we found earlier.

However,

c =

1

√

µ

0

0

c

2

=

1

µ

0

0

Therefore,

U

B

=

1

2µ

0

E

2

µ

0

0

=

1

2

0

E

2

J/m

3

So the energy denssity of the B-ﬁeld is exactly the same as the energy density of the E-ﬁeld in EM waves!

The total energy density is then the sum, so we just get rid of the one-half, ane we ﬁnd

U

total

=

0

E

2

=

0

EBc

where we use that E = Bc (via B =

E

c

).

113

Now that we know that EM waves carry some energy, we can ask the question: if an EM wave passes

through a surface, how much energy passes through one square meter per second? That is, what is the

energy ﬂux, in watts per square meter (joules per second per square meter)?

Imagine a square surface, of side one meter, perpendicular in space to the wave’s propagation. Thus, the

dot product works out to not have the cosine term, as that would equal one (cos θ = cos 0 = 1).

Since light travels a distance of c meters in one second, we can calculate the energy stored in a “box” that

goes back such a distance from the square we are interested in. We know that all energy inside this box

will pass through the square, so we calculate the total energy by multiplying the energy density by c 1 1

cubic meters, and ﬁnd

U

total

c =

0

EBc

2

Because c

2

=

1

µ

0

0

, that is equivalent to

U

total

c =

EB

µ

0

The unit of this is then (as noted above) watts per square meter, or

J

m

2

s

.

What we have found is called the Poynting vector, named after its inventor (though it was simultanesously

created by others, as well). The pronunciation is very close to “pointing vector” (many likely say it exactly

like that), perhaps with a bit more of the “y” sound. It is generally written as

S =

E

B

µ

0

E and

B are always perpendicular in a traveling EM wave, so the cross product can be seen as being there

only to provide the direction; the magnitude is always [

S[ =

EB

µ

0

.

E and

B are not constant in value, however! They are sinusoidal in nature, and so the Poynting vector

must be described by a sin

2

or cos

2

function.

We can think about its time averaged value, which may be more useful, since it varies constantly (and

usually with extremely high frequency - visible light is in the 10

14

Hz range, for example!).

The time average of a sin

2

or cos

2

is one half the maximum, so we ﬁnd

¸S¸ =

1

2

E

0

B

0

µ

0

=

1

2

E

0

2

µ

0

c

10.2.2 Waves due to accelerating charges

Now that we have learned a bit about plane waves, let’s look at some other types. Plane waves are useful

for modelling some situations, but far from all.

Given the equation for a plane wave, we can calculate its value for any time, past or present, at any point

in space, no matter how distant. That’s not too realistic.

Let’s look at the electric ﬁeld lines of an accelerating point charge.

114

To the left, we have a few point lines of a point charge (postive or negative; we can’t tell from the lines

alone, and it doesn’t matter.)

To the right, inside the circle, we have one point charge, at two points it time: t = 0 and t = ∆t.

The circle - really a sphere in three dimensions - has a radius of c∆t, which is the distance light can travel

in the time that has passed.

Just outside the circle/sphere, we draw the ﬁeld lines as they are at time t = 0 (in white), radially outwards

from the point charge in the center.

In pink, we have the “new” ﬁeld lines of the charge, at its new location, at t = ∆t.

Because these are the same ﬁeld lines, only at a diﬀerent location, they must be connected to the “old” ﬁeld

lines. Information about the change in location cannot have propagated to outside the sphere, because

light travels at a ﬁnite velocity. Therefore, the “old” and “new” ﬁeld lines must be connected, which we

draw as the green kinks.

Note that the ﬁeld line on the direction of movement is straight and without any kinks.

At this point in the lecture, there is a video demonstration of this, with moving/accelerating charges,

which really must be seen in video.

So similarly to what we have in the picture above, and the video, we can look at an antenna, with an AC

current going through it. Clearly, if the charges move back and forth, they need to start and stop, too,

which means they must accelerate (both positive and negative acceleration, i.e. deceleration).

Along the direction of the current, there will be no EM waves produced, for the reason shown above and

in the video. In the plane perpendicular to the current, the ﬁeld strength will be at a maximum, and for

angles in between, the value will be somewhere between zero and the maximum.

10.2.3 Spherical waves and the Poynting vector

Let’s return to the Poynting vector.

If assume that the Sun has a symmetric, radial power output of 3 10

26

watts, then we can calculate a

rough number for the amount of received power per square meter, at the surface of the Earth, 150 million

km away:

p = 3 10

26

W

1

4π(150 10

9

m)

2

≈ 1061 W/m

2

≈ 1 kW/m

2

This is modelled as a spherical wave - a plane wave has a constant value, as the energy is not spreading

out, but moving together as a plane.

We can think of spherical waves as emanating from a point source, such that the intensity falls oﬀ as

1

r

2

.

The greater the distance (the 150 10

9

m here) is, the greater the surface area of the sphere where the

energy ﬂux density is calculated, and the lower the energy ﬂux density is. (Of course, if we could surround

115

the entire sun, then we would capture the entire output regardless of the radius of our sphere, just that

the energy ﬂux per square meter of the sphere would be lower for greater radii.)

If we instead think of this as a plane wave, we can calculate the equivalent electric ﬁeld:

1000 =

E

0

2

µ

0

c

E

0

≈ 613 V/m

(the lecture says 870 V/m, but I’m not sure how that number is found!)

Regardless of the exact number, what does this represent? Well, it’s some equivalent E-ﬁeld value, that

would produce this energy ﬂux if it were a plane wave. Is that useful? Perhaps, perhaps not, depending

on what we are trying to do.

We can often choose a model to use - plane waves, spherical waves, individual photons - to explain some

phenomenon.

10.2.4 Photons and radiation pressure

Next, let’s have a look at photons. Photons are individual light particles - “quanta” of light. Each photon

has a certain frequency, and a certain energy (the energy is proportional to the frequency).

Because photons have energy, they have momentum - despite having no mass!

In classical mechanics, the magnitude of momentum is given by p = mv, which clearly must be 0 for a

massless particle.

The answer comes from Einstein’s relativity, and “the world’s most famous equation”... except the famous

form is simpliﬁed:

E = mc

2

This is only a special case of the full version:

E

2

= p

2

c

2

+ m

2

c

4

Thus, for a photon, with mass m = 0, we ﬁnd

E

2

= p

2

c

2

E = pc

p =

E

c

(E = mc

2

is the special case where p = 0, for a body it its rest frame.)

So we see that the momentum of a photon is given by the energy it carries, divided by the speed of light.

But now, something else happens: the transfer of momentum is what we call force (

F =

d p

dt

- Newton’s

second law)!

So say we have a square meter, perpendicular to some incoming EM radiation (at a wavelength that would

be absorbed by the surface). Using the Poynting vector, we have

S =

energy

m

2

s

If we divide both sides by c, we ﬁnd

S

c

=

energy

c m

2

s

We ﬁnd that E/c term again, which is the momentum. So this can be rewritten as

116

S

c

=

momentum

m

2

s

The units of this is then momentum per unit time, which is force, per square meter, which is pressure.

We call this pressure radiation pressure. So what this is saying is that for a given area, with a certain

amount of incoming EM radiation perpendicular to it, there will be a force proportional to the area, and

proportional to the energy contained in each photon, pushing this surface “backwards” (in the same direc-

tion as the radiation wave is propagating).

Keeping in mind that the time-average value of the Poynting vector is what we are really interested in, we

can write the pressure as

p =

¸S¸

c

α

where

α =

_

¸

_

¸

_

0, if the material is entirely transparent to the radiation,

1, if 100% of the radiation is absorbed,

2, if 100% of the radiation is reﬂected

Of course, values in between are also possible.

The reason for these values can be seen quite easily from the conservation of momentum.

The professor used the examples of throwing tomatoes earlier in the lecture, so we will use that mechanical

analogue.

Since classical momentum is the product of mass and velocity, a (very large!) tomato of mass 1 kg, moving

at 5 m/s, will have a momentum of 5 newton-seconds. If one such tomato hits a target per second, and

falls straight down after hitting, a force of 5 newtons will be applied to the target.

If the tomato were instead somehow bouncing back, in a perfectly elastic collision, then the force would

be twice that: ﬁrst the momentum is “absorbed” by the target, and then it must add the same magnitude

of momentum back in the opposite direction, so the transfer of momentum is twice as large.

In between the lecture segments, we have the following question:

“What is the radiation pressure on a spherical iron asteroid of approximate radius 100 m? The asteroid is

at a distance of about 400 million km from the sun. Assume that all radiation is absorbed. Again assume

that the power output of the Sun is 3 10

26

W as shown in the lecture (note that the actual measured

value is closer to 3.8 10

26

W).”

We take the Sun’s power output to be spherically symmetric, so the energy ﬂux density at the distance is

¸S¸ = 3 10

26

1

4π(400 10

9

m)

2

≈ 149.2 W/m

2

We divide that by c, and ﬁnd the radiation pressure:

p ≈

149.2

3 10

8

≈ 5 10

−7

N/m

2

The pressure will only be on half the asteroid, as only one side is facing the Sun.

While we will ﬁnd a half-decent approximation by multiplying the area facing the sun (2πr

2

) with the

pressure, we really need to consider that parts of that area are almost entirely parallel to the pressure,

while the area near the asteroid’s center will be mostly perpendicular.

F = πr

2

p

We can then calculate the force due to the radiation pressure:

117

F = π(5 10

−7

)100

2

≈ 0.0157 ≈ 0.02 N

(I’m not a fan of the rounding, but apparently this is the way to calculate it; I did it diﬀerently to begin

with, which found exactly 0.02, but that method was incorrect!)

That’s a very small force indeed! We can compare it with the gravitational force between the asteroid and

the sun. The Sun’s mass is 2 10

30

kg, and the density of iron 7.87 g/cm

3

(= 7870 kg/m

3

) (as given in the

question).

Gravitational force is given by

F

g

= G

m

1

m

2

r

2

with the m variables being the masses, and G the gravitational constant, G ≈ 6.67 10

−11

, and r the

distance between the objects. We ﬁnd

F

g

≈ 6.67 10

−11

(2 10

30

)(7870 4/3 π 100

3

)

(400 10

9

)

2

≈ 2.8 10

7

N

Well, that force is about about 1.4 billion times stronger than the force due to radiation pressure! Radiation

pressure thus has a very small eﬀect, but one that still cannot be neglected! Interplanetary spacecraft can

veer oﬀ course by hundreds or thousands of kilometers if radiation pressure is neglected.

10.2.5 Polarization

Let’s look at the electric ﬁeld due to an oscillating charge, moving back and forth with frequency ω, at

the center of the coordinate system above.

Say we are at point P, with the position vector r to the origin, and angle θ from the z axis.

Knowing some rules will allow us to ﬁnd the E-ﬁeld at point P.

First oﬀ,

E is always perpendicular to r.

Second, a, r and

E are always located in one plane.

If we double the charge, or double the acceleration, the E-ﬁeld strength will double. That is

E ∝ qa

As stated earlier, however, no EM radiation will go out in the direction of accerelation (θ = 0), and the

maximum will go out perpendicular to that direction (θ =

π

2

). We can show this by adding a sin θ term

to the proportionaly equation.

The E-ﬁeld strength is also inversely proportional to the distance r, so we ﬁnd

118

E ∝

qa sin θ

r

Because E is also proportional to B, and because the Poynting vector

S is proportional to the product of

E and

B,

S ∝

q

2

a

2

sin

2

θ

r

2

For the same reasons as the sun’s energy ﬂux density falls of as

1

r

2

, this must do so, too, or conservation

of energy would be violated.

Here is a transparency sheet showing linear polarization:

At the center, we have our oscillating point charge, constantly accelerating up and down.

We see that there is no EM waves going out upwards, since that is in the same direction that the charge

is oscillating.

To the middle-left, bottom-left, middle-right and bottom-right of the image, we are in the plane perpen-

dicular to the oscillation, and so we see a maximum of the EM radiation here.

In the top right of the image, we see that for θ ≈

π

4

, the magnitude of the E-vector is smaller, but still

not zero as it is at the top (θ = 0).

We also see that a, r and

E are all in one plane (to see this, ﬁrst look at the leftmost or rightmost set of

r and

E, and then the angled one).

We call this linearly polarized radiation. The electric ﬁeld and the magnetic are in phase, as this is a plane

wave.

If instead we had two perpendicular plane waves of equal amplitude, but with a 90 degree diﬀerence in

phase, we would call that circular polarization.

The ending of the lecture (lecture 28) should really be seen, as it clearly demonstrates polarization, and

explains and shows it much, much better than I could hope to do using only text and a few images here

119

and there.

(Of course, these notes are not intended to ever be a replacement for the lectures! They are incomplete, may

contain some errors, and are ridiculously unlikely to explain things as well as a world-famous professor!)

10.3 Snell’s law, refraction and total reﬂection

Say we have a water surface, surrounded by air, and a light beam hits that surface, as seen here:

Some light will be reﬂected, and turn back up into the air. Some light will be refracted, and enter the

water.

The incident light (the incoming light), the reﬂected light and the refracted light all lie in one plane.

For the reﬂections, θ

1

= θ

3

, where the angles are measured with respect to the normal to the surface, as

shown. That is, the reﬂection will exit at the same angle as it entered, something we all see intuitively

from using mirrors.

Willebrord Snellius introducted the concept of index of refraction, or n.

A material’s index of refraction is the ratio between the speed of light in a vacuum, to the speed of light

in the material. Thus, if light travels at v = 0.5c in a material, that material’s index of refraction is 2.

n =

c

v

For this reason, n ≥ 1 for all regular materials.

The index of refraction of vacuum is, by deﬁnition, one. For air, it is extremely close to 1, and is therefore

usually treated as 1. Water’s index of refraction is about 1.3, and glass’s about 1.5.

Snell’s law states that

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

n

2

n

1

Or, equivalently, and perhaps easier to remember,

n

1

sin θ

1

= n

2

sin θ

2

120

Thus, the ratio of the material’s indices of refractions is related to the ratio of the sines of the angles.

Alternatively, we can think of it as a ratio of the speed of light in the material, in which case we ﬁnd

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

v

1

v

2

Snell’s law appears to have been ﬁrst discovered by Muslim scholar Ibn Sahl, in 974 AD, 637 years prior

to Snellius! The western name remains Snell’s law, however.

Using Snell’s law - which remains its name - we can calculate the angle θ

2

given the materials’ refraction

indices and the angle of incidence θ

1

.

As an very quick example, let’s look at the case above, going from air to water. Say the angle of incidence,

θ

1

, is 60 degrees. n

1

= 1 and n

2

= 1.3, so

sin π/3

sin θ

2

= 1.3

sin θ

2

=

sin π/3

1.3

sin

_

π

3

_

=

√

3

2

, so

θ

2

= arcsin

√

3

2 1.3

≈ 41.77

◦

10.3.1 Total internal reﬂection

Let’s then look at the reverse situation:

Here, the light ray is going from water, to air.

The lecture question asks, for n

1

= 1.331 (n

2

= 1, as it is air), how large must θ

1

be for θ

2

to equal 90

degrees?

We set up Snell’s law again:

sin θ

1

sin π/2

=

1

1.331

sin θ

1

=

1

1.331

θ

1

= arcsin

_

1

1.331

_

≈ 48.70

◦

121

If the angle is greater than that, nature cannot deal with that refraction, and we get total reﬂection: all

the light is reﬂected, back into the water. Total reﬂection happens when the angle is greater than a critical

angle, that is

sin θ

c

r =

n

2

n

1

, if n

1

> n

2

So in this case, the critical angle is 48.7

◦

. If θ

1

is greater than that, there would be no refraction, only

reﬂection.

This principle (total internal reﬂection) has some interesting uses. Perhaps most signiﬁcantly, it is the

principle behind optical ﬁber, used (among other things) to create high-speed data links between comput-

ers, cities, and even countries and continents.

Such a ﬁber is made from a continuous piece of a form of glass or plastic. Light enters one end, runs in

a straight line until it hits the outside, which is manufactured to have a lower refractive index than the

inside. Therefore, as long as the angle is greater than the critical angle, total internal reﬂection causes the

light to keep bouncing away inside the ﬁber.

This process is repeated over and over and over, until it reaches the end of the ﬁber.

Materials research have made modern optical ﬁber extremely low-loss: a single unbroken piece of ﬁber can

be used to communicate over a distance of several hundred kilometers without any elecrtrical equipment

to strengthen the signal.

When a surface is smooth, parallel incoming light beams will reﬂect with equal angles (θ

3

= θ

1

), and thus

exit in parallel; we call this a specular reﬂection. Shining a laser pointer on a mirror is a great example of

a specular reﬂection.

If the surface is rough, incoming light may be reﬂected in essentially random directions, and the light

will not exit with the same angle, but exit in all sorts of directions. We call this a diﬀuse reﬂection; one

example might be a laser pointer on a wooden table - or on most non-shiny surfaces, really.

We will use the term “reﬂection” to mean specular reﬂection, as those are the kinds that can be easily

calculated, without knowing near-atomic-scale details of surfaces.

If a light ray enters a material, and then exits again, the new twice-refracted light ray will always be

parallel with the incident ray. It will not be on the straight line, however, unless n

1

= n

2

.

10.3.2 Frequency and wavelength in refraction

As light enters a medium, its frequency stays constant, but its wavelength changes. The relationship

v = λf

must always hold, but because v changes upon entering a diﬀerent material, one of the other two must

also decrease. The frequency cannot change, imagine a wave passing two observers inside two diﬀerent

material; point A is just before the boundary between the two materials, and point B just after. If

the wave’s frequency diﬀers between the two points, that would imply that energy were piling up or

disappearing around the boundary.

Thus, the wavelength has to change. The wavelengths follow the relationship

v

1

= λ

1

f

v

2

= λ

2

f

λ

1

λ

2

=

v

1

v

2

=

n

2

n

1

We saw previously that the speed of light is given by

122

c =

1

√

0

µ

0

As this result uses only two results, the (electric) permittivity of the vaccuum

0

, and the (magnetic)

permeability of the vacuum µ

0

, it would make sense that if we instead used a material’s permittivity and

permeability values, we would get the answer for the speed of light inside that medium. And, indeed, we

do. That is:

v =

1

√

0

µ

0

κκ

M

We can also write this as

v =

c

√

κκ

M

... which tells us that because

v =

c

n

n =

√

κκ

M

Thus, we can calculate the index of refraction for any material for which we know it’s dielectric constant

and relative permeability.

Both of these two values are functions of frequency. Of course, κ

M

≈ 1 for most materials (paramagnetic

and diamagnetic materials), so that doesn’t have a huge eﬀect on the refractive index.

That they depend on frequency makes intuitive sense, when we think about what they represent.

The dielectric constant tells us how strongly dipoles in a material align to cancel out the external ﬁeld.

However, they only align due to the external ﬁeld, and so when the external ﬁeld alternates back and

forth extremely quickly, the dipoles don’t quite have time to align. Therefore, κ decreases as frequency

increases.

The same argument can be applied to the relative permeability.

As an example, for water, κ

M

≈ 1 at all frequencies. However, κ varies: at near-zero frequencies, it is

about 79; at 10

8

Hz (100 MHz) it is almost the same, at about 78. At the frequencies of visible light,

about 5 10

8

however, it has dropped drastically to around 1.33 or so (depending on the exact wavelength,

as we’ll see next).

10.3.3 Dispersion, prisms and white light

Due to the eﬀect discussed above, the index of refraction depends on the wavelength of the light.

In water, the index of refraction for red light is about n

red

= 1.331, while that for blue light is about

n

blue

= 1.343; so we see that red light is about 0.9% faster than blue light in water.

We call this eﬀect dispersion.

What we perceive as white is a combination of others colors. Therefore, we can use a prism to split white

light into its constituent colors, using dispersion. Because the index of refraction is diﬀerent for each color

(or each wavelength/frequency), the colors will split up as soon as they enter the prism. Because the

side they exit the prism on will not be parallel with the side they enter it on, the refraction will not be

cancelled, but rather enhanced further, i.e. the diﬀerent colors are separated further.

So if we shine white light (combining all wavelengths) into a prism, we will see the visible spectrum of

colors on the other side. In order of decreasing wavelength: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

These are the colors of the rainbow, and are also often given as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo

and violet (Roy G. Biv as a mnemonic - think of it as a name).

123

Say that we are in a room lit by a regular, incandescent light bulb. The light will be comprised on various

frequencies, and will be roughly white (more yellow-reddish, but still comprising many colors).

Without this wide-spectrum light, we could not see colors properly. In a room lit exclusively by a

monochromic (single-color) red, we could not perceive green or blue, only shades of red.

Therefore, we always design general-purpose light bulbs to produce many colors of light.

(You may have seen the yellow-orange-ish light produced by sodium-vapor street bulbs, and how every-

thing looks orange-y in such light.)

10.3.4 Primary colors

The human eye has three types of cone cells, that respond to diﬀerent wavelengths of light (they each have

a wavelength that is the most likely to cause a response). One type responds best to short wavelengths

(blue), one to medium wavelengths (green) and one to long wavelengths (green-yellow); the latter two have

signiﬁcant overlap.

Because of these three cone cell types, we can create almost any color of light (to a human observer) by

mixing red, green and blue light in the correct proportions.

Those three colors are then known as primary colors.

Computer graphics (and televisions, etc.) are based around this concept. A modern LCD display works

by mixing these three colors, as in this example:

124

(Photo of LCD screen by Mattia Luigi Nappi, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0)

The top picture shows a zoomed-out version of a picture of an LCD screen (displaying a picture of a man

in a tie). The bottom picture is the full-sized version, displaying the same pixels ase the area marked in

white.

It’s clear here that each pixel (each “dot” on the screen) is made up by three subpixels: one red, one green

and one blue.

Other display technologies exist, but all combine these colors in one way or another, to create an image

with millions (16.7 million for 8 bits per color channel) to billions (1.07 billion colors for 10 bits per color

channel) of colors, from having just varying intensities of red, green and blue arranged in some pattern.

125

Chapter 11

Week 11

11.1 Polarizers and and Malus’s law

This lecture will focus entirely on the polarization of visible light.

The light from the sun or light from a light bulb is not polarized.

If we think about individual photons as plane waves, each photon will have a well-deﬁned linear polariza-

tion.

A collection of multiple photons may then look like the above, where each photon is coming straight out

of the blackboard, with the lines representing the direction of oscillation of the E-ﬁeld.

Some are horizontal, some vertical, some at angles... and there is no preferred direction if we average over

time.

In 1938, Edwin Land invented a material that can polarize such light. Consider the case of a diagonally

polarized photon entering the polarizer, when the polarizer is held such that it polarizes vertically:

The resulting polarized photon will have a magnitude that is equal to the vertical component of the incom-

ing photon, in other words, E

0

cos θ, where θ is the angle between the polarizer direction and the photon,

126

as shown.

We can ﬁnd light intensity (in watts per square meter) using the Poynting vector, which is proportional

to E

2

- or E B, where B is proportional to E.

Because of this square dependence, the intensity is reduced by cos

2

θ.

In order to ﬁnd the intensity change over the average of all incoming photons, we take an average of this,

over all possible angles. The average of a cosine squared function is one half the maximum, as we’ve seen

before. Thus, in a best-case theoretical scenario, we halve the intensity, but in return get 100% linearly

polarized radiation, when inputting entirely unpolarized radiation.

If we had such a polarizer, it would be an HN50 polarizer - meaning 50% of the light gets through and

becomes polarized.

In reality, we can only get smaller numbers than that, such as HN25, HN40, etc, for polarizers where 25%

or 40% of the incoming light gets through, respectively.

Let’s try to apply that:

“Linearly polarized light of intensity I

0

passes through an HN25 linear polarizer. An HN25 polarizer lets

through 1/2 as much light as an ideal HN50 polarizer which has no attenuation at all. The angle between

the E-vector of the incoming light and the E-vector of the outgoing light that emerges from the other side

of the HN25 polarizer (i.e. the polarization direction of the HN25) is 30

◦

. What is the intensity of the

light that emerges?”

Let’s see. We have

I = I

0

cos

2

θ

... but that’s for the ideal case of the HN50 polarizer. We need to further halve the result, so the answer

is

I =

1

2

I

0

cos

2

θ =

I

0

2

3

4

= 0.375I

0

This result, that the intensity is reduced by cos

2

θ, is known as Malus’ law.

Two things should be noted here, however: one is that not 100% of the light exiting a polarizer will be

polarized. The ratio of the transmission of the unwanted components to the wanted is called the extinction

ratio, which is about 1:500 for Polaroid ﬁlm, but can be 1 : 10

6

for certain polarizers.

The second is that the way we talk about individual photons essentially losing energy through a polarizer

is not true.

Blue light has a higher frequency (shorter wavelength) than red light. Violet is the shortest wavelength

we can see; ultraviolet is shorter. On the other side of the scale, red is the longest wavelength we can see,

and longer wavelengths are infrared.

A photon either comes through a polarizer, or it doesn’t. If it did come through with less energy, its

wavelength would have shifted to become longer (as wavelength and photon energy are related via c), and

the color of the photon would have become redder. This is not the case.

As usual with “small” things, quantum mechanics has the correct answer. Malus’ law does hold, however,

even through our derivation was a bit of a cheat.

11.1.1 Polarization by reﬂection

We can produce polarized light without a polarizer per se, by relecting it oﬀ a dielectric, like glass or

water.

Unfortunately, the full derivation (using Maxwell’s equations) isn’t shown, and instead it’s mentioned that

127

the derivation will be part of MIT’s 8.03 course (“Vibrations and Waves”).

Let’s have a look:

In order to do this, we need to decompose the vectors into two components: one perpendicular to the

blackboard (in to/out of the blackboard), and one parallel to the blackboard. Both are perpendicular to

the ray’s propagation, however, which is a must for traveling EM waves.

Apart from the decomposition, there is nothing new going on here: we have a reﬂection, where the reﬂec-

tion angle equals the angle of incidence, and a refraction, for which we can use Snell’s law.

The incident light, reﬂected light and refracted light all lie in one plane (the plane of the blackboard, in

this case): we call this the incident plane, or plane of incidence.

The incident light is not polarized in our example. That implies that that the perpendicular and parallel

components of the incident light must be equal, or else the light would have a preferred direction, and

thus not be entirely unpolarized.

Using Maxwell’s equations, in the derivation not shown, we can relate the parallel components of these

beams. We get two relations, and two equations: one that relates the parallel components of the incident

light and the reﬂected light, and another that does that same for the parallell components of the incident

light and the refracted light.

We can do the same with the perpendicular components, which gives another two equations, for a total of

four.

Looking at those four (unmentioned) equations, it can be seen that while the parallel and perpendicular

components of the incident light must be equal, that will no longer be the case for the reﬂected light, nor

for the refracted light. In other words, they will be partially polarized.

One of the four equations, for the parallel components of the incident and reﬂected light, is:

E

0refl

= E

0inc

n

1

cos θ

2

−n

2

cos θ

1

n

1

cos θ

2

+ n

2

cos θ

1

We can simplify this using Snell’s law (again, derivation not shown):

E

0refl

= −E

0inc

tan(θ

1

−θ

2

)

tan(θ

1

+ θ

2

)

Remember, however, that the light intensity is related to the Poynting vector, which in turn is proportional

to E

0

2

, while the above gives the value for E

0

; we need to square the above to get a relation useful for

128

light intensity.

In the equation above, we can see that as θ

1

+ θ

2

goes to 90 degrees, we get the tangent of 90 degrees,

which in inﬁnite in magnitude. That means the parallel component goes to zero - and so if any light exits,

then clearly it must be 100% polarized in the penpendicular direction!

If θ

1

+ θ

2

is 90 degrees, via trigonometry,

sin θ

2

= cos θ

1

So in this special case, we can replace all sin θ

2

’s with cos θ

1

’s. That means we can write down Snell’s law:

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

n

2

n

1

=

sin θ

1

cos θ

1

=

tan θ

1

So when the condition is met that

tan θ

1

=

n

2

n

1

we get 100% polarized reﬂections (or possibly no reﬂections at all). The angle for which this happens is

then

θ

1

= arctan

_

n

2

n

1

_

This is known as the Brewster angle (or Brewster’s angle), after its discoverer.

This has another interesting meaning: when 100% polarized light hits this surface - polarized in the correct

direction, of course - there will be no reﬂection whatsoever, and the light is perfectly transmitted through

the surface.

The above relation only holds for dielectrics only, not for conductors. Light that reﬂects oﬀ metals will

act diﬀerently.

11.1.2 Polarization by scattering

We have now seen two ways of polarizing light: using polaroid ﬁlm - devices created to be polarizers - and

by reﬂection.

There are many ways light can be come polarized, and by scattering is another.

When light shines through very ﬁne particles (“much smaller than 1/10th of a micron”), the light exiting in

one plane will become 100% polarized; namely in the plane where all photons exit at 90 degrees compared

with the angle at which they enter.

Say a single photon comes in from the left, towards the right, polarized in the up/down direction, all in

the plane of the blackboard.

(We talk about a single photon to begin with, however the light as a whole is unpolarized, with individual

photons polarized in all possible directions.)

The photon enters some ﬁne dust, and so charged particles in the dust (electrons, protons) will experience

an acceleration in the same direction as the photon’s polarization, given by

a =

F

m

=

q

E

m

... where q

**E is the electric force on a charged particle.
**

Electrons, having a much, much lower mass than protons, will experience a much greater acceleration.

129

The charges accelerating and oscillilating up and down to the left (in the picture below), will produce an

oscillating electric ﬁeld at a point P, that is perpendicular to the position vector between them, and in

the same plane as r and a:

There is only one possible direction for those two constraints combined, and it is drawn above.

The photon enters the dust, is absorbed by the dust, and another photon is then re-emitted at exactly the

same frequency. Why?

Well, the incident photon, with angular frequency ω, causes an acceleration in charged particles, again

with that same frequency ω. Accelerating charges cause EM radiation, and the frequency of the radiation

will be the frequency of acceleration, and so the re-emitted photon will have the same frequency as the

incident one.

The direction of the new photon will have changed, however!

There will be no radiation in the direction of acceleration (i.e. in the direction of polarization for the

incident photon), as no EM waves are ever emitted in the direction of acceleration, as we have seen earlier.

There is however a high probability that it leaves in the plane perpendicular to the acceleration (that plane

has the highest probability to contain the re-emitted photon). For angles θ between the acceleration and

the emission direction other than 90 degrees, the probability is lower, but still nonzero. It is only zero at

θ = 0, i.e. in the direction of acceleration.

Light that is scattered at exactly 90 degrees will be 100% polarized.

Consider a light beam (the cylinder), consisting of many photons, each individually polarized in random

directions, so that the light beam as a whole can be considered unpolarized, drawn here as the lines in all

directions inside the cylinder.

130

Each photon individually moves into the dust, and is scattered according to its own polarization.

The ones that exit at a 90 degree angle with respect to the incident beam will become 100% polarized, i.e.

the ones going to the left or right as shown, plus out of or in to the blackboard.

So in that plane, all light will become 100% polarized. We can look at that plane from above, look at the

beam head-on, so that the photons would be coming straight out of the blackboard.

Now, we see three individual photons (drawn in white, pink and blue), each with a diﬀerent polarization,

coming out of the blackboard (we are looking into the beam).

If we then draw a position vector r as shown, how will the light be polarized at the end of that vector,

after having been scattered?

Well, it must still follow the same two rules: perpendicular to r, and in the plane of r and a. There is only

one solution per photon - and only one solution altogether, and so, as shown, they are all polarized in the

same direction, and so the light is 100% polarized when scattered at a 90 degree angle.

At a 45 degree angle (or angle between 0 and 90 degrees), the light exiting will only be partially polarized.

At 0 degrees, it will remain unpolarized.

11.1.3 Scattering demonstration and Rayleigh scattering

In the demonstration for this 90-degree-polarization, by shining light on cigarette smoke (made up of very

ﬁne particles), another phenomenon is obvious: most of the light that exits is blue. That is because the

probability of light scattering is way higher for blue light (short wavelengths) than it is for red light, so

the smoke appears blue.

This phenomenon is known as Rayleigh scattering. The equation involved for the scattering light intensity

is fairly complex, but it’s notable that it is proportional to λ

−4

. In other words, smaller values for lambda

(bluer light) will yield much higher values; the scattering probability is about seven times higher for blue

light than it is for red.

When the particles we scatter the light oﬀ are much larger than the above less than 0.1 microns, the eﬀect

the wavelength has is reduced, and for much larger particles, it is negligible.

Rayleigh scattering is the reason for why the sky is blue (and red, at dawn and sunset). Mid-day, the

sun is high in the sky, and light scatters oﬀ dust in the atmosphere, and even oﬀ the air particles, due to

thermal ﬂuctuations that cause density diﬀerences in the atmosphere.

131

The light that reaches us on the ground, that is not in the direction of the sun itself, is then in big part

scattered light. Due to the dependence on wavelength, more of that scattered light will be blue, and so

the sky appears blue.

At a 90 degree angle to the sun, because of what we discussed above, the light will be linearly polarized.

At other angles, it will be partially polarized.

Clouds are white because the particle sizes involved are large enough that scattering is about equally likely

for all colors.

Rayleigh scattering also tells us why the sky is red at dawn or sunset (as mentioned above).

It those cases, the sun is very low in the sky, and the sunlight has to go through a lot of more atmosphere

in order to reach someone on Earth’s surface. Because blue light is scattered more than red light (and

green light, being in between blue and red in wavelength, also being scattered more than red), most of

that light will have scattered away from the rays that ﬁnally reach you.

And so, only the red light remains.

Clouds are reddish at dawn/sunset for about the same reason: the light that reaches the cloud, and

eventually reaches you, is mostly devoid of shorter wavelengths, since those have been scattered away

already.

Having only red light shine on an otherwise white object will make it appear red, and that is what we see.

11.2 Rainbows

The lecture begins with the professor asking 15 questions about rainbows: if the red is on the inside or the

outside, the radius and width of the bow in degrees, whether it is brighter on the inside or the outside,

where they can be seen in the sky (in which direction), and many more, to illustrate that while everyone

has looked at a rainbow, not many have truly seen them.

132

Above is a single raindrop, with the sun at the horizon for simplicity.

So sunlight hits the raindrop. We draw a single ray of light, which hits the raindrow with angle of incidence

i (θ

1

in Snell’s law is then i).

Some light is reﬂected at point A, and some is refracted, at an angle r, which we can ﬁnd by using Snell’s

law.

The refracted light will hit point B, where some is again refracted, back into air, and some is reﬂected to

point C.

The light at point C again hits a water-to-air boundary, where some light is refracted out and some re-

ﬂected.

Via Snell’s law, the exit angle for the refraction at point C is i, same as the incidence angle, and via

geometry and the law of reﬂection, the internal angles are all r.

I should point out the angles ϕ and δ as I personally found them hard to see.

ϕ is the angle between the line through the drop’s center (the i = 0 line) and the ray leaving at point C.

δ is the angle all the way around from the same line, so they are related as shown in the second equation

below:

δ = 180

◦

+ 2i −4r (by adding up the deﬂections)

ϕ = 180

◦

−δ = 4r −2i

... where r is given by Snell’s law:

sin i

sin r

=

n

2

n

1

sin i

n

= sin r

r = arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

... where n is the refractive index of the water, for the given wavelength. So the relation between i and ϕ

is

ϕ = 4r −2i = 4 arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

−2i

δ has a minimum value of about 138 degrees, which means ϕ has a maximum of about 42 degrees (180 -

138 degrees). This can be seen if the above equation is plotted, for 0 ≤ i ≤ 90 degrees; 90 degrees being

the maximum possible incidence angle, when light hits the raindrop at the very top.

So far, we’ve only really talked about light entering the top half, and leaving the bottom half of the

raindrop. However, it is after all spherically symmetric, so the opposite can happen. Light can enter the

bottom half, and refract/reﬂect its way to exiting at the top.

Because of this, and because ϕ is in the range 0 to 42 degrees, we get a cone of light that exits the raindrop

on the left side:

133

The angle between the center line and the top is 42 degrees, as is the other angle.

There is axial symmetry around the center line.

None of this light can exit behind, since the angle between the center line an behind is much greater than

the maximum of 42 degrees.

However, these values are for red light, with n ≈ 1.331. For blue light, n ≈ 1.343, for which we ﬁnd

another result! For n

blue

, we instead ﬁnd a maximum for ϕ of 40.7 degrees, instead of 42.4 for red light!

In other words, the angle of maximum intensity varies with the wavelength, which is one of the crucial

eﬀects that produces a rainbow. As mentioned earlier, this eﬀect is known as dispersion. What we get

then, is this:

For red light ϕ

max

is 42.4 degrees. Since that is the maximum, it can vary between 0 and 42.4, depending

on the angle of incidence. If light enters with i = 0, then it will just reﬂect back along the center line;

that’s no problem. The only problem is for the angle to be greater than 42.4 degrees (again, for red light).

For blue light, the maximum angle possible is smaller at about 40.7 degrees, and so that will create a

smaller cone, as shown above. Green is between the two, and will create a cone with an angle in between

40.7 and 42.4 degrees.

However, as emphasized above, those are maximum angles only. For angles of 0 ≤ ϕ ≤ 40.7, all colors of

light are allowed (assuming the blue at 40.7 is the shortest visible wavelength; violet is shorter, but harder

to see), and so we will see white light in the entire center, since white is the mixture of all other colors!

That is, the inside of the rainbow is bright, then we have the bow in all the colors, and the outside is dark

- the light cannot exit that way, since the angle would be greater than the 42.4 degrees maximum for any

visible wavelength of light!

This next part should probably be seen in lecture - video is much better than still pictures for this expla-

nation. I have two pictures, where there should be 4-5 (so that we can see them being drawn one part at

a time).

Here, we have the sun coming in from our left, and rain to our right. If it were also raining to our left, the

light wouldn’t reach the rain on our right side, and we wouldn’t see a rainbow.

134

Light hits the leftmost marked raindrop (and all drops along the line between us and it), and we get the

cone (half-angle of about 42.4 degrees, for the outer ring, the red light) as shown above. However, we are

looking outside that cone, and so we see no light there.

It also hits the bottom marked drop, and we are then looking into the cone, and we see white light at that

location in the sky (and from all other drops on that line).

It also hits the middle marked drop, and we see red light from it - as we are looking right at the edge of

the cone of light.

Of course, all raindrops will be hit by light, and all will act in the same way - but only some will be

visible to us, creating a rainbow in that direction - the direction opposite the sun. We could never see

a rainbow towards the sun, since in order to create a rainbow, light needs to be reﬂected (after some

refraction inside the drop) back towards the sun, and so if we are looking at rain between the sun and us,

the rainbow-colored light would be away from us, and never reach our eyes.

So say the sunlight comes in from an angle, and the sun is higher in the sky that previously.

The rain is still to our right.

We envision a line from our head to our shadow, which then is the line to the sun behind us. At at angle

of 42 degrees above that line, we should see the red in the raindow, with the other colors being slightly

lower, and having white light on the inside.

Because of this relationship, when the sun is low, the bow will be relatively high in the sky. The higher the

sun is, the lower it will become (as the 42.4 degrees from the line will be closer and closer to the ground).

When the sun is at 42 degrees or more in the sky, we can’t see rainbows any more - unless the water is

right next to you (you can create rainbows with a garden hose, for example!).

If we return to the ﬁrst picture in this section on rainbows, with the reﬂection and refraction angles for a

single raindrop, note that at point C, where the light is drawn as exiting by refraction, there will also be

some reﬂection.

If we follow the line of this reﬂection, but backwards - so that sunlight comes from above, shines down

towards point C, refracts in, and reﬂects twice inside the drop before leaving, we will ﬁnd that the light

creates a secondary bow. All we said above applies to the primary.

The secondary bow is fainter than the primary (even faint enough to not be visible at times), but wider

and reversed in the color order.

If we do the math for this secondary bow, we will ﬁnd that the maximum angle for the red will be about

50.4 degrees, while for the blue, it will be about 53.5 degrees, giving a diﬀerence of about 3.1 degrees,

compared to about 1.7 degrees for the primary.

However, because the sun is not a point source - it is about half a degree in the sky - the bows will be

slightly larger than these numbers of 1.7 and 3.1 degrees.

135

Note also that the blue maximum angle is now greater than that of the red, so the colors in the secondary

will be reversed, with violet/blue on the outside and red on the inside.

We can also see, looking at these angles, that the secondary bow will be about 10 degrees above the

primary, so we only need to look slightly above the primary bow to ﬁnd the secondary.

Now, on to answering 12 of the 15 questions asked prior to the lecture.

• Red outside or inside? The red will be on the outside of the primary bow, inside the secondary.

• Radius of the bow in degrees? About 42 degrees, for the primary.

• Length? Depends on the sun’s location, where there is rain, etc. If the sun is high, the bow goes

downwards, and not much is left to see. The bow is part of a circle with a radius of 42 degrees, so

we can ﬁnd the length by knowing how much of it is visible.

• Width (in degrees)? As mentioned above, a bit above the 1.7 degrees we ﬁnd from just looking at a

single raindrop’s angles.

• Light intensity, inside vs outside? The light intensity will be greater inside, as all colors will be

present there (and appear as white light). None of this light can end up outside, so the outside

should be darker.

• At what time of day can we see them? Well, the sun should preferably be fairly low in the sky, to

make a bow visible, so morning or afternoon is perhaps better than mid-day.

• In what direction should we look? In the direction opposite to the sun. (In fact, there is a tertiary

bow in the direction of the sun, but it was only ﬁrst photographed in 2011, after people had tried

for over 100 years, so it is extremely diﬃcult to capture. With your naked eye you would only see

the sun.)

• Is there one or two bows? Two; there is a secondary. (Not counting the ones we essentially cannot

see.)

• If two, where is the second? The secondary is about 10 degrees higher than the primary.

• If two, what is the color sequence of the second? The secondary has its color order, when compared

to the primary.

• What is the radius of the secondary? About 52 degrees.

• Width of the secondary? About 3.5 degrees or so, based on the diﬀerence in angles plus the sun’s

apparent size.

Those are the ﬁrst 12 questions; the remaining three have to do with polarization of the rainbow’s light,

which we will look at shortly. First, a picture from Newton himself:

136

Here, we can see how the sunlight (S) is reﬂected and refracted to reach an observer’s (O) eyes, creating

the primary (lower) bow, and the secondary (higher).

Note how the light in the secondary goes the “other way” around the raindrop, and is subject to one more

reﬂection.

Below, we see a supernumerary bow.

Note that the colors aren’t all “in order”, and that there are multiple green and blue-purple-ish areas.

This cannot be explained by the reﬂection and refractions we’ve talked about previously. Instead, this is

137

because of the wave nature of light.

Interference between rays of light along slightly diﬀerent paths, with diﬀerent phase, cause constructive

interference (for in-phase waves) and destructive interference (for waves out of phase by about half a

wavelength). In the case of destructive interference, the waves cancel each other out.

This can be seen by maxing a graph of two waves, e.g. of sin θ + sin(θ + α) where α varies; at α = π the

wave is completely cancelled out, and at α = 0, the wave’s amplitude is doubled.

Diﬀraction (the interference mentioned above) can also cause entirely white rainbows to appear. In this

case, the water droplets are extremely small, which (for complex reasons) causes the light to essentially

smear out, and so the bow’s colors are all mixed together, creating a box that appears partially or entirely

white.

This can also be combined with the destructive interference eﬀects, causing a white bow with smaller dark

bows inside!

11.2.1 Other atmospherical optical phenomena

Next, we have some other atmospherical optical phenomena.

Around the sun, and around the moon, we can sometimes see a 22

◦

halo.

They are the result of ice crystals in the atmosphere, and form complete circles around their source, with

an angular radius of 22 degrees, giving them their names.

22 degree halos are fairly common. There are also 46 degree halos, that are then of course larger in radius,

but much fainter and thus rare to see.

Then there are “sun dogs”, or more properly, parhelia (singular parhelion):

Sun dogs are always 22 degrees distant from the sun (or moon, in which case they are then called moon

dogs), i.e. at the same distance the 22 halo is. They are always at the same height at as the sun.

They can be seen anywhere in the world, year-round, though that’s not to imply that they are always

visible.

Like the above mentioned halos, sun dogs are due to light refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere.

11.2.2 Polarization of rainbows

We now return to the last three questions, all about the polarization of the light in rainbows.

Is light from rainbows polarized, and if yes, how strongly and in which direction?

138

The answer is yes, and very strongly; as for the direction, the light will be polarized “along” the bow: at

the leftmost part, the polarization will be up/down, curving along the bow, being horizontal at the bow’s

top, and then again turn vertical at the very end.

Looking again at the diagram of the single raindrop, we know that the actual bow shows up when ϕ ≈ 42

degrees, which happens when the angle of incidence is about 60 degrees.

The angle of refraction r is related to i via Snell’s law, as the light is refracted:

r = arcsin

_

sin i

n

2

_

So for n

2

≈ 1.333 in water, and i of 60 degrees, r ≈ 40.5 degrees.

At that point, B, where light is reﬂected back towards the front (left side) of the raindrop, the Brewster

angle is given by

θ

Br

= arctan

n

2

n

1

... where n

2

is the refractive index of the medium the light would be going to (the air, n

2

= 1), and n

1

the refractive index of the water, n

1

≈ 1.333. With those values, we ﬁnd θ

Br

≈ 37.88 degrees, which is of

course very close to the 40.5 or so degree angle of the light coming there.

Because light would be 100% polarized at the Brewster angle, the light will be not 100%, but very strongly

polarized.

11.3 Review for Exam 3

There was just about nothing reviewed that had not been covered previously, as expected, so I did not

take any notes watching this lecture.

139

Chapter 12

Week 12

12.1 Double slit interference and interferometers

Light can be seen as both waves and particles, under diﬀerent circumstances. When light waves interfere

with each other, which this and the next lecture are all about, clearly we use the wave model. It doesn’t

make much sense to think of two photons, each with the same energy, cancelling each other out to become

darkness. With waves, on the other hand, it does - at least from a mathematical viewpoint, where e.g.

sin(x) + sin(x + π) is zero everywhere.

A simple physical example of this is when we have two sources, producing waves with exactly the same

frequency.

In this example, we can think of the waves as two-dimensional waves, such as waves on the surface of a

body of water. However, the same principle applies to EM waves in three dimensions.

Say we are at point P, at t distance r

1

and r

2

away from the two sources, respectively.

If the waves from both sources arrive at the same time, in phase, they will add: the amplitude will become

twice as high, as both the “mountains” and the “valleys” of the waves will add. This is called construc-

tive interference: the two waves interfere in such a way that the net result is greater than either wave alone.

If they were to appear exactly 180 degrees out of phase, and are of the same amplitude, then there will

be points where the net amplitude is zero - the waves cancel each other out. We call this destructive

interference. Therefore, we need to have the waves diﬀer by half a wavelength - which is the same as

saying 180 degrees out of phase. So the diﬀerence between the distances to the two sources, at the point

we are, must be

[r

1

−r

2

[ =

(2n + 1)

2

λ (for destructive interference)

... where n is an integer. This will then yield 0.5λ, 1.5λ, 2.5λ etc.

140

To get constructive interference, the waves need to arrive in phase, so the distance must be a multiple of

the full wavelength. That’s easier:

[r

1

−r

2

[ = nλ (for constructive interference)

We should perhaps call the above total constructive/destructive interference, or something to that eﬀect,

since e.g. two waves, each of amplitude A might add to a wave with an amplitude of say 1.1A, which is

then also constructive interference. The same but in reverse applies to destructive interference: if the sum

of the two waves is smaller than each wave alone, then there is destructive interference.

When the sum of distances like this is a constant, so that r

1

+ r

2

=constant, that gives us the equation

for an ellipse, e.g.

x

2

2

2

+

y

2

3

2

= 1

... which graphs as an ellipse with “height” 3 and “width” 2 (semi-minor axis 2, semi-major axis 3). If we

switch to a diﬀerence, so that we only change from a plus sign to a minus sign, we get a hyperbola instead.

The points (-2, 0) and (2, 0) are solutions to both equations, however.

In three dimensions, if we rotate the entire thing, we get a hyperboloid instead, which (as expected) has a

similar shape, but in three dimensions.

Let’s have a look at how this might look.

(Note that the lines can also be mirrored on the other side! They were only drawn on one side, but they

are equally valid mirrored.)

We have the separation d between the two sources, which are in phase and at the same frequency/wavelength.

At the line where r

2

− r

1

= 0, there will be a maxima in all cases. We can see this from the maxima

equation with n = 0: there will be a maxima there regardless of the wavelength.

In the case of 3 dimensions, the line will instead become a plane, perpendicular to the blackboard.

The yellow lines, where the destructive interference completely cancels out the waves, are called nodal lines,

or nodal surfaces in the three-dimensional case. The maxima (white lines) are then sometimes known as

anti-nodes, or simply maxima.

If we look at the distance between the nodal lines, right in between the two sources (so to the very left

of the long lines), the distance between two adjacent nodal (yellow) lines will be λ/2, and likewise for the

spacing between two adjacent anti-nodal lines.

Therefore, the approximate number of maxima or minima is given by

# maxima, # minima ≈

d

λ/2

=

2d

λ

... where d is the separation between the two sources.

141

Because the curves will be hyperbolas, which are asymptotic to a line (for example, y

2

−x

2

= 1 is asymp-

totic to y = −x in the second and fourth quadrants (x < 0, y > 0 and x > 0, y < 0), and to y = x in the

ﬁrst and third (x > 0, y > 0 and x < 0, y < 0).

Therefore, we can deﬁne an angle between the origin (the center of the two sources), and the hyperbolic

line in the ﬁrst quadrant, at least assuming that we are looking from “far away”, where we can treat the

hyperbola as equal to its asymptote, without any signiﬁcant loss of precision.

In the approximation that r

1

¸ d and r

2

¸ d, i.e. the separation between the sources is negligible

compared tot he distance to them, we can make some simpliﬁcations. First, we can think of the lines

between our point P to the sources as parallel, despite that they obviously cannot be exactly parallel,

since they meet up at P.

This means we can measure the angle θ as shown, which will then prove to be equal at many places, again

as shown.

r

2

−r

1

, shown in pink, can be found via simple trigonometry:

sin θ =

r

2

−r

1

d

r

2

−r

1

= d sin θ

We can now easily ﬁnd the directions where we have constructive and destructive interference.

As we saw earlier, for constructive interference, we want r

2

−r

1

= ±nλ With our newfound equality, that

means

sin θ

n

=

nλ

d

(for constructive interference)

As for destructive interference, we do the same in replacing r

2

−r

1

with d sin θ and ﬁnd

sin θ

n

=

(2n + 1)λ

2d

(for destructive interference)

... adding an index n to the angles, as there will be multiple maxima angles and multiple minima angles.

Now that we know the angles, let us look at what happens if we project this onto a screen a distance L

away, where L is a very large distance (L ¸d).

If we use x to denote distance on the screen, perpendicular the length L (thus a vertical distance), then

we will ﬁnd that

tan θ =

x

L

142

When θ is small, tan θ ≈ sin θ (as tan θ =

sin θ

cos θ

, and cos θ ≈ 1 for small angles).

We can then calculate where the maxima will be on the projection, i.e. where there is constructive inter-

ference on the screen, still at the distance L, as given by the x value. There will be multiple, as there are

multiple angles of maxima being projected.

We know that for constructive interference to occur, the waves must arrive in phase. That is, the diﬀerence

is distance r

2

− r

1

= d sin θ must be a multiple of the wavelength. What implication does that have for

the vertical distance? When x = 0, we will have a maxima - as we saw earlier (as θ = 0 where x = 0). As

x grows, as does θ. The relation is simple, when we are using radians for the angle:

x = θL

For small angles, sin θ ≈ θ, which means that, using the above equivalence

sin θ

n

=

nλ

d

we have

θ

n

≈

nλ

d

(I am not sure about the above reasoning, but since tan θ ≈ sin θ ≈ θ for small angles, it should be true.

The answers are the same as given in lecture, so those are certainly correct.)

We then multiply that by L as we found above, and ﬁnd:

x

n

≈

nLλ

d

(for constructive interference)

that tells us at what linear separations from the center line there will be maxima, at a distance L from

the sources.

Using the similar equivalence for the destructive interference angle, the x values where there are minima

are given by

x

n

≈

(2n + 1)Lλ

2d

(for destructive interference)

However, it is important to remember that these are approximations! They become less and less accurate

as θ grows, and since tan θ →∞ for certain angles, the approximation is truly awful for larger angles. In

such cases, we need to use the actual tangent instead of just the angle or the sine.

Anyhow, let’s look at a diﬀerent way of creating these two sources:

143

We shine bright light - laser light is excellent, as it is essentially monochromatic (only one wavelength) -

onto two very very small slits. According to the Huygens principle, these slits will then act as sources for

secondary waves, and will emit in-phase spherical waves, at the same frequency as the incoming light.

So above, we have the incoming light as plane waves, and on the other side of the two slits, we have two

sources of spherical waves, which will interfere at a screen a certain distance away.

We shine the laser beam, which has a diameter of about 3 mm, onto these slits, which are cut-out of a

black material. The separation between the two lines is d = 0.088 mm, or 8.8 10

−5

m.

The wavelength of the laser light is 6328 Ångström, which is 632.8 nm in units I personally prefer. With

the distance d = 8.8 10

−5

m between the slits, and L ≈ 10 meters, we can calculate the x value for the

ﬁrst maximum (except for the one at x = 0, which is certainly always there if the sources are in phase).

x

1

≈

Lλ

d

≈ 7.2 cm

The result looks like this:

We indeed see that there are places where the two waves cancel each other out, and there is darkness.

The light intensity of the maxima is non-uniform, which will be talked about more next lecture. If the

slots were much thinner (much thinner than the separation between the two), the intensity would be more

uniform, but then less light would pass through the now-thinner slots, and so it is a tradeoﬀ between the

two. Clearly, visibility is important for a demonstration such as this one.

If we do this experiment with white light instead, there will probably not be locations of darkness. The

reason is that since white light is made up by tons of diﬀerent wavelengths, and the location of max-

ima/minima is dependent upon the wavelength, each color of light would have its maxima and minima at

diﬀerent locations in space (except for x = 0, as usual), and so the colors would smear out a bit, and there

would not be any well-deﬁned locations where all light cancels out.

These equations are demonstrated in several diﬀerent ways, showing the extreme similarities between dif-

ferent types of waves: sound waves (λ ≈ 0.113 m), water waves (f ≈ 7 Hz), the red laser light (λ ≈ 630

144

nm) and radar waves (λ ≈ 3 cm).

Let’s look at the radar example. We have

λ = 3 cm

d = 23 cm

L = 120 cm

What is x

1

, the ﬁrst maximum (except x = 0)?

First, we can calculate the angle, using

sin θ

1

=

λ

d

θ

1

= arcsin

_

λ

d

_

≈

λ

d

(for small angles)

Using this small angle approximation, we can calculate x

1

as follows:

x

1

≈

Lλ

d

≈ 15.65 cm

If we ignore the small angle approximation, and use the more correct equation:

tan θ =

x

L

x = Ltan θ = Ltan

_

arcsin

_

λ

d

__

x = 15.787 cm

12.2 Gratings and resolving power

Last lecture, we talked about interference between waves, due to two coherent light sources. This lecture

will talk about this when we have dozens to thousands of sources, rather than just two.

In the case where have many such thin slits (or sources of in-phase spherical waves of the same frequency),

say N such sources/slits, where the distance between two adjacent ones is d (d was previously the distance

between the two sources, where we only had those two), we will in fact ﬁnd the same angles and linear

locations of maxima:

sin θ

n

=

nλ

d

≈ θ

n

(small angle approximation)

So in other words, we will ﬁnd minima in the direction of θ

n

≈

nλ

d

, and we can turn that into a linear

distance by multiplying it by the distance L to the screen. All this is assuming the angles are measured

in radians, and are fairly small.

An intuitive way of thinking about this result that if the top two sources costructively interfere, then

the second and third will also constructively interfere, as will the third and fourth, etc., as the distance

between two adjacent sources is always d.

As for the points where there is destructive interference, that is tricker, and for a full derivation, we are

told to have a look at MIT’s 8.03 course (“Vibrations and Waves”).

As for the result, with N sources, we will ﬁnd that in between each pair of maxima, we will have N − 1

minima - i.e. places where there is complete destructive interference.

145

Note that with N = 2 as in the previous lecture, we indeed ﬁnd the result of having one minima in between

the maxima.

Here, we see how the interference pattern may look for N = 5, giving 4 minima in between each maxima.

Assuming the secondary peaks (the small bumps) are identical, we can calculate the angle between θ

0

= 0

radians and the ﬁrst minima, simply by dividing the distance to the next primary maxima by N:

∆θ =

λ

Nd

(measured from the middle of a primary peak)

∆θ is then the width of a peak, in radians (from peak to the next minima).

The larger N is, the higher (but also narrower) the primary peaks will be. If N increases by a factor of

e.g. 3, the electric ﬁeld vector also increases by a factor of three. However, light intensity is given by the

Poynting vector, which is proportional to E

2

- and therefore, the intensity of the peaks is proportional to

N

2

.

The peaks will also become narrower by a factor of three, which restores balance and ensures that there

is no violation of the conservation of energy going on here.

As a demonstration, the same red laser as before is used, together with a grating (a transparent sheet with

lots of thin lines blocking light) of 2500 lines per inch, and with L = 10 meters. With the laser beam’s

diameter of 2 mm (hmm, it was given as 3 mm earlier!), we can calculate some values. The given values

are then

d = 10.16 µm

λ = 6.3 10

−7

m

L = 10 m

≈ 984.25

lines

cm

N ≈ 984.25

lines

cm

2 mm0.1

cm

mm

≈ 200 lines

We can then ﬁnd the ﬁrst-order maximum using the good old formula,

θ

1

≈

λ

d

≈ 0.062 rad ≈ 3.55

◦

The width of the peak, from the center to the next minima (so that the peak is perhaps really twice as

wide, in a way) is then given by ∆θ above:

∆θ =

λ

Nd

≈ 0.018

◦

146

We can then multiply this angle (in radians!) by the distance to the screen, to ﬁnd the rough width in

meters, which turns out to be about 3 mm. The real with will probably be greater, as the laser beam used

is spreading out more than the 0.018 degrees we found above, and becomes the limiting factor.

As we saw with the double-slit interference, if we use white light instead, the peaks will spread out, since

their positions are proportional to the wavelength of the light. Blue light will have the peaks closer to-

gether than red light, and looking at the equation for ∆θ, should also have thinner peaks.

If we do this with white light, we will see white at the center maximum - all wavelength have a maximum

at θ = 0, but at other places, the light will tend to spread out according to its wavelength.

Here’s what we see when shining white light through (or on, as this is a reﬂecting grating) a second grating,

with d ≈ 2.5 µ m:

As we would expect, there is white light at the center, where there is a maxima regardless of wavelength.

Further out, we see other colors, with blue always being the closest to the center (the angles for blue

maxima are always smaller than other colors of greater wavelength), and red farther away.

If we add in the red laser again, which is aimed exactly the same, we expect that to fall in the same places

where the red light from the white light ends up, and that is indeed what happens:

We can apply the same principles to light of other colors, of course. As an example, a demonstration

is given in the lecture using a neon light source, which looks red to the naked eye. Looking through a

grating, we can see discrete lines at particular wavelengths - many of which are indeed in the red, a few

in the orange, and a few in the green as well.

12.3 Single-slit diﬀraction

Let’s look at another diﬀerent case, whereby we have a single slit. Even then, there will be interference,

and there will be places of total destructive interference (at least assuming coherent light, such as the red

laser we’ve been using).

For a single slit of width a, we will ﬁnd a maximum at θ = 0, as always. We will ﬁnd minima at

sin θ

n

=

nλ

a

≈ θ

n

... where the derivation is once again shown in the follow-up course, 8.03 “Vibrations and Waves”.

This looks suspiciously similar to the one we found for the two- and multiple-slit interference. As always,

in the small-angle approximation, we can just multiply the angle in radians by a distance L, to ﬁnd the

linear separation on a screen a distance L away:

x

n

≈

Lnλ

a

I refer to the lecture and the book for more details about this.

Here’s what the intensity will look like, as a function of x on some screen a distance L away:

147

So we ﬁnd a very broad maxima at the center, which ends at the ﬁrst minima, where the intensity is zero

After that, we ﬁnd the ﬁrst-order maxima, which is very weak compared to the center; the second order

is fainter yet, etc.

In other words, the width of the center maxima is then really just

Lλ

a

- or twice that, if you prefer, since

it is symmetric around the other side of the zero.

There’s an extremely interesting phenomenon (not very) hidden in this simple equation. Since a is the

width of the slit, and the width of the peak is inversely proportional to a, making the slit narrower will

make the peak on the screen wider! Very non-intuitive.

We can make the peak extremely wide (but also faint, since less light can come through) by making the

slit very, very narrow.

What about if we don’t have a slit, but a circular pinhole instead?

We get something similar to the above graph, except we rotate it around its axis, as we now have axial

symmetry. We would see a circular maximum at the center of a certain radius, followed by a ring of

darkness of greater radius, followed by a ring of the ﬁrst order maxima, etc.

For reasons not explained in the lecture, the radius (in radians) of θ

1

, the angular radius of the ﬁrst

minima, will be

θ

1

≈

1.22λ

a

We use the small-angle approximation here as well.

(The source of the 1.22 appears to be from the ﬁrst zero of a ﬁrst-order Bessel function of the ﬁrst kind -

something I have no experience at all with.)

If we have a pinhole, and we look at the image of two light sources through the pinhole - where the sources

are far apart. Two examples given are the headlight of a car, and two stars - “far apart” is relative, of

course, and angular separation is what really matters.

Each source would produce a circular diﬀraction pattern. As we move the two sources closer and closer

together, the diﬀraction patterns will also move closer together. The angular resolution is the smallest

angular separation where we could still say that we see two separate patterns, rather than having them

merge into one. For the deﬁnition of angular resolution, we take the light sources as equal in intensity,

and for simplicity we now assume that they are monochromatic.

Here’s a drawing:

148

The commenly accepted deﬁnition is then that the center of the second (rightmost) pattern must be no

closer to the ﬁrst than that it is centered on the ﬁrst minima, i.e. at

θ

1

≈ 1.22

λ

a

If they are any closer together, we well tend to see it as a single source. We call this the Rayleigh criterion

of resolution. In other words, the Rayleigh criterion says that the separation between the two light beams

has to be larger than the above angle, or we will see it a as a single source. Note that it is a function of

a, the pinhole diameter, such that we can increase the resolution by making a larger.

This is also known as the diﬀraction limit on angular resolution. Whether we have a pinhole, or a lens or

a concave mirror, the latter two which we might ﬁnd in a telescope or a regular camera, we can never beat

this limit.

Using this formula, we ﬁnd that the diﬀraction limit for a 20 cm lens is about half an arc second for 500

nm light, while that for a 2.4 m lens is about 1/25 of an arc second (calculated by ignoring the factor of

1.22).

(A degree, or arc degree can be subdivided, like time, into 60 arc minutes, each of which is 60 arc seconds.

Thus 1 degree = 1/360 of a circle = 60 arc minutes = 3600 arc seconds.)

In other words, the larger the telescope we have, the better the angular resolution.

However, for Earth-based telescopes (on the ground), there is another, much more problematic limit: air

turbulence in the atmosphere. Air turbulence limits the resolution to about half an arc second, in a process

called “astronomical seeing”. Seeing is one reason that we have space telescopes: there is essentially no air

whatsover at the height of e.g. the Hubble space telescope’s altitude of about 150 km, and so Hubble’s

lenses are indeed diﬀraction limited.

The angular resolution of a human eye is diﬀraction limited to about half an arc minute (about 1/120

of a degree), calculated for a pupil size of about 4 mm and with 500 nm light (green). According to the

professor, however, most students will have vision worse than that, such that it is not diﬀraction limited.

Nobody could possibly have better optical resolution, however, unless their pupil size was greater than the

4 mm used in the calculation.

12.4 Doppler eﬀect and the Big Bang

The Doppler eﬀect is the reason for the familiar eﬀect where the pitch of an ambulance/police car/ﬁre

truck’s siren changes as it travels past you.

When the sound transmitter is moving away from you, the pitch you hear is lower than the pitch that is

actually transmitted at the source. If the transmitter is coming towards you, the pitch instead increases.

This is given by the equation

f

= f

v

s

−v

rec

v

s

−v

tr

149

... where f is the original frequency, f

**is the frequency received/percieved/heard, v
**

s

the speed of sound

in air, v

rec

the velocity of the receiver and v

tr

the velocity of the transmitter.

In this equation and in what follows, we take the velocities as positive when moving towards the right of

the blackboard, and negative when moving towards the left.

Note that the case of a stationary transmitter and a receiver moving away is not equal to the case of aa

stationary receiver where the transmitter is moving away!

If the transmitter is stationary, and is at say 440 Hz (the standard tuning in modern music is to the A440

note), and the receiver moves away at the speed of sound, then there will be no sound heard at all - the

receiver (just barely) outruns the sound waves entirely. The equation above gives 0 Hz for that case -

granted, it sounds weird talk about a 0 Hz sound, but since 0 Hz means no wave motion, I suppose that

is technically true.

On the other hand, if the transmitter is moving away at the speed of sound, while the transmitter is

stationary, what do we ﬁnd?

f

= 440

340 −0

340 −(−340)

= 220 Hz

The frequency is halved, but we still hear the sound. If you ﬁnd that unintuitive, think about it a bit

more - it’s very clear that while the transmitter moves, the waves will still reach you as they always travel

at 340 m/s in your direction.

The equation also has a very curious eﬀect, which can be hard to show in practice: if the transmitter is

moving away at twice the speed of sound, the sound (a piece of music, perhaps) will reach a stationary

observer in time and in tune, but backwards!

How do we intuitively explain the Doppler eﬀect? It is actually quite simple, but is best shown using

animated graphics, which I can’t really use here. I suggest looking it up online.

In short, when moving towards a transmitter (or the transmitter is moving towards you), the wave fronts

become “compressed”, and the wavelength becomes shorter (meaning that for sound, the pitch increases;

for light, it becomes blueshifted; more on that soon). When the distance between is increasing, the wave

fronts become separated from each other, and the wavelength becomes longer (sound: lower pitch; light:

“redder” color, or redshift).

12.4.1 The Doppler eﬀect and light

Let’s look more at the Doppler eﬀect in light (and other EM radiation).

The derivation requires special relativity, but the result is given by

f

= f

_

1 −β

1 + β

_

1/2

where

β =

v

c

where v is the relative velocity between the transmitter and receiver, and c is the speed of light.

If β > 0, then the two are moving apart; if β < 0 the two are approaching each other.

Much of the idea behind special relativity, as the name implies, is that motion is relative. There is no such

thing as an absolute reference frame, and therefore, there is only one term of velocity in the equation. It

does however, of course, matter whether the two are approaching or receding from each other.

The reason this doesn’t apply to the sound waves above is that sound waves require a medium to travel

through, whereas electromagnetic do not.

150

In terms of wavelength, which is physically identical but perhaps more useful, we ﬁnd (as λ =

c

f

and thus

λ

=

c

f

):

λ

= λ

_

1 + β

1 −β

_

1/2

Note that the denominator and numerator have swapped places, as compared to the frequency-based equa-

tion.

The velocity v in the above equations is the radial velocity. If the velocity between the source and the

receiver is not is the straight line connecting the two, then there is an angle θ between the velocity vector

and the position vector between the tow. The velocity we need is then given by v cos θ, which is a result

we’ve seen many times before when using vectors. Only the component of the velocity in the direction of

the object matters.

Police often use “radar guns”, which can measure the speed of cars by reﬂecting radar waves of a known

frequency/wavelength oﬀ cars, and measure the wavelength of the returning waves. The radial velocity of

the car can then be calculated.

12.4.2 Big Bang cosmology

Doppler shift is also used by astronomers to calculate the radial velocity of distant stellar objects. Most

stellar spectra consist of lines, spectral lines, of a discrete wavelength, from the atoms and molecules that

they consist of.

If we happen to know a certain spectral line, and we see the same line, but shifted in wavelength, we have

two names for that, as mentioned earlier:

λ

> λ: redshift

λ

< λ: blueshift

So if the actual wavelength, from the stellar object, is shorter than we would have expected, that means

the object is approaching us (the light is blueshifted), and vice versa if it is longer than expected (the light

is redshifted).

Strictly speaking, if a spectral line is at e.g. 1000 nm when stationary, and say 1100 nm when measured,

we still call that redshift, despite that it is technically moving away from the red (red being at 620-700

nm or so) now that the wavelength has surpassed that of red.

The same applies to blueshift: any decrease in wavelength is known as blueshift, and any increase is known

as redshift, regardless of the actual wavelengths involved.

If we know a certain spectral line, as above, and we can generate that same spectral line in our observatory,

we can compare the two, and via the equation above, ﬁnd β and then ﬁnd v = βc, and so we know the

relative radial velocity between us and the object (perhaps a star, or an entire galaxy).

Edwin Hubble, the astronomer after which the Hubble Space Telescope is named, discovered a curious

relation between the radial velocity of a galaxy and its distance.

The further away a galaxy is, the higher its redshift is. In other words, the further away it is, the faster

it is moving away from us! This fairly linear relation it known as Hubble’s law, and the constant of pro-

portionality H or H

0

(the latter is commonly used for the current value, as it actually changes over large

time periods) is known as the Hubble constant. The value of this constant was most recently measured

(on March 21 2013) to be 67.80 ±0.77 km/s/Mpc (kilometers per second per megaparsec).

One parsec is about 3.26 light years, so a megaparsec is 3.26 10

6

light years, or about 3.1 10

19

km.

151

The value has ﬂuctuated over time, however, as measurements have gotten more precise. (Hubble’s original

measurement was on the order of 500 km/s/Mpc!)

Hubble’s law, in mathematical form, states that

v = H

0

d

where v is then measured in km/s, H

0

in km/s/Mpc and d in Mpc.

As an example, if we see an absorption line in the spectrum of a galaxy that is is 7% shifted towards the

red, we can calculate β by solving the wavelength equation for β:

β =

(λ

)

2

−λ

2

(λ

)

2

+ λ

2

If we plug in λ

= 1.07λ (λ

**> λ, or else it’s not redshifted but blueshifted), we ﬁnd
**

β ≈ 0.0675556

If we then use v = βc, we ﬁnd

v ≈ 20266 km/s

We can then calculate the approximate distance using Hubble’s law:

v = H

0

d

d =

v

H

0

≈

20266

67.80

≈ 298.9 Mpc

One way to describe why this happens is to assume we are at the “center” of the universe, which was

formed from a single point, if we only turn back the clock. The galaxies that obtained the largest speed

at that initial explosion (the Big Bang) are not the furthest away from us.

This isn’t strictly true, as the universe doesn’t even have a center according to current theories on the

shape of the universe. (For a two-dimensional analogue, think about the surface of a balloon/sphere:

where on the surface is the center? The universe can be thought of in a similar way, except we have three

dimensions rather than two.)

That’s also ignoring that there were no galaxies right after the Big Bang. Still, let’s assume this is true

for now.

We can then ask the question: if the universe had a beginning, where everything was together, as we would

see it if we simply ran time backwards (everything would get closer and closer to everything else), how

long ago did this happen?

According to data from two probes that monitor the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR),

the WMAP (“W-map”, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) and the Planck satellite, essentially

the successor to WMAP, the universe is 13.798±0.037 billion years old. Numbers in this order of magnitude

are widely accepted in the scientiﬁc community, and indeed there is plenty of proof, such as very, very old

known galaxies that are only a few hundred million years younger than the universe itself.

As a side note, the solar system and Earth are about 4.5 billion years old, while life on Earth (simple cells)

are thought to have existed for about 3.6 billion years.

12.5 Farewell special

I didn’t take any notes for this lecture. While the content is certainly interesting, I’m not sure exactly

what to write down for it; it must certainly be seen either way.

152

Chapter 13

Homework problems

13.1 Week 2

13.1.1 Problem 1: Motion of charged particle in electric ﬁeld

“An electron of mass m

e

and charge q = −e is injected horizontally midway between two very large

oppositely charged plates. The upper plate has a uniform positive charge per unit area +σ and the lower

plate has a uniform negative charge per unit area −σ . You may ignore all edge eﬀects. The particle has

an initial velocity v

0

= v

0

ˆ x.

**a) What is the magnitude [and direction] of the electric ﬁeld between the plates?
**

I didn’t bother solving this one manually, since I remembered the answer. Each inﬁnite plate has a ﬁeld

magnitude of

σ

2

0

. The positive, top plate has a ﬁeld pointing outwards, while the bottom, negative plate

has a ﬁeld pointing inwards.

Since they are acting in the same direction between the plates, the answer is twice the above. Thus, the

electric ﬁeld between the two plates is

E =

σ

0

(−ˆ y)

b) What is the magnitude of the acceleration of the electron when it is between the plates?

F = ma, so a =

F

m

.

F is given by the electric ﬁeld strength times the magnitude charge e:

F =

eσ

0

Therefore,

[a[ =

eσ

0

m

e

c) What is the y-component of the position of the particle when it reaches the plane deﬁned by x = L?

This one is a bit harder to calculate - unless my solution is a bad one.

We were given that the initial velocity is purely in the x direction, and the electric force (the only force

we are to calculate) acts strictly in the y direction. Therefore, the velocity in the x direction will in fact

be constant, so we can easily calculate the time t taken for the electron to reach x = L:

t =

L −x

0

v

0

=

L

v

0

We can now use a fairly complex equation from mechanical physics - it can a least be complex with all

values ﬁlled with expressions:

y

final

= y

initial

+ v

initial

y

t +

1

2

a

y

t

2

y

initial

is given as 0, as is v

initial

y

, so that simpliﬁes our situation a lot:

153

y

final

=

1

2

a

y

t

2

We found the acceleration previously; we just need to multiply it by t

2

, where we found t =

L

v

0

:

y

final

=

eσ

2

0

m

e

_

L

v

0

_

2

That concludes problem 1!

13.1.2 Problem 2: Three plates capacitor

“Three inﬁnite uniformly charged thin sheets are shown in the ﬁgure below. The sheet on the left at

x = −d is charged with charge per unit area of −3σ , The sheet in the middle at x = 0 is charged with

charge per unit area of +σ, and the sheet on the right at x = d is charged with charge per unit area of

−2σ . Find the ˆ x component of the electric ﬁeld E

x

in each of the regions 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

The ﬁgure is simply three vertical lines, the sheets, and four regions. Region 4 is to the left of all of

the sheets, region 3 between the rightmost and the middle sheet, region 2 between the middle and the

rightmost sheet, and region 1 to the right of all the sheets.

This problem is very straightforward, as long as you know the electric ﬁeld of an inﬁnite plate to be

E =

σ

2

0

.

We then calculate the electric ﬁeld due to each plate, and use superposition to add them together, keeping

the directions in mind for each region.

E

1

=

−3σ

0

E

2

=

σ

0

E

3

=

−2σ

0

Region 1:

σ

2

0

(−2 + 1 −3)

Region 2:

σ

2

0

(−3 + 1 + 2) = 0

Region 3:

σ

2

0

(−3 −1 + 2)

Region 4:

σ

2

0

(3 −1 + 2)

That’s really all there is to it!

13.1.3 Problem 3: Electric ﬁeld, potential, and electrostatic potential energy

“Point charges Q

1

, Q

2

, and Q

3

reside on three corners of a square with sides of 1 m; the distance from Q

2

to P

3

is 2m (see diagram).”

(a) What is the electric potential, V , at P

1

? (Normalize the potential to be zero at ∞ and give your

answers in Volts). (Note: P

1

is located at the “unoccupied” corner of the square.)

Well, we begin by calculating the electric potetial V for each of the charges alone, using V =

Q

4π

0

r

:

154

V

Q1

=

−11 10

−6

4π

0

r

V

Q2

=

−3 10

−6

4π

0

r

V

Q3

=

−7 10

−6

4π

0

r

The question then asks for the potentials at P

1

, P

2

and P

3

. All we have to do is to add the three potentials

above, while substituting the distance to that point from each charge for r. That is a mess to write, but

easy to do, so I’ll leave that to the reader. It’s either as simple as 1 m or 3 m, or you’ll have to use the

Pythagorean theorem.

(b) Are there points or surfaces in space (other than inﬁnity) where V is zero?

Yes. We have both positive and negative charges, which means we will have both positive and negative

potentials at diﬀerent locations in space. Potentials don’t charge abruptly, so in an area where the po-

tential transitions from positive to negative or vice versa, there will be a point where it exactly equals zero.

(c) What is the electrostatic potential energy of the system? Express your answer in Joules.

To solve this, we add up the electrostatic potential energies of each pair of charges:

U

total

= U

12

+ U

13

+ U

23

Since U = qV , this is the potential at each point times the charge at that point, e.g.

U

12

= V

1

Q

2

U

13

= V

1

Q

3

U

23

= V

2

Q

3

For r, part of the potentials, we use the distance between the two charges in question.

The answer to the question is then U

total

.

(d) Suppose we release the three charges so that they can move freely in empty space. How much energy

is released in the form of kinetic energy?

This is the only question of the homework so far that I didn’t solve on my own, even with the book and

Google. The correct answer is “The question is not well deﬁned”, if I’ve understood it correctly because

the answer depends on the order you release the charges in, and (I think?) the times you do so.

I still don’t see how there can be anything but one correct answer, if you release them all exactly simul-

taneously, though, even if we haven’t learned how to calculate it.

13.1.4 Problem 4: Electric ﬁeld of a charged ring

“A point-like negatively charged particle of mass m and charge −q is initially released from rest from the

point P along the positive z-axis where the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld is largest.”

The diagram shows a charged ring, with radius R and total charge Q, centered on the z axis and located

o the x-y plane. The point P has coordinates (0, 0, z), where we are to ﬁnd z:

(a) What is the distance from the point P to the origin? Express your answers in terms of the following

variables, if relevant: q, m, R, Q, and

0

.

155

Well, all we know about P is that the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld is the maximum there. Clearly, our

ﬁrst task is to ﬁnd the electric ﬁeld due to the ring, to begin with!

By symmetry arguments, along the z axis, the x and y components of the electric ﬁeld will cancel out, so

we only care about the magnitude of the z component, E

z

.

First, we divide the ring into tiny segment

d, each of which carries a charge dq =

Q

2πR

(the charge

distribution is uniform, though the problem didn’t actually state that).

Each of these contribute a small amount

dE to the total electric ﬁeld at the point we are interested in.

The distance between a point on the ring and P is given by r =

√

R

2

+ z

2

, via the Pythagorean theorem.

So far, we have (from Coulomb’s law)

dE =

dq

4π

0

r

2

=

Q

8π

2

0

r

2

R

We are only interested in the z component, dE

z

= dE cos θ (by vector decomposition), with θ being the

angle between the point P and d (if we draw a line between the two, the angle is what that line makes

with the z axis).

Via geometry, we can ﬁnd see cos θ =

z

r

. If we make this substitution, and then substitute the value for

r =

√

R

2

+ z

2

:

dE

z

=

Q

8π

2

0

r

2

R

cos θ =

Q

8π

2

0

r

2

R

z

r

dE

z

=

Qz

8π

2

0

r

3

R

dE

z

=

Qz

8π

2

0

R(

√

R

2

+ z

2

)

3

dE

z

=

Qz

8π

2

0

R(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

Finally, we want to integrate this over the entire circle. That turns out to be an easy integral, because

everything above is a constant!

E

z

=

_

dE

z

d

The inﬁnitesimal segment d = Rdθ (arc length):

E

z

=

_

2π

0

dE

z

Rdθ =

_

2π

0

Qz

8π

2

0

R(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

Rdθ

E

z

=

Qz

8π

2

0

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

_

2π

0

dθ

E

z

=

Qz

4π

0

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

We want to know where the ﬁeld is at its maximum, so we start oﬀ by calculating the derivative of the

electric ﬁeld:

d

dz

_

1

4π

0

Qz

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

_

=

Q(R

2

−2z

2

)

4

0

π(R

2

+ z

2

)

5/2

For that, I thank Mathematica. We then set the derivative equal to zero, to ﬁnd extreme points; we know

that P

z

> 0, so we can discard the negative solution we ﬁnd. One solution remains:

156

P

z

=

R

√

2

... which answers part (a).

(b) What is the speed of the particle when it reaches the origin? Express your answers in terms of the

following variables, if relevant: q, m, R, Q, and

0

.

For this part, we want to know the potential diﬀerence between P and the origin. One way of doing that

is to integrate the electric ﬁeld dot the direction vector. However, we know that they point in the same

direction (ˆ z), so we can skip the dot product and do a regular integration with dz:

V

P

−V

origin

=

_

0

P

z

E

dz =

Q

4π

0

_

0

P

z

z

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

dz =

_

Q

4π

0

__

1

R

−

1

√

R

2

+ z

2

_

I admit, more Mathematica for that integral.

At least now the worst part is over. Only algebra remains.

We now know the potential diﬀerence, and can very easily calculate the potential energy diﬀerence by

multiplying the voltage diﬀerence by −q, the charge of the particle.

Via conservation of energy, the gain/loss in potential energy plus the gain/loss in kinetic energy must

equal zero:

∆U + ∆K

e

= 0

The particle is released from rest, so K

e

starts at zero, and ∆K

e

= K

e

. ∆U is

∆U = ∆V (−q)

So what is ∆K

e

? It’s the kinetic energy the particle has when it reaches the origin. We use classical

mechanics for this, so

∆K

e

=

1

2

mv

2

We set the sum of the two equal to zero, and solve for the velocity v, which will be our answer:

∆U + ∆K

e

= 0

∆V (−q) +

1

2

mv

2

= 0

2∆V (−q) + mv

2

= 0

mv

2

= −2∆V (−q)

v

2

=

2∆V q

m

v =

_

2∆V q

m

Almost done! The only thing left is to put our ugly expression for ∆V in there... Hold on:

v =

¸

¸

¸

_

2

__

Q

4π

0

__

1

R

−

1

√

R

2

+z

2

__

q

m

... actually, I lied. z isn’t allowed in the answer, but we solved that the point in question has z =

R

√

2

.

157

v =

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

2

_

_

Q

4π

0

_

_

1

R

−

1

R

2

+(

R

√

2

)

2

__

q

m

... and that can be our ﬁnal answer, if we choose to not clean it up.

13.1.5 Problem 5: Two spherical conductors

“Two spherical conductors, A and B, are placed in vacuum. A has a radius r

A

= 25 cm and B of r

B

= 35

cm. The distance between the centers of the two spheres is d = 225 cm.

A has a potential of V

A

= 110 volts and B has a potential of V

B

= −40 volts.”

(a) An electron is released with zero speed from B. What will its speed be as it reaches A? Express your

answer in m/sec.

The distance betwee is in fact superﬂuous information! We can calculate this using only the potential

diﬀerence:

V

B

−V

A

= −150 V

V

A

−V

B

= 150 V

(We’ll need both, as part (b) asks about a proton.)

The kinetic energy (in classical mechanics) is:

K

e

=

1

2

mv

2

We can solve that for v and use the equation to convert from potential energy to velocity:

K

e

=

1

2

mv

2

2K

e

m

= v

2

v =

_

2K

e

m

So with that done, we need to know K

e

and m. m is the mass, which for an electron is about 9.109 10

−31

kg. K

e

can be found easily by the deﬁnition of the electron volt (eV):

1 eV = 1 e 1 V = 1.602 10

−19

J

where e is the elementary charge. We have a potetial diﬀerence of 150 volts, so

K

e

= 150 V e = 150 1.602 10

−19

J

If we substitute that in the velocity equation, we get

v =

_

2 (150 1.602 10

−19

)

9.109 10

−31

≈ 7.264 10

6

m/s

... which is our answer for (a).

(b) A proton is released with zero speed from A. What will its speed be as it reaches B? Express your

answer in m/sec.

158

The charge of a proton is exactly the opposite of the electron, i.e. the magnitude is the same. Since the

question is now reversed (A to B instead of B to A), the only thing we need to charge from the answer

above is the mass. A proton’s mass is about 1.673 10

−27

, so:

v =

_

2 (150 1.602 10

−19

)

1.673 10

−27

≈ 1.69 10

5

m/s

Due to the much greater mass, the proton arrives with a much lower velocity than the electron.

(c) We now change the potential of B to V

B

= +25 volts. For this new conﬁguration, what is the ratio of

the speed of the electron (as it arrives at A) and the speed of the proton (as it arrives at B)?

To solve this one, we recalculate the potential diﬀerence to be of magnitude 85 volts, and substitute that

in our equations:

v

electron

=

_

2 (85 1.602 10

−19

)

9.109 10

−31

≈ 5.464 10

6

m/s

v

proton

=

_

2 (85 1.602 10

−19

)

1.673 10

−27

≈ 1.275 10

5

m/s

The ratio, and answer, is then

v

electron

v

proton

≈

5.464 10

6

1.275 10

5

≈ 42.85

... which answers (c), and we are done!

13.1.6 Problem 6: Two conducting hollow cylinders

“Two conducting thin hollow cylinders are co-aligned. The inner cylinder has a radius R

1

, the outer has a

radius R

2

. Calculate the electric potential diﬀerence V(R

2

) - V(R

1

) between the two cylinders. The inner

cylinder has a surface charge density of σ

a

= −σ, where σ > 0, and the outer surface has a surface charge

density of σ

b

= 3σ.

The cylinders are much much longer than R

1

. Thus, you may ignore end eﬀects and neglect the thickness

of the cylinders.

(a) What is the electric potential diﬀerence between the outer cylinder and the inner cylinder V(R

2

) -

V(R

1

)?

Okay, let’s get to work! We choose a co-axial Gaussian cylinder and place it in between the two cylinders,

such that it encloses the inner, but not the outer cylinder.

Because they are co-axial, we don’t need the surface integral from Gauss’s law, but can use EA instead:

EA =

Q

ins

0

A is the surface area of our Gaussian surface 2πr, where r is the radius and the length.

What is Q

ins

? Well, it’s the enclosed surface area of the inner cylinder, 2πR

1

, times the charge density

σ

a

= −σ: −2πR

1

σ. Thus we have

2πrE = −

2πR

1

σ

0

We can cancel out a few terms, and solve for E:

159

rE = −

R

1

σ

0

E = −

R

1

σ

0

r

This is the the electric ﬁeld for R

1

< r < R

2

, i.e. between the cylinders. Keep in mind that this is not

valid for the later sub-questions!

Now then. The question was about the potential diﬀerence, so we integrate the ﬁeld dot the direction

dr,

from R

2

to R

1

:

V(R

2

) −V(R

1

) =

_

R

1

R

2

−

R

1

σ

0

r

dr = −

R

1

σ

0

_

R

1

R

2

dr

r

Because we know

dr and

E to both be radially outwards, we reduce the integral to a very, very simple

one.

_

R

1

R

2

dr

r

= ln r

¸

¸

¸

R

1

R

2

= ln R

1

−ln R

2

= ln

_

R

1

R

2

_

Let’s add in the rest, the constant stuﬀ we had before the integral:

V(R

2

) −V(R

1

) = −

R

1

σ

0

ln

_

R

1

R

2

_

That answers question (a)!

(b) What is the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld outside the cylinders, r > R

2

?

Well, let’s do what we did for (a), since that worked a treat. Th diﬀerence here is that Q

ins

has changed,

but the calculation is the same other than that. Where we had −2πR

1

σ, we now have a density that

depends on R

1

and R

2

as well as two sigmas. Let’s start over with Gauss’s law:

EA =

Q

ins

0

A is still the area of the Gaussian surface, so A = 2πr. Now, let’s ﬁnd Q

ins

:

Q

A

= −σR

1

2π

Q

B

= 3σR

2

2π

Q

ins

= Q

A

+ Q

B

= σ(3R

2

−R

1

) 2π

Put it all together:

2πrE =

σ(3R

2

−R

1

) 2π

0

rE =

σ(3R

2

−R

1

)

0

E =

σ(3R

2

−R

1

)

0

r

... which answers (b).

160

(c) What is the electric potential diﬀerence between a point at a distance r = 2R

2

from the symmetry axis

and the outer cylinder V(2R

2

) - V(R

2

)?

We’ll need to integrate the electric ﬁeld again.

V(2R

2

) −V(R

2

) =

_

R

2

2R

2

σ(3R

2

−R

1

)

0

r

dr =

σ(3R

2

−R

1

)

0

_

R

2

2R

2

dr

r

We have already solved that integral: it is ln

_

R

2

2R

2

_

. Thus, we have

V(2R

2

) −V(R

2

) =

σ(3R

2

−R

1

)

0

ln

_

R

2

2R

2

_

... which answers (c), and we are done!

13.1.7 Problem 7: Speed of an electron

Finally, the last problem of the week. Writing these down in this L

A

T

E

Xdocument has taken a lot of time

- I’ve essentially re-solved them from scratch, having only a few scratch equations left from when I solved

them the ﬁrst time. That is surely an excellent way to learn and truly understand, though!

“An electron is projected, with an initial speed of v

i

= 1.74e +05 m/sec, directly towards a proton that is

essentially at rest. If the electron is initially a great distance from the proton, at what distance from the

proton is its speed instantaneously equal to twice its initial value? Express your answer in meters.”

My ﬁrst instinct was that more information must be required, but as expected (they wouldn’t ask unan-

swerable questions!), we can solve this. Fairly easily, too, once we know how.

We know the initial velocity, and so we can calculate the initial kinetic energy. We also know the ﬁnal

velocity - twice the original one - and can calculate the ﬁnal kinetic energy. Via conservation of energy,

the diﬀerence is the two is the change in electric potential energy ∆U, which we can relate the the electric

potential V of the proton, to ﬁnd the distance between them.

So, let’s begin. First, the initial kinetic energy of the electron is

K

e

initial

=

1

2

m

e

v

initial

2

K

e

final

=

1

2

m

e

v

final

2

=

1

2

m

e

(2v

initial

)

2

∆U =

1

2

m

e

(2v

initial

)

2

−

1

2

m

e

v

initial

2

=

1

2

m

e

_

(2v

initial

)

2

−v

initial

2

_

Let’s now ﬁnd the electric potential due to the proton. That one is easy - we know the formula:

V =

Q

p

4π

0

r

The distance between the two is initially “great”, so we treat it as if the electric potential energy is 0 to

begin with. Thus, ∆U = U. We also know that U = V q, where V is the electric potential due to the

proton, and q is the charge of the electron.

Therefore, we can now set the sum of our two expressions for U equal to zero, and solve for r. The charge

of the electron is q = −e, so we get:

1

2

m

e

_

(2v

initial

)

2

−v

initial

2

_

+

−e Q

p

4π

0

r

= 0

Messy, but if we solve for r and substitute Q

p

= +e, we get:

161

r =

e

2

6

0

m

e

πv

initial

2

If we stick our values in there, we get

r =

(1.602 10

−19

)

2

6 (8.854187 10

−12

)(9.109 10

−31

)π(1.74 10

5

)

2

≈ 5.556 10

−9

m

That is, about 5.56 nanometers! After travelling for a very long distance, it only reaches twice its initial

speed less than a picosecond before they collide. Wow.

Finally, last question of the week:

In your opinion do we need to worry about the special theory of relativity for the speeds given in this

problem?

The answer is no. The speed is only about 0.1% of the speed of light, so relativistic eﬀect are negligible.

Even at 10% of the speed of light, the relativistic eﬀects are fairly small.

13.2 Week 3

13.2.1 Problem 1: Spherical capacitor

“A capacitor consists of two concentric spherical shells. The outer radius of the inner shell is a = 0.6 mm

and the inner radius of the outer shell is b = 2.96 mm.”

(a) What is the capacitance C of this capacitor? Express your answer in Farads.

Let’s begin by stating that capacitance C =

Q

V

, where V is the potential diﬀerence between the two

spheres. Q is a given, so if we ﬁnd V , we should be able to solve this problem easily. To ﬁnd V , we can

integrate the electric ﬁeld between the two radii, so let’s begin by ﬁnding the electric ﬁeld!

We know since before that a spherical shell has the same electric ﬁeld as a point charge would, as long

as you’re outside the shell; and we know that the electric ﬁeld inside the larger sphere, due to the larger

sphere, is zero.

Therefore the electric ﬁeld for a < r < b is given by the charge on the inner sphere a only:

E =

Q

4π

0

r

2

ˆ r

V

a

−V

b

=

_

b

a

E

dr =

Q

4π

0

_

b

a

dr

r

2

ˆ r

We know that the electric ﬁeld from a sphere is radially outwards and thus always parallel to dr, so we

can ignore the vectors and the dot product, and simply integrate

1

r

2

and evaluate at the limits:

V

a

−V

b

=

Q

4π

0

_

b

a

dr

r

2

=

Q

4π

0

_

−

1

r

¸

¸

¸

b

a

_

=

Q

4π

0

_

1

a

−

1

b

_

The latter part of the result can be simpliﬁed:

1

a

−

1

b

=

b −a

ab

And therefore, the reciprocal, which we’ll need very soon, is

1

1

a

−

1

b

=

ab

b −a

162

Now then. Back to our potential diﬀerence result. Now that we have V (the potential diﬀerence V

a

−V

b

)

we can divide Q by that, which will get rid of the Q and ﬂip everything else upside down, so we get:

C =

Q

V

= 4π

0

ab

b −a

We were asked to answer numerically, for a = 0.6 mm and b = 2.96 mm:

C = 4π

0

(0.6 10

−3

)(2.96 10

−3

)

2.96 10

−3

−0.6 10

−3

≈ 8.37299 10

−14

F

(b) Suppose the Maximum possible electric ﬁeld at the outer surface of the inner shell before the air starts

to ionize is E

max

(a) = 3.010

6

Vm

−1

. What is the maximum possible charge on the inner sphere? Express

your answer in Coulombs.

Well, the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld is (again) given by:

E =

Q

4π

0

r

2

If we solve the equation for Q and substitute E = 3 10

6

V/m and r = a = 0.6 10

−3

m we should get the

answer:

Q = 4π

0

r

2

E = 4π

0

(0.6 10

−3

)

2

(3 10

6

) ≈ 1.2059 10

−10

C

(c) What is the maximum amount of energy stored in the capacitor? Express your answer in Joules.

The energy stored can be calculated in these ways:

Energy stored =

1

2

CV

2

=

1

2

QV =

1

2

Q

2

C

Since we know Q and C, we prefer the latter form, and so our answer is

1

2

Q

2

C

≈ 8.6838 10

−8

J

(d) When E(a) = 3.0 10

6

V m

−1

what is the absolute value of the potential diﬀerence between the shells?

Express your answer in Volts.

We have the equation from the potential diﬀerence from question (a), we have the charge of a at this

E-ﬁeld strength from question (b), and we have the value of all the constants required to ﬁnd the answer:

[∆V [ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

Q

4π

0

b −a

ab

¸

¸

¸

¸

=

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

1.2059 10

−10

4π

0

_

(2.96 −0.6) 10

−3

(2.96 10

−3

) (0.6 10

−3

)

¸

¸

¸

¸

≈ 1435.1 V

13.2.2 Problem 2: Coaxial cylinders

“A very long cylindrical capacitor consists of two thin hollow conducting cylinders with the same axis of

symmetry. The inner cylinder has a radius a, the outer one has a radius b. You may ignore end eﬀects.”

There is a ﬁgure that shows the inner cylinder with charge +Q and the outer with charge −Q.

(a) What is the capacitance per unit length?

Well, we need to do roughly the same thing as we did with the sphere. First, we want to ﬁnd the electric

ﬁeld.

Let’s set up a Gaussian cylinder with a < r < b. The total charge on the cylinder is Q, so the charge per

unit length is λ =

Q

**. Via Gauss’s law, we have that
**

163

EA =

Q

enc

0

A is the surface area, so:

E2πr =

Q

enc

0

E =

Q

enc

2πr

0

The enclosed charge is the charge per unit length λ times the length, so:

E =

λ

2π

0

r

E =

λ

2π

0

r

The cancels - anything else would be bizarre; surely the length we choose for the Gaussian cylinder can’t

change the electric ﬁeld strength.

We carry out the good old integration to ﬁnd the potential diﬀerence:

V

a

−V

b

=

_

b

a

E dr =

λ

2π

0

_

b

a

dr

r

=

λ

2π

0

ln

_

b

a

_

We know that C =

Q

V

, and Q = λ:

C =

λ

[V

a

−V

b

[

=

2π

0

ln

_

b

a

_

The question asked for the capacitance per unit length, so the disappears.

C =

2π

0

ln

_

b

a

_

(b) Now consider the limit where b is very close to a. Express b as a + δ; where

δ

a

¸ 1. What is the

capacitance per unit length in that limit? Hint: in that limit you can use the following approximation:

ln (1 + x) ≈ x

Express your answer in terms of a, δ and

0

.

OK, well, we can rewrite with b = δ and see how that looks:

C =

2π

0

ln

_

a+δ

a

_ =

2π

0

ln

_

1 +

δ

a

_

Following the hint, we then ignore the 1 and the whole logarithm:

C ≈

2π

0

a

δ

... which is our ﬁnal answer for (b).

164

13.2.3 Problem 3: The eﬀect of a dielectric medium on capacitance

Consider a capacitor made of two square plates of side . The distance between the two plates is d.

(a) We insert a dielectric of dielectric constant K > 1 and width a distance x (as in the diagram). What

is the total capacitance of this arrangement?

We should be able to treat this like two separate capacitors. From the diagram shown, it seems to me as

if we then need to add the capacitance of the two, as they would be connected in parallel. Let’s try that

and see what happens.

The plates have area , but are then split up into two regions. Sketch it up on paper and it will make a

lot of sense. The capacitor with the dielectric is then made of sides x and , so A

dielec

= lx while the one

without the dielectric is ( −x) =

2

−lx, which certainly looks sensible.

We have the good old parallel plate capacitor equation:

C =

A

0

d

K

Let’s call the capacitor without the dileectric C

1

, and the capacitor with the dielectric C

2

:

C

1

=

(

2

−x)

0

d

C

2

=

x

0

d

K

C

total

= C

1

+ C

2

=

(

2

−x)

0

d

+

x

0

d

K =

0

_

(

2

−x)

d

+

x

d

K

_

(b) The capacitor is now connected to battery which provides a diﬀerence of potential V

0

across the ca-

pacitor. What is the energy stored in the capacitor?

The energy stored is

1

2

CV

2

, so we can mostly copy and paste from the previous answer:

1

2

0

_

(

2

−x)

d

+

x

d

K

_

V

0

2

(c) While the battery is still connected to the capacitor, we now move the dielectric slab a bit further in

between the plates, increasing x by an amount ∆. What is the change in the energy stored in the capacitor?

Well, let’s see. Let’s ﬁrst calculate the increase in capacitance. First, the new total will be:

C

new

=

0

_

(

2

−(x + ∆))

d

+

(x + ∆)

d

K

_

If we subtract the two and simplify, we get the diﬀerence in capacitance:

∆C =

0

(K −1)∆

d

(The notation becomes slightly awkward as ∆C is not ∆ times C, but rather the change in C. Same for

∆E below.)

We can then use the half-C V squared formula to ﬁnd the extra energy stored in ∆C:

∆E =

1

2

∆CV

2

=

1

2

0

(K −1)∆

d

V

0

2

165

That answers part (c), or (c1). Then come the highly related follow-ups, which are unlabeled, so let’s call

them (c2) and (c3). First, (c2), with my label:

(c2) What is the work done by the battery while we push the dielectric slab in from its original position

x to x + ∆? (Make sure you have the correct sign!)

Uh oh! Well, intuitively, I entered the same as for (c1), since it seemed like it would make sense for the

battery’s work to be the same as the added energy. Nope!

The correct answer is twice of (c1), so just remove the half factor in the front. The answer to the next

question adds some insight...

(c3) What is the work done by us while we push the dielectric slab in? (make sure you have the correct sign!)

The answer here is the negative of (c1). That is, we do negative work, equal in magnitude to the added

charge on the capacitor. The battery, meanwhile, must provide both the added energy stored in the ca-

pacitor and cover up the negative work we do!

The reason this happens is that due to electrostatic forces, the dielectric is pulled into the capacitor.

13.2.4 Problem 4: Coaxial cable with dielectric

“A certain coaxial cable consists of a copper wire, radius a, surrounded by a concentric copper tube of

inner radius c. The space between is partially ﬁlled (from b out to c) with material of dielectric constant

K. The goal of this problem is to ﬁnd the capacitance per unit length of this cable. You may neglect edge

eﬀects.”

Note that there is space a < r < b which is vacuum! Thus, we can not simply calculate a single

electric ﬁeld and use that everywhere!

”Note that for technical reasons, we use the symbol for charge per unit length, rather than the more

typical λ. Do not get confused, is not a length!”

Argh, okay then. We’ll see how many times I screw that one up before I remember.

a1) Assume that the copper wire has uniform positive charge per unit length and the copper tube has

uniform negative charge per unit length on its inner surface −. Calculate the radial component of the

electric ﬁeld in the region 0 < r < a.

Well, since there is no mention of a applied potential diﬀerence, and this is conductor, this is the likely

the easiest sub-question of this week: the answer is zero.

a2) Calculate the radial component of the electric ﬁeld in the region a < r < b.

Frankly, I’ve already done that in earlier examples, so I’ll just nick the answer from there. The equation

looks like the one for electric potential due to a point charge, except Q is replaced by the charge per unit

length, and it’s multiplied by two. So:

E

r

=

2π

0

r

Calculate the radial component of the electric ﬁeld in the region b < r < c.

In other words, “inside” the dielectric. Well, we just divide the above by the dielectric constant. No more,

no less.

166

E

r

=

2π

0

Kr

Calculate the radial component of the electric ﬁeld in the region r > c.

Ah, ﬁnally some work to do. Well, not really. We apply Gauss’s law and ﬁnd no net enclosed charge (+

and − per unit length, respectively, for the two cylinders), so the electric ﬁeld outside is also zero. Too easy.

(b1) What is the potential diﬀerence V(b) - V(a) (be careful about sign)?

Well, is there any work this time around, then? Yes! There is an electric ﬁeld in the region, that we can

integrate. It is, as per above:

E

r

=

2π

0

r

As usual, the ﬁeld is radial and the

dr vector we would use too, so this is a simple integral:

V

b

−V

a

=

_

a

b

2π

0

r

dr =

2π

0

_

a

b

dr

r

¸

¸

¸

a

b

=

2π

0

ln

_

a

b

_

(b2) What is the potential diﬀerence V(c) - V(b) (be careful about sign)?

Clearly, we need to integrate just as above, but with the ﬁeld that is also divided by K (see above), and

from c to b instead of b to a. We can thus add K to the solution and rename some variables:

V

c

−V

b

=

_

b

c

2π

0

Kr

dr =

2π

0

_

b

c

dr

r

¸

¸

¸

b

c

=

2π

0

K

ln

_

b

c

_

What is the magnitude of the potential diﬀerence |V(c) - V(a)|?

Uh oh! We have two diﬀerent electric ﬁelds between those points, so we need to integrate twice. Or

integrate zero times, perhaps, because we already have. Let’s see then, we want

V

c

−V

a

=

_

a

c

E

dr

... but there is no one

E between those points, so we integrate in two parts:

[V

c

−V

a

[ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

b

c

E

cb

dr +

_

a

b

E

ba

dr

¸

¸

¸

¸

We just solved those integrals:

[V

c

−V

a

[ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

2π

0

K

ln

_

b

c

_

+

2π

0

ln

_

a

b

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

Let’s factor out that term:

[V

c

−V

a

[ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

2π

0

_

1

K

ln

_

b

c

_

+ ln

_

a

b

_

_¸

¸

¸

¸

Now we just need to take the absolute value of that expression, since the absolute value bars won’t be

accepted as part of the answer.

is the magnitude of the charge per unit length, so that must be positive; all the other constants are

positive. Only the natural logs could cause this to become negative... so when are they zero? They are

when the argument is less than one. Since a < b < c, what can we say about the ratios inside? It seems

they will both become less than one!

167

Therefore, we need to negate the whole thing (or otherwise turn it positive, by mucking around with

signs/order inside):

[V

c

−V

a

[ = −

2π

0

_

1

K

ln

_

b

c

_

+ ln

_

a

b

_

_

(c) What is the capacitance per unit length?

If we temporarily ignore this problem’s variable names, and use sensible ones:

C =

Q

V

Q =

where λ is the charge per unit length, and is the length. V is the big chunk we found above, the potential

diﬀerence between the inside and the outside, so to speak.

In this problem, is charge per unit length. Due to this confusion, I will temporarily use x to mean length,

such that Q = x. We then ﬁnd the answer to our problem by dividing this Q ﬁrst by V above, and then

by x to get per unit length. If it seems nonsensical to introduce a variable only to divide it out, I do so to

us C =

Q

V

as-is. Well then, let’s go:

C =

x

−

2π

0

_

1

K

ln

_

b

c

_

+ ln

_

a

b

__

First, let’s divide out x. Easy enough, it just disappears from the top there. After that, note that

cancels out - the capacitance doesn’t depend on the charge per unit length. So remove the x, turn into

1, and factor out that fraction within a fraction. If we factor out the a fraction from the bottom, it turns

upside-down, so we now have:

C = −2π

0

1

_

1

K

ln

_

b

c

_

+ ln

_

a

b

__

I’ll leave it at that. Still a bit messy, but better than the original expression.

13.2.5 Problem 5: Capacitor network

“Three parallel plate capacitors (C

1

, C

2

and C

3

) are in series with a battery of 100 V. C

1

= 2500µF;

C

2

= 2C

1

, C

3

= 3C

1

.”

(a) What is the potential diﬀerence over each capacitor and how much charge is on each capacitor?

To solve this problem, we begin by stating an important rule: the charge on capacitors in series is the

same for each capacitor. The magnitude of charge must always be equal on to adjacent plates, whether in

the same capacitor or not, so Q

1

= Q

2

= Q

3

. With that in mind, we can do some equation juggling.

C

i

=

Q

V

i

Q = C

i

V

i

V

i

=

Q

C

i

We also know that the potential diﬀerence of the three must add up to the 100 volts of the power supply,

so we set up that equation:

Q

C

1

+

Q

C

2

+

Q

C

3

= 100

168

Q

C

1

+

Q

2C

1

+

Q

3C

1

= 100

If we solve that equation for Q, we get

Q =

600

11

C

1

So given our values for this problem,

Q =

3

22

≈ 0.1363636 C

Since the charge is equal for all three capacitors, this answers 3 out of 6 questions.

Next up is ﬁnding the potential diﬀerence across each capacitor. Now that we know Q (and the given C

i

),

this is easy.

V

1

=

Q

C

1

=

3

22

1

2500 10

−6

V

2

=

Q

C

1

=

3

22

1

2 2500 10

−6

V

3

=

Q

C

1

=

3

22

1

3 2500 10

−6

(b) We now connect a 4th parallel plate capacitor (C

4

= 4C

1

) to the battery. One side of the capacitor

is connected to the negative side of the battery, the other side is connected to the positive side of the battery.

Now C

4

is in parallel with C

1

+ C

2

+ C

3

.

Solving for C

4

should be easy, since it’s essentially independent on the others. We know C = 4C

1

=

4 2500µF and V = 100V , so we know Q and V for that one.

Using the same logic, the other capacitors are unaﬀected by the addition of a fourth capacitor parallel to

the battery, so we simply copy and paste our answers for those three capacitors!

(c) We make one more change: We still have our 4 capacitors as above, but we now place a dielectric

(K = 3) between the plates of the 4th capacitor. What is the potential diﬀerence across C4 and what is

the charge on it?

Well, a voltage source is conneted, so V cannot change and will remain at 100 volts.

Because V cannot change, and C must change (C

new

= KC

old

), the charge will also increase by a factor

of K via Q = CV :

Q

4

= KC

old

V = 3 4 2500µF

13.2.6 Problem 6: Resistances of conducting wires

“Three conducting straight wires (though insulated from each other) are each 2 m long. They are electrically

connected to each other only at their ends points A and B. AB = 2 meter.

The wires are cylindrical. One is made of copper, one of aluminum and one of iron. Their radii are 2, 3

and 4 mm, respectively.”

a) What is the ohmic resistance between point A and B? Express your answer in Ohms. (you might need

to look up the resistivity of these elements).

Let’s start out by ﬁnding the symbolic answer; after that, we can look up the resistivity and calculate the

numerical answer.

First oﬀ, when connecting multiple resistors in parallel, the formula to use for the equivalent resistance is:

169

R

equiv

=

1

1

R

1

+

1

R

2

+

1

R

3

+

Looking about for a useful equation to use, I found Pouillet’s law:

R = ρ

A

where ρ is the resistivity in ohm-meters, the conductor’s length and A its cross-sectional area. We can

then begin to ﬁnd the resistance of each wire alone, using the above formula.

l

Cu

= l

Al

= l

Fe

= 2 m

A

Cu

= π(2 10

−3

)

2

m

2

A

Al

= π(3 10

−3

)

2

m

2

A

Fe

= π(4 10

−3

)

2

m

2

Substistuting in some resistivity values, we ﬁnd that

R

Cu

= 1.68 10

−8

2

π(2 10

−3

)

2

R

Al

= 2.82 10

−8

2

π(3 10

−3

)

2

R

Fe

= 1.0 10

−7

2

π(4 10

−3

)

2

The “total” resistance (which is lower than the resistance of each individual conductor, since there are

multiple ways for the current to ﬂow) is then

R

total

=

1

1

R

Cu

+

1

R

Al

+

1

R

Fe

≈ 0.000887591 Ω ≈ 0.888 mΩ

We now attach at B a straight copper wire which is in electrical contact with the 3 wires at B. This 2nd

copper wire is identical to the one between A and B. It runs from B to C. The distance AC is 4 m.

(b) What is the ohmic resistance between A and C? Express your answer in Ohms.

The resistance of the wire is of course the same as R

Cu

above, so we take R

total

and add another R

Cu

,

since the current must pass through the sum of the resistances this time (they are in series).

R

AC

= R

total

+ R

Cu

≈ 0.00356139

We now turn AC into a near perfect circle. A is very close to C but it is not touching C.

(c) What is the ohmic resistance between A and C now? Express your answer in Ohms.

Well, if it’s not touching, then nothing has changed. Whether the conductor is a straight line or a near-circle

does no diﬀerence, so the answer is “same as in part (b)”.

13.2.7 Problem 7: Resistor network

Ugh, this was more than a pain... I won’t actually list the full solution. For ﬁnding the currents, I used 1

KCL equation at node B and 2 KVL equations, around each of the two smaller loops (the ABMGA and

BDNMPB).

For node B, I noted that

I

1

= I

4

+ I

2

170

For the KVL equations, I went clockwise, adding resistor voltage drops if the current was in the same

direction I was going, otherwise subtracting. For voltage sources, I added if I hit the + side ﬁrst, and

otherwise subtracted.

−I

1

R

1

−I

4

R

4

−V

2

−I

1

R

5

+ V

1

= 0

V

3

−I

2

R

2

−I

2

R

3

+ I

4

R

4

+ V

2

= 0

After solving this system of three equations, you get a RIDICULOUSLY complex expression for each

current, with roughly 14-17 terms per equation. If we substitute the values from the problem into those,

we get the currents:

I

1

=

2442

29431

I

2

=

723

1549

I

3

= −

11295

29431

Note that I

3

is negative, indicating the real direction is the opposite of what the problem assumed, so that

current goes downwards.

After that, you’re asked to ﬁnd three potential diﬀerences, which was even more of a pain, at least using

my approach. I’d probably solve this using the node method and superposition, if I did this again.

13.3 Week 4

There’s no howework this week due to the upcoming midterm exam!

13.4 Week 5

13.4.1 Problem 1: Lorentz Force

“An electron has velocity components v

x

= +100 m/s, v

y

= −80 m/s, and v

z

= +75 m/s. It enters a

region of uniform B-ﬁeld with components B

x

= −10

−3

T, B

y

= 7 10

−4

T and B

z

= −5 10

−4

T.

What are the components of the force acting on the electron? Express your answer in Newtons.”

Since no electric ﬁeld is mentioned, we’ll assume that Lorentz force here means the magnetic force alone,

so

F

B

= q(v

B)

This problem could probably be solved in a single line of Mathematica, which is what I’ll do, for the most

part. Some quick analysis ﬁrst, though. Since the force is given by the cross product of the velocity and

the magnetic ﬁeld, only components which are perpendicular to each other will be part of the answer.

Indeed, the cross product, in components, is deﬁned as

¸F

x

, F

y

, F

z

¸ = q ¸v

x

, v

y

, v

z

¸ ¸B

x

, B

y

, B

z

¸ = q ¸B

z

v

y

−B

y

v

z

, B

x

v

z

−B

z

v

x

, B

y

v

x

−B

x

v

y

¸

Very, very ugly... but note how all multiplied quantities are perpendicular to each other. If we use this,

and stick our numbers in, including for q, we get

171

F

x

= 2.003 10

−21

F

y

= 4.005 10

−21

F

z

= 1.602 10

−21

... which is marked as being correct.

13.4.2 Problem 2: Motion of a charged particle in magnetic ﬁeld

“An ion of charge q and mass m, is accelerated from rest by a potential diﬀerence of V = 25 kV. The

particle then enters a magnetic ﬁeld region (with strength B = 0.01 T) where the B-ﬁeld is uniform and

perpendicular to the ion’s velocity. The ion then travels on a circular path with radius R = 2 m.”

“(a) Write an expression for the mass, m, of the ion in terms of q, B, R and V . Note that the answer

should be a formula, not a number.”

We have our good old radius equation, which is

R =

¸

2mV

qB

2

We get what we need if we solve it for m:

R

2

=

2mV

qB

2

R

2

qB

2

= 2mV

m =

qB

2

R

2

2V

“(b) Now suppose we have another particle: a positively ionized deuteron (the deuteron mass is 3.3410

−27

kg) accelerated through the same voltage and then entering the same magnetic ﬁeld. What is the radius

of its trajectory? Express your answer in meters.”

This ought to be even easier, we simply put the numbers into the formula we had above, before we solved

it for m:

R =

¸

2mV

qB

2

=

¸

2(3.34 10

−27

)(25 10

3

)

(1.602 10

−19

)(0.01)

2

≈ 3.22869 m

“(c) How long does it take the deuteron to move around a full circle once. Express your answer in seconds.”

Looking back at the lecture notes, a useful formula is

T =

2πm

qB

... which is independent of the velocity, very cool. We need to multiply by γ to take care of relativistic

correction, but that should not be an issue as an electron (with a much lower mass) with 25 keV is non-

relativistic, so this particle must be, too.

Plugging in the values, we get

T ≈

2π 3.34 10

−27

1.602 10

−19

0.01

≈ 1.30998 10

−5

s

172

13.4.3 Problem 3: Cyclotron

“Consider a deuteron in a cyclotron with ﬁeld strength 0.5 T. The deuteron is accelerated twice per rota-

tion by a potential of V = 25 kV”.

“(a) If the radius of the cyclotron is 2 meter, what is the maximum energy of the deuteron? Express your

answer in Joules (the deuteron mass is 3.34 10

−27

kg)”

I will again assume that relativistic corrections are not necessary. We can use the radius equation again,

but solve for the velocity, and use that to ﬁgure out the energy.

R =

mv

qB

v =

qRB

m

≈

(1.602 10

−19

)(2)(0.5)

3.34 10

−27

≈ 4.7964 10

7

m/s

The energy is then given by

E =

1

2

mv

2

≈

1

2

3.34 10

−27

(4.7964 10

7

)

2

≈ 3.8419 10

−12

J

(b) Starting from a negligibly small velocity, how many full rotations does the deuteron need before it

reaches this maximum energy?

We can ﬁgure out the potential diﬀerence required to accelerate it; E = qV , so V =

E

q

:

V =

3.8419 10

−12

1.602 10

−19

≈ 23.982 10

6

V

Divide that by the 50 kV per rotation, and we get 479.64 ≈ 480 rotations.

“(c) What is the time it takes for the deuteron to make one complete rotation when its energy is about

500 keV and when it is about 5 MeV? Ignore possible relativistic eﬀects. Express your answer in seconds.”

We have the time formula since before, so

T =

2πm

qB

m and q are the same as in the previous question, but B is now 0.5, so:

T ≈

2π(3.34 10

−27

)

(1.602 10

−19

)(0.5)

≈ 2.61995 10

−7

s

Since the time is independent of velocity, and thus kinetic energy, this is the answer for both questions!

13.4.4 Problem 4: Rectangular current loop

“A current I travels counterclockwise through a closed copper wire loop which has the shape of a rectangle

with sides a and b.

What is the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld at the center, C, of the rectangle? Express your answer in

terms of a, b, I and µ

0

.”

Well, the illustration is hardly required; it only labels the sides, essentially. a is the left/right sides, while

b are the top/bottom sides. Not that it really matters.

Anyway. Due to symmetry, we only need to calculate the contribution due to one a and one b side, multiply

each by two to account for the other, duplicate side, and add the results.

Using the right-hand “curl” rule, it’s clear that the ﬁeld is additive: all four sides will contribute to a

173

magnetic ﬁeld that comes out of the page at the center of the rectangle.

Well, that’s about as far as we can go qualitatively. What about some numbers? Or, at least, some

equations? We’ll have to use Biot-Savart’s law for this one.

Remember that

B =

µ

0

4π

_

I

r

2

(

d ˆ r)

If we draw a diagram, for which I recommend you watch the week 5 problem solving videos, we get

something like this (screen capture from the video):

As shown there, if we call the distance to the point we measure at d, and the distance along the axis x,

we get r =

√

d

2

+ x

2

via the Pythagorean theorem. We also get that sin θ =

d

r

, which comes in useful.

The reason we have a sine in there is because of the cross product

d ˆ r = [

**d[sinθ, since the magnitude
**

of ˆ r is 1 by deﬁnition. If we make that substitution of the sine in the shown [dB[ equation, while also

substituting the square root-value for r, we get the ﬁnal equation shown:

[

B[ = 2

_

0.5

0

µ

0

4π

Id

dx

(x

2

+ d

2

)

3/2

=

µ

0

2π

Id

_

0.5

0

dx

(x

2

+ d

2

)

3/2

The integral is

_

dx

(x

2

+ d

2

)

3/2

=

x

d

2

√

x

2

+ d

2

(+ C)

... where is the length of the wire segment. We now use this equation to ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁeld due to

a and b, multiply each by 2 (the 2 in the equation has a diﬀerent origin: the result without in is only for

one-half of the length) and add them up, and we should have our ﬁnal answer.

Let’s now look at the rectanglular loop we had again. d is the distance to the center, measured from the

middle of the wire. For the b part, that distance is then

a

2

, while it would be

b

2

for the a part. What is

then x (and dx)? Well, that’s the coordinate along the axis of the “point” we are at on the wire.

Let’s try to calculate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld due to one a (short) side alone. We use the

integral result, and make sure not to forget about the constants we moved in front, and evaluate the

integral at 0.5 and 0. We also multiply the whole thing by 2, to take care of both wire segments:

174

[B

a

[ = 2

µ

0

2π

I

b

2

_

_

x

(

b

2

)

2

_

x

2

+ (

b

2

)

2

_

_

x=0.5

x=0

After some painful algebra and simpliﬁcation, the above is

[B

a

[ =

2aIµ

0

πb

√

a

2

+ b

2

If we do the same for the b parts, it would be fairly shocking if the result was anything else than the same

thing with a and b swapped, so

[B

b

[ =

2bIµ

0

πa

√

a

2

+ b

2

And, ﬁnally, the net answer is the sum of the two. Let’s factor out the common parts ﬁrst:

B =

2µ

0

I

π

√

a

2

+ b

2

_

a

b

+

b

a

_

Finally, we can simplify that a bit further; if we ﬁrst combine the fractions to the right, we get

a

b

+

b

a

=

a

2

+ b

2

ab

B =

2µ

0

I

π

√

a

2

+ b

2

a

2

+ b

2

ab

=

2µ

0

I(a

2

+ b

2

)

πab

√

a

2

+ b

2

Because

a

2

+ b

2

√

a

2

+ b

2

=

√

a

2

+ b

2

(think about right triangles, with c

2

= a

2

+b

2

and c =

√

a

2

+ b

2

; it then essentially says that

c

2

c

= c), this

becomes

B =

2µ

0

I

√

a

2

+ b

2

abπ

... and we are ﬁnally done. Prior to this problem, I thought this week’s homework was uncharacteristically

easy. That changed a bit!

13.4.5 Problem 5: Resistor network

“Consider this circuit with the following arrangement:”

[Diagram of a cube, with a battery connected to opposite corners of the cube.]

“Each edge of the cube is a resistor with resistance R = 10 Ω (there are a total of 12 resistors).

What is the equivalent resistance R

eq

from one corner of the cube to the diagonally opposite corner? (Hint:

think about a steady current I ﬂowing from the battery, how does the current split as it reaches and then

moves through the wires making up the cube?)

I had a look at the recommended reading material (“helpful content from the book”), and... the second

listed item had the answer. Uh, I feel like I just cheated! I looked it through, and sure enough, the problem

is indeed identical, and the book’s answer is correct for this problem.

Heck, there should’ve been a spoiler warning there!

175

Because of the graphical layout of the problem, this is explained simply in the book, while an explanation

here would be harder to follow. For that reason, I refer to the book (or a search engine, which will no

doubt ﬁnd many solutions) for this problem.

For what it’s worth, the answer is

R

eq

=

5

6

R

13.4.6 Problem 6: Coaxial current loops

“Two concentric circular loops have radii R

1

= 9 cm and R

2

= 26 cm. They lie in the same horizontal

plane. The direction of the two currents are opposite. Seen from above the current through the outer loop

is I

2

= 15 A clockwise, the one through the inner loop is I

1

= 10 A counterclockwise.

What is the magnitude [and direction] of the magnetic ﬁeld at the center of the loops? Express your

answer in Teslas.”

The problem diagram helpfully also shows two unit vectors; ˆ z upwards, and ˆ r radially outwards, with the

current loops centered in the coordinate system.

Via Biot-Savart:

B =

µ

0

4π

_

I

r

2

(

d ˆ r)

The cross product is [

**d[[ˆ r[ sin θ = d, since the two are always perpendicular, and the magnitude of the
**

unit vector is 1:

B =

µ

0

I

4πr

2

_

d

The integral of d will come out to be 2πr, so

B =

µ

0

I

4π

2πr

r

2

=

µ

0

I

2r

We add the magnetic ﬁelds due to each current loop alone, keeping direction in mind (the ﬁels oppose

each other in the middle):

B =

µ

0

2

_

I

1

R

1

−

I

2

R

2

_

≈ 3.3564024 10

−5

T

13.4.7 Problem 7: Parallel plate capacitor

“A parallel plate capacitor has plates of area A and separation d. We connect the capacitor to a battery

of V volts. We then disconnect [the battery] when the capacitor is fully charged.

(a) How much energy is stored in the capacitor? Express your answer in terms of the following variables

if needed, A, V , d and

0

.

Capacitance is given by

C =

A

0

d

(times κ, but there’s no mention of a dielectric, and we can’t use it in our answer either). Stored energy is

U =

1

2

CV

2

=

AV

2

0

2d

176

Alternatively, we can use the ﬁeld energy formula:

U =

_

1

2

0

E

2

dV

_

dV = Ad, because the electric ﬁeld is zero everywhere else. Thus the integral, which is over “all space”,

is just over the volume enclosed by the capacitor plates. Thus we have

U =

1

2

0

E

2

Ad

V = Ed, so E =

V

d

U =

1

2

0

_

V

d

_

2

Ad

U =

AV

2

0

2d

Unsurprisingly, we get the same answer either way!

“We now increase the plate separation by a small amount dz.

(b) What now is the Electric ﬁeld in the capacitor? Express you answer in terms of the following variables

if needed, A, V , d, dz and

0

.

Remember that the battery has been disconnected! V can and will vary as we separate the plates! The

charge Q on the plates is ﬁxed, however. Q = CV ; C will go down as d increases, and so V must go up

to compensate.

What about the electric ﬁeld? E =

V

d

, but also E =

σ

0

. The latter makes it clear that the electric ﬁeld

must stay the same, so the answer is

E =

V

d

(since we aren’t allowed to use σ or Q in the answer).

“(c) What now is the energy stored in the capacitor? Express you answer in terms of the following variables

if needed, A, V , d, dz and

0

.

Okay; so energy stored is given by many diﬀerent equations:

U =

1

2

CV

2

=

1

2

Q

2

C

=

1

2

QV =

AV

2

0

2d

Since all must obviously be true, we can pick the one(s) that suits us. From the ﬁrst, it looks as if the

stored energy has gone up, as V has increased by the same factor C has decreased, but V is squared.

From the second, it also looks like it’s gone up. Same for the third. And fourth. So clearly, we did work

in separating the plates, and the energy has increased.

To what?

Looking at U =

1

2

QV , we know that Q in constant and V increases linearly with the distance. Therefore

U must also increase linearly, so

U

new

= U

old

d + dz

d

177

U

new

=

AV

2

0

2d

d + dz

d

=

AV

2

0

(d + dz)

2d

2

“(d) What force do I have to apply on one plate (the other plate is ﬁxed), to separate the plates by the

amount dz? Express you answer in terms of the following variables if needed, A, V , d, dz and

0

.”

At ﬁrst glance, this confuses me a bit. I guess the force required is an inﬁnitesimal amount higher than

the force pulling the plates together, but how do we specify that tiny extra bit? Let’s analyze it, though.

Force times distance is work, so if we ﬁgure out the work required, that should help us out. Okay.

Well, the plates attract each other via their electric ﬁelds. However we must be careful to not use the sum

of their two electric ﬁelds; objects can’t exert a force on themselves, so only the force from one plate on

the other will matter.

I will imagine that we move the bottom plate downwards, and that the bottom plate has negative charge

on it.

The electric ﬁeld that the bottom plate is in, due to the top plate, is

E =

σ

2

0

Since the plates contribute equally to the total ﬁeld of

σ

0

=

V

d

, the ﬁeld due to the top plate should be

E

top

=

V

2d

The magnitude of the force pulling the bottom plate upwards is then

F =

V

2d

Q

We can ﬁnd Q by knowing C and U:

U =

1

2

Q

2

C

2UC = Q

2

Q =

√

2UC

Now, clearly, if we try to ﬁnd the work by multiplying this by the distance moved, and then divide away

the distance to get force, we get back what we have. So let’s substitute Q in there:

F =

V

2d

√

2UC =

V

2d

_

2(

AV

2

0

2d

)(

A

0

d

)

=

V

2d

¸

2

_

A

2

V

2

2

0

2d

2

_

=

V

2d

_

AV

0

d

_

=

AV

2

0

2d

2

... and that is indeed accepted as the correct answer!

178

13.5 Week 6

13.5.1 Problem 1: Ampere’s law in action

“A long coaxial cable consists of two concentric conductors. The inner conductor is a cylinder with radius

R

1

, and it carries a current I

0

uniformly distributed over its cross section. The outer conductor is a

cylindrical shell with inner radius R

2

and outer radius R

3

. It carries a current I

0

that is also uniformly

distributed over its cross section, and that is opposite in direction to the current of the inner conductor.

Calculate the magnetic ﬁeld

B as a function of the distance R from the axis.”

Well, the problem name says what we should do.

First, let’s think about what will happen with the magnetic ﬁeld inside the outer shell, due to the outer

shell.

We choose an Amperean circle with radius r = R

2

, and an open surface that is just the circle’s area, and

get

2πrB

inside

= µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA

_

Since we are only considering the ﬁeld due to the outer shell, I

pen

is zero, since the surface is smaller than

the shell. What about the electric ﬂux? That is also zero - the electric ﬁeld is zero inside! Even if it

weren’t, there would be zero net ﬂux through the Amperean surface, since the electric ﬁeld is “radially”

outwards (+ˆ r) from the cylinder, and in the same plane as the circle. And even if that were not the case,

the ﬂux should be constant, so its derivative would be zero. In short: the magnetic ﬁeld inside due to the

shell must be zero, so we can ignore it for the calculations where r < R

2

.

Let’s start looking at the questions.

“What is the direction and magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld for 0 < r < R

1

? Express your answer in terms

of I

0

, R

1

, R

2

, R

3

, r and µ

0

.”

Inside the conductor, in other words. Well, we use Ampere’s law again, as usual.

The electric ﬂux will, again, be zero in our circle, so we can use the “old”, simpliﬁed version of the law, as

the second term is known to be zero either way. The left-hand side is just the integral around the circle,

as usual, so we start out with

2πrB = µ

0

I

pen

What is I

pen

, though? Since r < R

1

, it will be less than the full current. Namely, it will be the ratio of

the areas times the full current:

2πrB = µ

0

πr

2

πR

2

1

I

0

B =

µ

0

I

0

2π

r

R

2

1

The direction is given by the right-hand rule, so it will be in the +ˆ ϕ direction.

“What is the direction and magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld for R

1

< r < R

2

?

We barely need to re-solve it; instead, consider that I

pen

= I

0

, and so we only need to solve the ﬁrst

equation we had with that substitution:

179

2πrB = µ

0

I

0

B =

µ

0

I

0

2πr

The direction is unchanged.

“What is the direction and magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld for R

2

< r < R

3

?”

Ah, now the outer shell begins to matter. The magnetic ﬁeld due to the inner wire will be exactly the

same as the previous answer, however!

Once again, the second term in the law will be zero - there will be no magnetic ﬂux penetrating the surface

we choose, so the change in magnetic ﬂux will certainly also be zero. We set up the simple one instead:

2πrB

shell

= µ

0

I

pen

Ah, that I

pen

again... Well, this time, it will be the ratio of the area of the part of the shell inside r, to

the full shell’s area. Also, it’s negative, since it’s in the opposite direction as before. That is

I

pen

= −I

0

πr

2

−πR

2

2

πR

2

3

−πR

2

2

For the top term, we have the area of the circle with radius r, minus the area of R

2

which is the void

inside. Same for the outer part. Simpliﬁed, and substituted into Ampere’s law, we have

2πrB

shell

= µ

0

r

2

−R

2

2

R

2

2

−R

2

3

I

0

... keeping the minus sign in mind. So, the magnetic ﬁeld due to the shell, inside the shell, is

B

shell

= µ

0

r

2

−R

2

2

2πr(R

2

2

−R

2

3

)

I

0

The direction of this is then in the +ˆ ϕ direction as well, since we used the minus sign for the current.

The net magnetic ﬁeld inside the shell is the above, plus the old one:

B = µ

0

r

2

−R

2

2

2πr(R

2

2

−R

2

3

)

I

0

+

µ

0

I

0

2πr

(for R

2

< r < R

3

)

Simpliﬁed, we get

B =

I

0

µ

0

(r

2

−R

2

3

)

2πr (R

2

2

−R

2

3

)

(for R

2

< r < R

3

)

And ﬁnally:

“What is the direction and magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld for r > R

3

?”

This one is the easiest, actually!

To see why, imagine an Amperean circle, with its usual simple ﬂat surface attached to it. The circle is

larger than the cable (center + shell), and so I

pen

= +I

0

−I

0

= 0! The I

pen

term is zero, and the electric

ﬂux is zero (and thus the ﬂux change is zero), for the same reasons we’ve seen before.

The net ﬁeld outside is zero!

180

13.5.2 Problem 2: Intuition breaks down

“(a) In the diagram above the small semi-circle in the wire above R1 indicates that it is not in contact

with the horizontal wire which it appears to intersect due to the 2-dimensional projection. Additionally,

the horizontal wire is continuous, not broken.

Calculate [V

1

[ in terms of the emf E, R

1

, R

2

.”

Oh boy, non-conservative ﬁelds and weirdness. Let’s see how this goes.

We can NOT use Kirchoﬀ’s rule here, which is the entire point. We can however ﬁnd the current, and use

Ohm’s law to ﬁnd voltage drops, so let’s see... I think we’re to assume that I

1

= 0 and I

2

= 0 since there

is no mention about the volt meter resistance, etc. Let’s see if that assumption gives us correct answers.

I =

E

R

1

+ R

2

The magnitude of the voltage on V

1

would then be that current times R

1

... except that the voltmeter

is also wound around the changing ﬂux, so we get a +E, as there will be an induced EMF inside the

voltmeter as well, separately from the current loop I.

[V

1

[ =

E

R

1

+ R

2

R

1

+E

They then ask for [V

2

[; that is trivial: it is the current times the resistance, nothing more, nothing less.

Why? Because the voltmeter isn’t part of a loop where there is changing magnetic ﬂux, so we get nothing

but basic circuit analysis rules.

[V

2

[ =

E

R

1

+ R

2

R

2

Lastly, they want the ratio of the two, so we divide them and get

[V

1

[

[V

2

[

= 1 +

2R

1

R

2

“Now wrap that same wire not once around the circuit but 100 times before you connect it again to the

D-side. Without realizing it, in doing so you have been building some kind of a transformer (we will

discuss transformers later in the course).

(b) Calculate [V

1

[ [and [V

2

[, and their ratio] in terms of the 1 loop emf E ,R

1

, R

2

.

Cool. It’s immediately obvious that [V

2

[ doesn’t change, as that is still connected directly, and there will

be no extra EMF there. There is also no extra EMF that increases the current through R

1

, so only the

voltmeter’s “extra EMF” will change, from E to 100E. That indeed gives the correct answers, yay! The

three answers are then

[V

1

[ =

E

R

1

+ R

2

R

1

+ 100E

181

[V

2

[ =

E

R

1

+ R

2

R

2

[V

1

[

[V

2

[

= 100 +

101R

1

R

2

13.5.3 Problem 3: Helmholtz coils

“A current I = 2 Amperes ﬂows in a circular single loop coil of radius R = 10 cm.

(a) Evaluate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld (in Tesla) at a point P on the axis of the coil, and a

distance z = 5 cm away from the plane of the coil itself.”

Magnetic ﬁeld due to a circular current loop

Superposition is valid for magnetic ﬁelds, so we can start out by making the calculation for a single ring.

Unfortunately, that is not easy by itself - and the rest problem gets a lot worse from there. I suggest using

some form of computer math software for the rest of the problem... I use Mathematica, but there are

plenty of other alternatives, many (cost-)free and/or free+open source.

This part isn’t too hairy mathematically, though.

For a better explanation than mine below, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN296gUXkl4

Since the solution (both the process and the ﬁnal equation) are in the book, watching that is hardly any

more cheating than reading the textbook is. In fact, I could simply use the book’s equation, but that

wouldn’t make me learn, so I derive it myself as far as possible.

Now, then. We’ll have to use Biot-Savart, to begin with.

dB =

µ

0

4π

I

r

3

(

d r)

This would all be easy for z = 0, which we have done for a previous homework. Since we can’t make that

simpliﬁcation, r is no longer just the radius of the circle, but the distance from a point on the circle to

P, which is at height z above the center of the loop. This probably needs to be drawn on paper to make

complete sense.

What else? Well, the direction of r also changes; it’s no longer simply the vector pointing inwards towards

the middle of the circle. However, as long as we stay on the z-axis, via symmetry arguments, this should

all cancel out.

That is, the ﬁeld’s direction, if we stay along the z-axis, should be simply +ˆ z.

Drawing this out and using the Pythagorean theorem, we ﬁnd that the distance r to the point is given by

r =

√

R

2

+ z

2

This makes an angle θ with the xy-plane.

One more thing. If we look at the symmetry of this problem, it’s clear that only the z component isn’t

cancelled out (by the symmetry above). Therefore, are only interested in the z component of the ﬁeld

We then have

dB

z

=

µ

0

4π

I

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

(d[r[) cos θ

where the cosine comes from vector decomposition, to get the z-component.

Via geometry, we can see that

cos θ =

R

r

=

R

√

R

2

+ z

2

182

Therefore we have

dB

z

=

µ

0

4π

I

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

d[r[

R

√

R

2

+ z

2

dB

z

=

µ

0

4π

I

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

d

√

R

2

+ z

2

R

√

R

2

+ z

2

dB

z

=

µ

0

4π

IR

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

d

We can ﬁnally integrate that:

B

z

=

_

µ

0

4π

IR

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

d =

µ

0

4π

IR

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

_

d

B

z

=

µ

0

2

IR

2

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

Thus, we can answer part (a) by plugging in the values given.

Two circular loops

“Now consider two N-turn circular coils of radius R, each perpendicular to the axis of symmetry, with

their centers located at z = ±

2

. There is a steady current I ﬂowing in the same direction around each

coil, as shown in the ﬁgure below.”

The image shows a similar situation to what we had, then, but with two coils, above and below z = 0,

where the old one was.

“(b) Assuming the N = 100, I = 2 Amperes, R = 10 cm, = 2 cm, calculate the magnitude of the

magnetic ﬁeld (in Tesla) at a distance z = 0.5 cm from the midpoint between the centers of the two coils.”

The ﬁeld due to N loops is simply N times stronger, as each loop simply adds to the rest. (I suppose we

can think of it as integrating over the circle N times, so we integrate from 0 to N 2π, which then just

spits out a factor N.)

With that in mind, and superposition, this part should be easy enough. When using the equation we just

derived, the z value is really the distance from the center of the ring, which isn’t at z = 0 in the coordinate

system any longer. We need to adjust it slighly; same goes for the circle below. I’ll call the top one 1 and

the bottom one 2:

B

z1

=

µ

0

2

NIR

2

(R

2

+ (

2

−z)

2

)

3/2

B

z2

=

µ

0

2

NIR

2

(R

2

+ (−

2

−z)

2

)

3/2

The sum is then

B

z

=

µ

0

NIR

2

2

_

1

(R

2

+ (

2

−z)

2

)

3/2

+

1

(R

2

+ (−

2

−z)

2

)

3/2

_

If we just plug in the numbers given now, and sum the two answers, we get the answer they want.

“(c) Evaluate the ﬁrst derivative with respect to z of the magnetic ﬁeld calculated in part (b) using the

same values for the parameters. Express your answer in Tesla per meter.”

183

Goodness, this is why I recommend using math software. I’m not diﬀerentiating that - the z is hidden

inside two exponents, in the denominator of a fraction - and they want the second derivative later on, too!

The ﬁrst derivative is given by

dB

z

dz

= 4µ

0

NIR

2

_

6(l −2z)

((l −2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

5/2

−

6(l + 2z)

((l + 2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

5/2

_

The second derivative is given by

d

2

B

z

dz

2

= 4µ

0

NIR

2

_

60(l + 2z)

2

((l + 2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

7/2

−

12

((l + 2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

5/2

−

12

((l −2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

5/2

+

60(l −2z)

2

((l −2z)

2

+ 4R

2

)

7/2

_

What a friggin’ nightmare! My heart goes out to the students that solved this on their own. (I just noticed

that these equations are in the book. I’m sure some worked it out manually, though.)

Once again, though, plugging in the values gives the correct answer.

The rest of the questions are for the same problem, with R = l = 10 cm and z = 0, so we just plug in the

numbers to solve those, the point being that the ﬁrst and second derivatives are both exactly zero in that

case.

13.5.4 Problem 4: Spinning loop in a magnetic ﬁeld

“A square loop (side L) spins with angular frequency ω in ﬁeld of strength B. It is hooked to a load R.

(a) Write an expression for current I(t) in terms of B, L, R, ω and t.”

Well, we can ﬁnd the EMF using Faraday’s law. It’s the negative of the change in magnetic ﬂux through

the loop. So let’s ﬁrst ﬁnd the ﬂux through the loop; we have a planar surface, and a uniform, constant

magnetic ﬁeld of strength B (since there is no other information). Magnetic ﬂux is B-ﬁeld strength times

area, so

Φ

B

= L

2

Bcos θ

... where θ is the angle between B and the normal to the surface.

Since we are rotating the loop, θ changes with time according to the angular frequency ω:

θ = θ

0

+ ωt

We can choose θ

0

= 0 to simplify, so we do that, and then diﬀerentiate and negate it to ﬁnd the EMF:

Φ

B

= L

2

Bcos ωt

dΦ

B

dt

= −L

2

Bω sin ωt

E(t) = −

dΦ

B

dt

= L

2

Bω sin ωt

The current is then this, divided by the resistance R:

I(t) =

L

2

Bω sin ωt

R

“(b) How much work is done by the generator per revolution? Express your answer in terms of B,L,R and

ω (enter omega for ω).”

184

The work done will be equal to the heat dissipated in the resistor, so we could integrate that power over

the time of one rotation.

ω =

2π

T

, so T =

2π

ω

The power is given by I

2

R:

P(t) =

_

L

2

Bω sin ωt

R

_

2

R =

L

4

B

2

ω

2

sin

2

ωt

R

The work is the integral, then, from t = 0 to t = T:

W =

_

T

0

L

4

B

2

ω

2

sin

2

ωt

R

=

L

4

B

2

ω

2

R

_

T

0

sin

2

ωt

When we integrate the sine, and substitute T =

2π

ω

, the result of the integral is simply

π

ω

, so we get:

W =

L

4

B

2

ωπ

R

“(c) To make it twice as hard to turn (twice as much work), what factor would you have to multiply the

resistance R?”

It’s clear from the equation just above that, since no other variable is dependent or R, we simply need to

halve R, so the answer is

1

2

.

13.5.5 Problem 5: Loop in a magnetic ﬁeld

“A rectangular wire loop of dimensions a b, with a = 3.5 cm and b = 4.5 cm, is pulled parallel to side a

at a constant speed v = 4.3 m/sec into a region where the magnetic ﬁeld, [

**B[ = 0.125 T, is uniform and
**

perpendicular to the loop. The loop enters the magnetic ﬁeld at time t = 0.

(a) Calculate the rate at which the magnetic ﬂux through the loop is changing. Express your answer in

Tesla

m

2

sec

.

I would’ve preferred an illustration, but all right. I assume that “pulled parallel to side a” means there is

some external force in the same direction as the line a is in. That makes the area of the loop exposed to

the magnetic ﬁeld ba(t). The ﬂux is

Φ

B

= b a(t)B

The rate of change is then

dΦ

B

dt

= b

da

dt

B = bvB

“(b) What is the magnitude of the induced EMF at time t?”

This confuses me, since they are expecting a numerical answer... The magnitude of the EMF is the same as

the ﬁrst answer, though, which is accepted. I suppose the point they want to make is that it is independent

upon t? However, as soon as the loop has entered the magnetic ﬁeld fully, surely the ﬂux would become

constant.

185

13.5.6 Problem 6: Electrodynamic tether

“A L = 3 mile long conducting cable tethers a satellite to the International Space Station. The Cable

moves through the Earth’ magnetic ﬁeld of about B = 0.02 Gauss at a speed of v = 8 km/sec. The cable

points radially from the Space Station to the satellite. The ISS moves Eastwards and the magnetic ﬁeld

is Northward.

What is the potential diﬀerence between the two ends of the tether?”

This is really nothing more than a simple motional EMF problem. Unless I’m missing something (despite

having the answer right), most of the work is in the unit conversion, really. Most of this solution is restat-

ing facts about motional EMF.

Say we have a conductive bar moving rightwards, in a magnetic ﬁeld going into the page. The free electrons

in the bar experience a magnetic force upwards:

F

B

= q(v

B)

Positive charge gathers closer to the top, and negative charge towards the bottom.

This produces an electric ﬁeld inside the bar, from positive to negative as usual, which forces positive

charges down, and negative charges up, with force

F

E

= q

E

In an static situation of constant magnetic ﬁeld and velocity, we’ll ﬁnd an equilibrium where the forces

are equal:

q(v

B) = q

E

v

B =

E

We evaluate the cross product, which is simply vB, since the angle between them is 90 degrees, so the

sin θ term in the cross prodcut is one.

E = vB

Given that the electric ﬁeld should be constant (since v and B are constant), the potential diﬀerence is

then given by V = Ed, where d is the distance, here

∆V = vB

Going back to our problem, we can now solve for the potential diﬀerence:

∆V = vB = (8000

m

s

)(0.02 10

−4

tesla)(3 miles

1609 m

1 mile

) = 77.232 V

Which end has the higher potential? If the velocity is eastwards, and the B-ﬁeld northward, then the

magnetic force is “upwards” (outwards from the surface), so the positive charge gathers at the far end, so

the potential is highest at the end the farthest away from the Earth.

13.5.7 Problem 7: Motor

“A simple motor has N = 250 turns of wire on a coil measuring 12 cm 4 cm. It’s resistance is R = 10

ohms. The magnetic ﬁeld is B = 1 tesla.

(a) How much current (in Ampere) in the coil is needed to produce a maximum torque of 40 N m?”

186

Motors aren’t my strong side - they haven’t been talked about a whole lot in the course, and I didn’t take

8.01 prior to this course, so I’m not super-familiar with torque... so I had a look in the suggested reading.

The torque τ on the loop is given by

[τ[ = IAB

... where A is the area of the loop.

In this case, the current will be given by NI, as the multiple windings simply multiply the torque. So, we

have

[τ[ = NIAB

I =

[τ[

NAB

Now we just need to stick the numbers in, and ﬁnd I =

100

3

= 33.3333 amperes.

“(b) What maximum EMF (in Volts) is needed to drive the motor at 50 Hz if the current is constant?”

Let’s see. There will be an induced EMF due to the changing magnetic ﬂux through the loop, as it rotates.

The current through the loop (due to the external source) in the book’s drawing is counterclockwise, so

let’s assume that it will be at one instant, just for visualization.

What about the induced EMF, in which direction will that one be? In the one that opposes the change

in the external ﬂux, which turns out to be in the opposite direction, so the induced EMF will counteract

the external one the power supply provides.

What will the induced EMF be?

The ﬂux through the surface is

Φ

B

= NABcos θ

Since it rotates, as we’ve done before, we set θ = ωt, and then diﬀerentiate the ﬂux, and negate it, to ﬁnd

the EMF:

dΦ

B

dt

= −NABω sin ωt

E = −

dΦ

B

dt

= NABω sin ωt

The EMF maximum will then occur when sin ωt = 1, so the maximum induced EMF will be NABω.

ω = 2πf = 2π (50 Hz) = 100π, so the maximum induced EMF is

E = (250)(4 cm)(12 cm)(1 T)(100π rad/s) ≈ 377 V

Here’s the interesting point. The above is not only the maximum induced EMF, but actually also the

answer to the question.

Motors and generators are strongly related. If we think of this motor as a generator, the maximum EMF

generated at angular frequency ω is the same as the maximum EMF required to turn the motor at the

same angular frequency ω.

I’m still unsure of exactly why this is the case, though. I’m hoping next week’s talk about inductance and

phase lag help a bit.

187

13.5.8 Problem 8: Auroral zone

This problem has a very long introduction, with a derivation of the equation used, etc, and several ﬁgures.

I suggest reading that ﬁrst!

“... The solar wind ram pressure causes the magnetic ﬁeld of the earth to terminate at about 10R

E

on the

sunward side of the earth (see ﬁgure).

The auroral zone is deﬁned by the last ﬁeld line from the Earth that returns to the Earth. If the ﬁeld

of the earth extends no further than 10R

E

in the sunward direction, at what angle (in degrees) in the

picture above does the last ﬁeld line that returns to the earth on the sunward side leave the polar regions

of the earth at 1R

E

, assuming that the ﬁelds are always described by r = R

0

sin

2

θ? In the drawing, this

is equivalent to asking what is the angle with respect to the vertical of a line from the center of the earth

to the point that the red curve intersects the light blue circle.”

Admittedly, I ﬁrst solved this one by graphing it, and will solve it more mathematically below.

In polar coordinates, r = 1 gives a circle; if we choose our coordinate system such that R

E

= 1, this then

represents the Earth.

The ﬁeld lines are then plotted by the equation given, r = R

0

sin

2

θ, with various values for R

0

. When

R

0

= 10, we get that “last” ﬁeld line the questions asks about.

When we’ve graphed both on the same plot, we can simply zoom in and read oﬀ the angle. Well, almost -

polar coordinates deﬁne angles as 0 on the +x axis, and so to ﬁnd the answer - the angle from the vertical

axis, we need to shift it. Additionally, this angle will be in radians, while they requested degrees.

Anyhow, I read it oﬀ as 0.3975π from the horizontal axis; with the 90 degree =

π

2

conversion, and then

from radians to degrees, the answer is approximately

_

π

2

−0.3975π

_

180

◦

π rad

≈ 18.45

◦

It turns out the mathematical solution isn’t very much harder. We just set up

R

E

= 10R

E

sin

2

θ

... since those are the r coordinates where the lines meet, and solve the equation. The solution pops out:

10 sin

2

θ = 1

sin

2

θ =

1

10

sin θ =

1

√

10

θ = arcsin

1

√

10

≈ 18.43495

◦

Keep in mind that

sin

2

θ = (sin θ)(sin θ)

if that part was unclear.

13.6 Week 7

13.6.1 Problem 1: Magnetic energy of a solenoid

“Compare the total magnetic energy in two solenoids, each with N turns, area A, and current I, but length

x and 2x. Denote U

x

the total magnetic energy in the solenoid with length x, and U

2x

the one in the

188

solenoid with length 2x. What is U

2x

/U

x

?”

We calculated the magnetic ﬁeld energy density back in this week’s lecture notes, and since it featured a

fairly ugly integral, a circuit to solve etc., I won’t redo it all here, as I would if it were simpler.

Instead, we found the inductance L of a solenoid and the ﬁeld energy density U to be

L = πr

2

N

2

µ

0

U =

B

2

2µ

0

The B-ﬁeld inside the solenoid can be derived relatively easily using Ampere’s law, which we have done

previously (week 5), so I will do the quick-and-dirty version here. There is no displacement current through

the Amperean surfacae we choose, so we can use the simpliﬁed Ampere’s law:

_

B

d = µ

0

I

pen

Ba = µ

0

Ia

N

B = µ

0

I

N

**We then want to square that, and then divide by 2µ
**

0

, to ﬁnd the energy density:

U =

1

2µ

0

_

µ

0

IN

_

2

=

µ

0

I

2

N

2

2

2

The we have used is the length of the solenoid, which then is to be x or 2x.

Since the B-ﬁeld is assumed to be constant inside a solenoid, and 0 outside, the total magnetic energy is

the above times the volume, A, where we substitute in the value for :

U

x

=

µ

0

I

2

N

2

2x

2

Ax

U

2x

=

µ

0

I

2

N

2

2(2x)

2

A2x

Finding the ratio U

2x

/U

x

, we ﬁrst get rid of all the terms that are the same in both expressions, and get

U

2x

U

x

=

A2x

(2x)

2

_

Ax

x

2

=

A2x

4x

2

x

2

Ax

=

2Ax

3

4Ax

3

With all that cancels, we ﬁnd

U

2x

U

x

=

1

2

Since the total energy is proportional to

1

(the U

x

= ... equation above), this does appear to make sense.

The energy density is proportional to

1

2

, but we then multiply that by a term to ﬁnd the total energy.

189

13.6.2 Problem 2: Displacement current

“Consider the process of charging a parallel plate capacitor with circular plates of radius R = 5 cm sepa-

rated by a distance d = 0.2 cm. At some time t

1

, the capacitor is being charged with a current I = 0.035 A.

Consider a point P on the plane which is equally distant from the two plates and is a distance r = 0.068

m away from the axis of the capacitor.

(a) Calculate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld (in Tesla) at a point P at time t

1

during the charge of

the capacitor.”

We will want to use the (almost) full version of Ampere’s law for this one. (Next week we will ﬁnally have

the fully complete version.)

_

B

d = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

E

dA

_

We choose our Amperean loop as a circle with radius r, concentric with the capacitor plates, and centered

in the distance between the plates as mentioned. We must then attatched an open surface to our closed

loop (the circle), and we choose a ﬂat surface in the plate of the circle (think of it as the circle’s area) for

simplicity.

The left-side integral becomes B2πr; I

pen

= 0 since the surface is in in mid-air and no real current can pass

through it. The rate of change of the electric ﬂux through the surface will however be nonzero! Replacing

**E with its magnitude
**

Q

κ

0

πR

2

and the area the ﬂux goes through by πR

2

(capital R! r > R, so the ﬂux

only goes through part of πr

2

!) we get, with all our changes:

B2πr = µ

0

0

κ

d

dt

_

Q

κ

0

πR

2

πR

2

_

The dot product inside the integral turns into a regular multiplication, and the integral is trivial since the

E-ﬁeld is uniform, so all inﬁnitesimal products

E

dA are the same.

In taking the time derivative, we ﬁnd that the only non-constant is Q, which will change over time, so

d

dt

_

Q

κ

0

πR

2

πR

2

_

=

πR

2

κ

0

πR

2

d

dt

(Q) =

1

κ

0

dQ

dt

=

I

κ

0

where I is the current in the wire to (or from) the capacitor, not I

pen

which we established was zero.

Putting it all together and solving for B:

B2πr = µ

0

0

κ

I

κ

0

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

For the values given,

B =

(4π)(10

−7

)(0.035)

2π0.068

=

2(10

−7

)(0.035)

0.068

≈ 1.0294 10

−7

T

13.6.3 Problem 3: RL circuit

“Consider a circuit with an RL series with L = 0.09 H and R = 0.05 Ohm. At t = 0 the circuit is connected

to a battery which provides V

0

= 12 V.

(a) How long does it take to the current to equal a fraction 0.95 of the steady state current?”

We could set up and solve a diﬀerential equation, but there’s little in point in doing that, since we found

the solution already in this week’s lectures. The current is governed by the equation

190

I(t) =

V

R

_

1 −exp

_

−Rt

L

__

The steady state current is then just

V

R

, as the inductance will have no eﬀect for the steady state.

Thus, we want to ﬁnd when the ﬁrst equation equals 0.95 times the second:

V

R

_

1 −exp

_

−Rt

L

__

= 0.95

V

R

1 −exp

_

−Rt

L

_

= 0.95

−exp

_

−Rt

L

_

= −0.05

exp

_

−Rt

L

_

= 0.05

−Rt

L

= ln 0.05

t = −

L

R

ln 0.05

For the values given, t ≈ 5.392 seconds.

“(b) What is the energy stored (in Joules) in the magnetic ﬁeld when the current equals a fraction 0.95 of

the steady state current?”

The energy stored is given by

U =

1

2

LI

2

Since I at that time equals 0.95

V

R

,

U =

1

2

L

_

0.95

V

R

_

2

≈ 2339.28 J

“(c) What is the total energy delivered (in Joules) by the battery up to the time t found in part (a)?

How much energy (in Joules) has been dissipated in the resistor?”

The total energy delivered is the energy stored (in the ideal inductor) plus the energy burned in the resistor

up to that time, the integral of I

2

R from t = 0 to t = (answer a).

_

5.392318

0

I

2

R dt =

_

5.392318

0

V

2

R

2

_

1 −exp

_

−Rt

L

__

2

R dt =

V

2

R

_

5.392318

0

_

1 −exp

_

−Rt

L

__

2

dt

I didn’t see an easy way to get that integral down to something simple, so I solved it with Mathematica.

Simpliﬁed, and keeping the

V

2

R

in front in mind, I found

−

V

2

_

L

_

e

−

2RT

L

−4e

−

RT

L

+ 3

_

−2RT

_

2R

2

with T being the upper integration limit; T = 5.392318 for this problem. Putting the values in there, we

ﬁnd that the energy burned is ≈ 8265.796 joules.

That is then the answer for question (c2), while the answer to (c1) is (b) plus (c2).

(The total energy delivered is the energy stored plus the energy burned in the resistor.)

191

13.6.4 Problem 4: RL circuit

(Yep, the problem name is the same as the previous one!)

Consider the following circuit. We have R

1

= 11 Ohms, R

2

= 15 Ohms, R

3

= 13 Ohms, V = 7 Volts,

L = 0.09 H.

“At t = 0 the switch is closed.

(a) Immediately after the switch is closed, what are currents I

1

, I

2

, I

3

?”

Well, we don’t need diﬀerential equations nor regular equations for this one. I

1

= I

3

=

V

R

1

+R

3

. I

2

= 0

because of the inductor.

“(b) What are the three currents after the switch has been closed for a long time?”

Again simple: we now treat the inductor as a short-circuit with R = 0, and again we just have Ohm’s law

with a few parallel resistors.

I

1

= I

2

+ I

3

is clear, since the current through I

2

and I

3

must go through R

1

ﬁrst.

We can set up two loop equations for the outer and lower loops, keeping in mind that we need Faraday’s

law for the lower one. For the outer loop, we start in the bottom-right corner and go clockwise, simply

subtracting drops in potential, and adding climbs (the battery); the sum is then 0, Kirchhoﬀ’s rule applies.

−I

1

R

1

−I

3

R

3

+ V = 0

For the lower loop, we use Faraday’s law! The left-hand side will be the sum of the

E

d potential

diﬀerences, while the right-hand side will be the negative of the time derivative of the ﬂux. We start in

the same corner. In this method, we instead think about the E-ﬁeld’s direction and current’s direction

when deciding the same. For the same direction we add, opposite directions we subtract. We ﬁnd:

I

1

R

1

+ I

2

R

2

+ 0 −V = −

dΦ

B

dt

Remember that E = 0 inside the inductor, so it doesn’t contribute to the left side! Instead, we use the

deﬁnition of inductance LI = Φ

B

to get

I

1

R

1

+ I

2

R

2

−V = −L

dI

dt

We then have three equations and three unknowns. Because the current has stabilized,

dI

dt

= 0, so that

term disappears, and our diﬀerential equation simpliﬁes:

192

I

1

= I

2

+ I

3

−I

1

R

1

−I

3

R

3

+ V = 0

I

1

R

1

+ I

2

R

2

−V = 0

Solving the system, we get (I used Mathematica):

I

1

= I

2

+ I

3

I

2

=

R

3

V

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

R

3

+ R

2

R

3

I

3

=

R

2

V

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

R

3

+ R

2

R

3

“The switch is now opened again.

(c) What are the three currents after the switch is reopened?”

The question is slightly unclear, but the answers work if we calculate the answer for t = 0

+

where it was

opened at t = 0. That is, an inﬁnitesimal amount of time later, so that the inductor current is unchanged.

Note that the circuit changes. S, V and R

1

are now disconnected/left open, so the circuit is now L, R

2

and R

3

in series. Thus I

3

= −I

2

, with I

2

unchanged from our answer above.

I

1

= 0, since it is disconnected.

13.6.5 Problem 5: Opening a switch on an RL circuit

Even more RL circuits!

“The LR circuit shown in the ﬁgure contains a resistor R

1

and an inductance L in series with a battery of

emf E

0

= V

0

. The switch S is initially closed. At t = 0, the switch S is opened, so that an additional very

large resistance R

2

(with R

2

¸R

1

) is now in series with the other elements.

(a) If the switch has been closed for a long time before t = 0, what is the steady current I0 in the circuit?

Express your answer in terms of, if appropriate, V

0

, R

1

, R

2

and L.”

Well, that part’s crazy easy. I =

V

0

R

1

, since everything else is a short circuit.

“(b) While this current I

0

is ﬂowing, at time t = 0, the switch S is opened. Write the diﬀerential equation

for I(t) that describes the behavior of the circuit at times t > 0. Solve this equation (by integration) for

I(t) under the approximation that V

0

= 0. (Assume that the battery emf is negligible compared to the

total emf around the circuit for times just after the switch is opened.)

Express your answer in terms of the initial current I

0

, R

1

, R

2

, t and L.”

Well, that’s clearly a lot harder! What the problem means is then that V

0

is replaced by a short circuit,

while the switch of R = 0 is replaced by the resistance R

2

. So the circuit is R

1

, R

2

and L all in series,

with nothing else to worry about.

I would normally just apply the solution to the diﬀerential equation directly, but since they insist...

Starting at the bottom-right again (why not?), applying Faraday’s law; leftside closed line integral, right

side change in ﬂux:

IR

2

+ IR

1

= −L

dI

dt

Not having taken a diﬀerential equations class, hmm... Solve by integration, they say. I’m not sure how

to do that, and it’d feel a bit like cheating to just skip to the known solution, so I’ll attempt the method

193

taught in 6.002x (“circuits and electronics”). First, we try write it in a diﬀerent form. We set R = R

1

+R

2

,

to simplify things.

−

L

R

dI

dt

−I = 0

First, we ﬁnd the particular solution, which is any solution that satisﬁes the equation. If we choose I = 0,

that works, so I

p

= 0.

For the homogeneous solution, we need a function such that the derivative of I

h

is a constant

L

R

times

itself. The exponential function has this property, so we guess (yes, really) that might be a solution, only

that we have two unknown coeﬃcients. We choose I

h

= Ae

bt

:

L

R

dI

h

dt

+ I

h

= 0

L

R

d

dt

_

Ae

bt

_

+ Ae

bt

= 0

L

R

Abe

bt

+ Ae

bt

= 0

We can divide out Ae

bt

at this point:

L

R

b + 1 = 0

We can now ﬁnd b:

L

R

b = −1

b = −

R

L

Well, that looks familiar.

The answer to the diﬀerential equation is the sum of the particular and homogeneous solutions, we we add

the two. However, our particular solution was 0, so the answer is just the homogeneous solution:

I(t) = Aexp

_

−

R

L

t

_

(using exp(x) = e

x

notation, to make it readable)

We can ﬁnd the value of A by substituting an initial condition, I(0) =

V

0

R

(by analysis of the circuit), so

we substitute in that value for I and t = 0:

A =

V

0

R

The exponential turns into 1, so we ﬁnd the answer at once. The full solution, with A and b known, is

then

I(t) =

V

0

R

exp

_

−

R

L

t

_

... which we really knew already, having seen the answer in lecture. At least now we have derived it

ourselves, too.

The task was to express this answer, using I

0

for the initial current, I

0

=

V

0

R

=

V

0

R

1

+R

2

(remember that we

set R = R

1

+ R

2

earlier):

I

0

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

194

“(c) Using your results from part b), ﬁnd the value of the total emf around the circuit (which from Fara-

day’s law is −LdI/dt) just after the switch is opened. Express your answer in terms of, if required, V

0

,

R

1

, R

2

and L.”

Well, I suppose we should diﬀerentiate the above (since we want to know

dI

dt

and we know I), and multiply

it by −L, then.

d

dt

I

0

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

= −

I

0

(R

1

+ R

2

)

L

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

The EMF is then the above times −L, so

E = I

0

(R

1

+ R

2

) exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

The answer does make intuitive sense - the current running times the total resistance ought to equal the

total EMF!

At t = 0, the above simpliﬁes down to

E = I

0

(R

1

+ R

2

)

Time to be careful! I originally substituted in I

0

=

V

0

R

1

+R

2

and got

E = V

0

, several times over. However,

R

2

was just added - the circuit hasn’t had time to react to that, yet. So instead,

I

0

=

V

0

R

1

E =

V

0

R

1

(R

1

+ R

2

) = V

0

+

V

0

R

2

R

1

= V

0

_

1 +

R

2

R

1

_

“How reasonable is your assumption in part b) that V0 could be ignored for times just after the switch is

opened?”

Well, considering that we got the answer while assuming that, it appears it was a fairly great assumption.

“d) What is the magnitude of the potential drop across the resistor R

2

at times t > 0, just after the switch

is opened? Express your answers in units of V

0

assuming R

2

= 100R

1

.”

It would have to be the current, answer (b), times R

2

:

V

R2

= I

0

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

=

V

0

R

1

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

R

2

With R

2

= 100R

1

:

V

R2

= 100V

0

exp

_

−

_

R

1

+ R

2

L

_

t

_

The “times t > 0” part is a bit confusing; they are really asking for the value JUST after the switch is

opened, i.e. at t = 0

+

. Thus the exponential term disappears (with t = 0, the whole term becomes 1),

and V

R2

= 100V

0

, or, in “units of V

0

” as they ask for, just 100.

195

13.6.6 Problem 6: Self-inductance of a toroid

“A coil consists of N = 10

5

turns of wire wrapped uniformly around a plastic torus. The inside radius of

the torus is r

0

= 0.21 m and the outer radius is r

1

= 0.24 m. Thus, each winding has a diameter d = 0.03

m. What is the self-inductance (in H) of this coil? Work in the approximation d ¸r

0

.”

To ﬁnd the self-inductance, we ﬁrst apply Ampere’s law to ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld inside. Once we have that,

LI = Φ

B

can be used to calculate the inductance.

Let’s see. We begin by choosing the Amperean circle they have drawn for us (the dashed line), with the

radius r, to which we attach the ﬂat open surface that it bounds, πr

2

. The B-ﬁeld inside is approximately

constant at all points along the line, so we start out with

B2πr = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

κ

d

dt

S

E

dA

_

If I is constant, I see no reason for there to be any change in electric ﬂux. (If I varies, I’m not sure.)

We get rid of the displacement current term to get

B2πr = µ

0

I

pen

B =

µ

0

2πr

I

pen

What is I

pen

, however? That’s a bit trickier than with the straight solenoid... Or is it? The length of the

toroid must be the circumference of our Amperean circle, centered in the toroid, so = 2πr. Other than

that, the number of times it penetrates should be the same - the number of loops per unit length, times

the length, so

I

pen

= I

N

= NI

In that case,

196

B =

NIµ

0

2πr

This turns out to be the correct B-ﬁeld for a toroid! All right, let’s try to ﬁnd the ﬂux, so we can ﬁnd L.

As can be seen above, the B-ﬁeld is not constant inside, so we really need to integrate this over the area,

to ﬁnd the correct ﬂux.

However, we are told to “[w]ork in the approximation d ¸r

0

”.

We can write the B-ﬁeld as

B =

NIµ

0

2π(r

0

+ δ)

Factoring out r

0

from the sub-expression in the denominator gives us

B =

NIµ

0

2πr

0

(1 + δ/r

0

)

Now, since δ ¸r

0

, the δ/r

0

term becomes far less than the 1, so we neglect it, and ﬁnd

B ≈

NIµ

0

2πr

0

If we use that B-ﬁeld approximation, we see that in the approximation, it is now constant over the cross-

sectional area. We can now ﬁnd the ﬂux using Φ

B

= BA, with A being the cross-sectional area, and then

multiply by the number of windings to ﬁnd the total ﬂux:

Φ

B

≈

NIµ

0

2πr

0

π

_

d

2

_

2

Φ

B

≈

NId

2

µ

0

8r

0

The inductance is then given by

L =

NΦ

B

I

≈

N

2

d

2

µ

0

8r

0

≈ 6.73 H

This result is consistent with that of a a solenoid, which shouldn’t come as a huge shock, seeing that a

toroid is essentially a wrapped-up solenoid.

We also see that the toroid has a fairly huge inductance, which also shouldn’t be entirely surprising given

its size and 10

5

windings!

13.6.7 Problem 7: RL circuit

(Yes, really, “RL circuit”!)

“A circuit consists of a self inductor of L = 0.003 H in series with a resistor R

1

= 5 Ohm. Parallel to these

is a resistor R

2

= 10 Ohm. A battery of V

0

= 9 volt is driving the circuit.

Current has been running for 10 minutes.

(a) How much energy (in Joules) is now stored in the self-inductor?”

The time constant is less than a millisecond, so the 10 minutes means steady-state has been reached long

ago.

We treat the inductor as having zero resistance, so the current through it is I

1

=

V

0

R

1

. Power stored is

given by U =

1

2

LI

2

, so we can easily ﬁnd the answer using that combination.

197

U =

1

2

L

_

V

0

R

1

_

2

= 0.00486 J

“(b) How much power (in Watt) is then generated by the battery into the circuit? (ignore internal resistance

of the battery).”

The inductor no longer draws any power, so the answer is

P =

V

2

R

1

+

V

2

R

2

≈ 24.3 W

“The connection to the battery is now broken (so that the battery is not connected to the circuit anymore).

(c) How long will it take (in seconds) for the current through R1 to be reduced by 50%?”

We derived the equation for this earlier on in this week’s homework.

First, the circuit will change to be R

1

, R

2

and L in series.

Second, the current will die out following an exponential decay, given by

I(t) = I

0

exp

_

−

R

L

t

_

If we set that equal to 0.5I

0

, and solve:

−

R

L

t = ln 0.5

t = −

L

R

ln 0.5 ≈ 1.386 10

−4

s

keeping in mind that R = R

1

+ R

2

. This also answers (e), since the circuit is now a series circuit.

“(d) How long does it take (in seconds) till the energy stored in the self-inductor has been reduced by

50%?”

Energy stored is

U =

1

2

LI

2

=

1

2

L

_

I

0

exp

_

−

R

L

t

__

2

=

1

2

LI

2

0

exp

_

−2

R

L

t

_

We set that equal to 0.5 times the current stored energy,

1

2

LI

2

0

:

1

2

LI

2

0

exp

_

−2

R

L

t

_

=

1

4

LI

2

0

exp

_

−2

R

L

t

_

=

1

2

−2

R

L

t = −ln(2)

t =

L

R

ln(2)

2

≈ 6.93 10

−5

s

Since we solved part (e) above (same answer as for part c), so we are now done!

13.7 Week 8

There’s no homework this week, as the second midterm is next weekend.

198

13.8 Week 9

13.8.1 Problem 1: RC circuit

“In the following circuit V = 9 V, R = 25 Ohm, C = 0.0025 Farad.

At t=0 we start charging the capacitor with no charge initially on the capacitor.

(a) Calculate the time t∗ (in seconds) when the potential across the capacitor is V/2.”

The circuit is a simple series RC circuit, so I hardly see a need to draw it. The capacitor voltage and

current (the latter is the same for the entire circuit, of course) is given by

V

C

(t) = V

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

__

I(t) =

V

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

To ﬁnd the answer, we set the potential V

C

equal to V/2, and solve the exponential for t:

V

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

__

=

V

2

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

_

=

1

2

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

=

1

2

−

t

RC

= ln

1

2

t

RC

= ln 2

t

RC

= ln 2

t = RC ln 2

We plug our values in, and get t ≈ 0.04332 seconds.

“(b) How much energy (in Joules) has the power supply generated between t = 0 and the time when the

potential across the capacitor reaches V/2?”

There are several ways to solve this. We could ﬁnd the energy stored in the capacitor (

1

2

CV

C

2

) and the

energy dissipated in the resistor (

_

t

0

I

2

R dt), or we could integrate the power source’s power over time,

_

t

0

V I dt. I’ll choose the later approach, since it should be slightly easier, and it is also the approach that

immediately answers the question, without invoking conservation of energy etc.

We have the integral

E =

_

t

0

V I(t)dt = V

_

t

0

V

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

dt =

V

2

R

_

t

0

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

dt

E = V

2

C

_

1 −exp

_

−

t

RC

_

E ≈ 0.101247 J

199

13.8.2 Problem 2: RC circuit

“In the following circuit R

1

= 3 Ohm, R

2

= 10 Ohm, C = 0.003 Farad, V = 5 Volts.

At time t = 0 we connect the power supply to the circuit. At t = 0 the capacitor is uncharged.

(a) What is the time constant τ (in seconds) to charge up the capacitor?”

The time constant is given by τ = RC, where R is the equivalent resistance of the circuit, as seen by

the capacitor. We can ﬁnd that by shorting out the voltage source (replacing it with ideal wire), and

calculating the resistance by doing series/parallel analysis.

Doing so, we ﬁnd that all current to the capacitor must go through R

1

. It can go then either go through

R

2

or R

1

at the bottom; they are in parallel. So we have

R

eq

= R

1

+ (R

2

[[R

1

) = R

1

+

R

2

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

≈ 5.308 Ω

therefore

τ = R

eq

C ≈ 5.308 0.003 ≈ 0.015924 s

“(b) What is the electric potential over the capacitor when it is fully charged?”

When it is fully charged, the current through the top resistor is zero, and the voltage drop there is zero.

Thus the capacitor’s voltage is in parallel with V + V

R1

, and the two must be equal.

The current through the lower loop is I =

V

R

1

+ R

2

=

5

13

A, and the voltage drop across R

1

therefore

15

13

volts. Thus

V

C

= V −V

R1

≈ 3.846 V

“(c) Calculate the current delivered by the power supply as a function of time and evaluate it (in Ampere)

for t = 0.6τ, where τ is the value obtained in part (a).”

The function needs to have two parts: one that decays with time, and one that doesn’t.

The latter must either be a constant

5

13

, the current when the capacitor is fully charged (see (d) below),

or move up to that value as time passes.

It turns out that the two parts are the

5

13

and the capacitor current (the diﬀerence between the current

when it’s completely uncharged and acts like a short, and when it’s charged and acts like an open) times

the exponential, that is

I(t) = I(∞) + (I(0) −I(∞)) exp

_

−

t

τ

_

Therefore

I(t) =

5

13

+ (

V

R

eq

−

5

13

) exp

_

−

t

τ

_

Using the question’s values for all variables and constants:

I(t) =

5

13

+ (

5

5.308

−

5

13

) exp (−0.6) ≈ 0.6905 A

“(d) What is the current delivered by the power supply when the capacitor is fully charged?”

200

Well, the capacitor is an open circuit at that point, so it’s simply the current in the lower loop,

I =

V

R

1

+ R

2

=

5

13

A

“(e) How much energy (in Joules) is in the capacitor when it is fully charged?”

U =

1

2

CV

C

2

≈ 0.0222 J

... using the result for its voltage from (b).

13.8.3 Problem 3: RLC circuit

“In the following circuit R = 5 ohm, L = 0.02 H, C = 0.0065 Farad and V = 13 Volts. The capacitor is

initially uncharged.

(a) What is the current delivered by the battery immediately after the switch is closed?”

The inductor will act like an open, while the capacitor will act as a short circuit. The current will be at a

maximum through the capacitor, so I = V/R = 13/5 A.

(b) What is the the current delivered by the battery a long time after the switch is closed?

Now the inductor is a short, so the same answer applies.

“What is the potential diﬀerence across the capacitor a long time after the switch is closed?”

0, because the inductor is a short circuit in parallel with it.

13.8.4 Problem 4: An LRC circuit

“A circuit contains a self-inductance L in series with a capacitor C and a resistor R. This circuit is driven

by an alternating voltage V = V

0

sin ωt. We have L = 0.015 H, R = 80 Ω, C = 510

−6

F, and V

0

= 40 volts.

(a) What is the value (in radians/seconds) of the resonance frequency, ω

0

?

The resonance frequency for a series RLC circuit is given by

ω

0

=

1

√

LC

so ω

0

≈ 3651.48 rad/sec.

“(b) Consider three separate cases for which ω = 0.25ω

0

, ω = ω

0

, and ω = 4ω

0

respectively. For each case

calculate the the peak current I

0

in Amperes.”

To do this, we need to ﬁnd the equation that governs the current in the circuit. Finding that is not a

trivial task, so I will refer to the known result from lecture/the book instead:

I(t) =

V

0

_

R

2

+ (ωL −

1

ωC

)

2

sin(ωt −φ)

where

tan φ =

ωL −

1

ωC

R

201

Pay attention to that we use the sine function, rather than the usual cosine, as the problem description

states the driving voltage is a sine. The only diﬀerence is in the phase, so the old result should certainly

still be valid, however.

I didn’t realize this until I was essentially 100% sure I calculated the energy stored in the inductor correctly.

Turns out I did, if the driving voltage had been a cosine!

So, with that in mind, the peak current in the term that multiplies the sine, so we just need to stick our

values in there, and ﬁnd

I

0

≈ 0.181467 A (for ω = 0.25ω

0

)

I

0

≈ 0.5 A (for ω = ω

0

)

I

0

≈ 0.181467 A (for ω = 4ω

0

)

Note how at ω = ω

0

, the resonance frequency, the reactance is cancelled out and the peak current is

V

0

R

.

“(c) Find the energy UC(t) and the energy UL(t) stored in the capacitor and in the inductor, respectively,

at time t

1

= 0.0003 seconds for ω = ω

0

. Express your answers in Joules.”

OK. How should we approach this? We have an expression for the current in the circuit, and the current

must be the same through all elements at all times. Therefore, we can use the current expression and

U =

1

2

LI

2

to answer the second question:

U

L

=

1

2

LI

2

≈

1

2

L0.444566

2

≈ 0.0014823 J

We can ﬁnd U

C

trivially by knowing a fact about RLC circuits: the energy stored in the capacitor plus

the energy stored in the inductor is always the maximum energy stored in either. So there is a time where

the total stored energy in the circuit is

1

2

CV

2

C

, and at that time U

L

= 0. At another time, the inductor’s

stored energy is at its maximum, which is when the capacitor’s energy is 0.

Between the extremes, the sum of their stored energies is always the maximum stored energy, which we

ﬁnd easily with

1

2

LI

0

2

(since, as stated, U

C

= 0 at that time). Therefore,

U

C

=

1

2

LI

0

2

−U

L

= 0.001875 −0.00148229 = 0.00039271 J

We can also ﬁnd this by integrating the capacitor’s voltage:

V

C

(t) =

1

C

__

t

1

0

I(t)dt

_

+ V

C

(0)

V

C

(t) =

1

C

_

t

1

0

V

0

sin ωt

R

dt + V

C

(0) =

V

0

RC

_

t

1

0

sin ωt dt + V

C

(0)

since we are at resonance, and the inductive and capacitive reactances cancel, so that only the resistor

contributes to limiting the current, which is in phase with the driving voltage.

Solving it, we ﬁnd

V

C

(t) =

V

0

RC

1 −cos(ωt

1

)

ω

+ V

C

(0) ≈ 14.8528 + V

C

(0)

Well, what is V

C

(0)? It’s not zero; keep in mind that the equations we are working with are only true

at steady state, so the capacitor doesn’t necessarily have to be uncharged at t = 0; the circuit must have

been running prior to t = 0.

One way to ﬁnd it is to use the knowledge that the current is 0 (because the driver is a sine, and it is in

202

phase with the current), which means the capacitor’s voltage is at a maximum (or else the current would

not be zero). Therefore, the capacitor’s voltage is

V

C

(0) = I

max

1

ωC

≈

0.5

3651.48 5 10

−6

≈ 27.386 V

(via essentially Ohm’s law, using the impedence).

We can then apply the potential energy formula:

U

C

=

1

2

(5 10

−6

)(14.8528 −27.386)

2

≈ 0.0003927 J

... though this was more complex than the solution that uses the knowledge that U = U

C

+U

L

is constant.

13.8.5 Problem 5: Design a ﬂute

“A ﬂute can be regarded as a tube open at both ends. It will emit a musical note if the ﬂutist excites a

standing wave in the air column inside the tube.

The lowest musical note that can be played on a ﬂute is C (261.7 Hz). What must be the length of the

tube? Assume that the air column is vibrating in its fundamental mode.”

Interesting! But very simple. We use the equation from lecture,

f

1

=

v

2L

v ≈ 340 m/s, the speed of sound in room-temperature air. L is the length of the ﬂute, which we want to

ﬁnd. So we rearrange it, and get

L =

v

2f

1

With v = 340 m/s and f

1

= 261.7 Hz, we ﬁnd L = 0.65 meters.

13.8.6 Problem 6: Width of resonance peak

Consider the following RLC circuit: (standard series RLC circuit)

with V = 3 Volts, R = 25 Ohms, C = 0.006 Farad, L = 0.085 Henry. Deﬁne the frequencies ω± as the

frequencies such that the absolute value of the current of the circuit I0(ω) equals

1

2

I

0max

.

What is the diﬀerence ∆ω = ω

+

−ω

−

? Express your answer in radians/sec.”

Well, the problem doesn’t actually specify the driving waveform, except that there’s a sine wave on the

voltage source in the diagram, so I’ll take it to be V cos ωt. The phase shouldn’t matter for this question

anyhow.

Given that, we have this:

I(t) =

V

0

_

R

2

+ (ωL −

1

ωC

)

2

cos(ωt −φ)

where

tan φ =

ωL −

1

ωC

R

If we set

X = ωL −

1

ωC

203

Z =

√

R

2

+ X

2

to reduce the clutter, we have

I(t) =

V

0

Z

cos(ωt −arctan

X

R

)

If Z = R, we have the maximum possible current (at resonance). Therefore we should have half the

maximum current at twice that impedance, Z = 2R (where half the impedance comes from the L and C).

_

R

2

+ (ωL −

1

ωC

)

2

= 2R

The equation has four solutions, but two are negative (with the same absolute value as the other two), so

we ﬁnd

ω

+

= 513.247 rad/s

ω

−

= 3.82035 rad/s

∆ω = 509.4267 rad/s

(I’m sure we could do this with less math, but I used Mathematica for the equation solving here; I couldn’t

ﬁnd a really simple way to solve this; solving

√

R

2

+ X

2

= 2R for X, and then the deﬁnition of X =

√

3R

which we ﬁnd from the ﬁrst equation gives us two frequencies, the absolute values of which are correct,

but one is negative.)

The resonance frequency is

ω

0

=

1

√

LC

≈ 44.281 rad/s

We can ﬁnd the resonance frequency as the geometric mean of the half-current frequencies:

ω

0

=

√

ω

+

ω

−

≈ 44.281 rad/s

13.8.7 Problem 7: Standing wave

“Consider the following standing wave, (all units are SI)

z = 0.2 sin(0.4y) cos(350t)

(a) what is the wavelength?”

The equation is of the form

z = Asin(ky) cos(ωt)

so we ﬁnd the wavelength as λ =

2π

k

=

2π

0.4

.

“(b) what is the angular frequency ω in radians/sec?”

ω = 350, see above.

“(c) what is the frequency (f) in Hz?”

f =

ω

2π

=

350

2π

204

“(d) The values of y where the displacement is always zero, are of the form y = a + bn, where n=0, ±1,

±2, etc.

What are a and b?”

Let’s see. The wavelength is λ =

2π

k

=

2π

0.4

, and this happens at multiples of half that. At y = 0,

sin(0.4 0) = 0, so there is a node there. Therefore a = 0, so that when n = 0, a + bn = 0.

b must then be half the wavelength (above).

“(e) The values of t where the displacement at all values of y equals to zero are of the form t = c + dn,

where n=0, ±1, ±2, etc.

What are c and d?”

So what this is saying that if we plot the wave, it will be a “straight line” through the y axis (x axis on a

x-y plot) twice per cycle, at times t = c + dn.

This should happen when cos ωt = 0. Solving that, we ﬁnd

t =

π

2ω

+

π

ω

n

which nicely translates into c and d.

13.8.8 Problem 8: Traveling wave

“Consider the following traveling wave (all units are SI).

x = 0.05 cos(3.5y + 126t)

(a) What is the wavelength λ in m?”

Here we have the form

x = Acos(ky + ωt)

The wavelength is again λ =

2π

k

.

To save time writing: the other questions are for ω, f, the wave’s direction, the speed of propagation v

and the amplitude.

ω is given in in the ωt; f =

ω

2π

; the direction is −y; minus because there is a plus between ky and ωt (the

direction is opposite that sign) and y because we have ky.

The speed of propagation is found as

λ = vT

so

v =

λ

T

= λf

Finally, the amplitude is the number multiplying the cosine, so A = 0.05.

205

13.8.9 Problem 9: Lightly damped undriven circuit

On to what looks like the week’s hardest problem.

Consider the RLC circuit shown in the ﬁgure below in which R

2

< 4L/C (underdamped).

Assume that at t = 0 , the charge on the capacitor has its maximum value.

(a) The diﬀerential equation obeyed by the potential across the capacitor can be written in the following

form:

d

2

V

dt

2

+ a

dV

dt

+ bV = 0

Express a [and b] in term of, if necessary, R, L, C.”

OK. We start by writing down the circuit in terms of voltage, which means using a few equations used for

capacitors and inductors:

I

C

(t) = C

dV

dt

I

L

(t) =

1

L

_

t

0

V

L

(t)dt + V

L

(0)

Using Kirchhoﬀ’s bastardized loop rule (the one that holds, but confuses the physics for many),

V

R

(t) + V

C

(t) + V

L

(t) = 0

RI(t) +

_

1

C

_

t

0

I(t)dt + I(0)

_

+ L

dI

dt

= 0

The current through the circuit can be writtes as I = C

dV

dt

, where V is the potential across the capacicitor

(V = V

C

):

RC

dV

dt

+

_

1

C

_

t

0

C

dV

dt

dt + I(0)

_

+ LC

d

2

V

dt

2

= 0

I(0) = 0, because the capacitor is fully charged at that time, so the I(0) term disappears, and the integral

of the derivative simpliﬁes:

RC

dV

dt

+ V + LC

d

2

V

dt

2

= 0

Re-order:

LC

d

2

V

dt

2

+ RC

dV

dt

+ V = 0

Remove coeﬃcient from the second derivative:

d

2

V

dt

2

+

R

L

dV

dt

+

1

LC

V = 0

So we see then, that

a =

R

L

b =

1

LC

These values have other often used names, a = 2α and b =ω

2

0

. Here we see that 2α = ∆ω (which we also

haven’t discussed) is the bandwidth, and ω

0

=

1

√

LC

is the resonance frequency of the circuit.

206

“In the circuit above, R = 251 Ohm, L = 0.07 H, C = 2 10

−6

F.

(b) What is the decay constant (in seconds) according to which the charge on the capacitor is decaying?”

It seems to me this would be easier if we have an equation for Q, so let’s solve a diﬀerential equation for

Q instead, and see what happens.

Going clockwise with the current, starting at the top-left corner, using Faraday’s law:

I(t)R + 0 −

Q

C

= −L

dI

dt

I(t)R −

Q

C

+ L

dI

dt

= 0

Writing I(t) in terms of

dQ

dt

:

−R

dQ

dt

−

Q

C

−L

d

2

Q

dt

2

= 0

... keeping the sign in mind, as the current is clockwise, but

dQ

dt

< 0. We can multiply by -1 throughout,

and “sort”:

Q

C

+ R

dQ

dt

+ L

d

2

Q

dt

2

= 0

We solve this for the initial conditions Q(0) = Q

0

and Q

**(0) = 0 (as the current will be zero if the
**

capacitor’s fully charged at the moment). We ﬁnd a complex solution, however, the beginning of it is

Q(t) = Q

0

exp

_

−

Rt

2L

_

_

...

_

Using the standard form of

exp

_

−

t

τ

_

we ﬁnd

τ =

2L

R

which gives the correct answer. We could also have watched the problem solving videos where this decay

constant is given.

(c) The times at which the total energy stored in the RLC circuit is exclusively of electric nature can be

written as

t = a + bn n = 0, 1, 2, 3 ...

What are a and b?”

This happens when all the energy is in the capacitor (stored in an electric ﬁeld), which happens when

I = 0.

Finding the equation governing the current may not be easy, but we don’t have to. We know that I(0) = 0,

and by deﬁnition, the zero crossing occur with a period

T

2

, with T given by T =

2π

ω

.

(There are two zero crossings per period of a sinusoid.)

207

ω isn’t easy to ﬁnd either (Mathematica’s solution of the diﬀerential equation doesn’t contain it in an

easy-to-ﬁnd manner, at least), so I will use the equation shown in the problem solving video:

ω =

_

1

LC

−

R

2

4L

2

So we have

T =

2π

ω

≈ 0.003170045

a = 0

b ≈

0.003170045

2

a = 0 because we know a zero crossing is at t = 0, so when n = 0, bn = 0, and a + bn = 0.

13.9 Week 10

13.9.1 Problem 1: Traveling electromagnetic waves

“Consider two examples of a plane, monochromatic, electromagnetic wave traveling in a homogeneous

medium. The electric ﬁeld vector is given in the two cases by

case (1) E

x

= 0; E

y

= 0; E

z

= 50 sin(4.71x + 9.12 10

8

t)

case (2) E

x

= 0; E

z

= 0; E

y

= 55 sin(4.71x −1.05 10

9

t)

where [

**E[ is measured in V/m, t in sec, and x in m. For each case, answer the following questions:”
**

“(a) What is the propagation direction of the wave?”

The direction of propagation is given by the term inside the sine; in the ﬁrst case, we have the form

sin(kx +ωt) which implies movement in the negative x direction. In the second case, the opposite is true.

They then ask for the wavelength and wave number. The wave number we use is deﬁned as k =

2π

λ

, so

λ =

2π

k

, with k being 4.71 in this case, so that answers the four sub-questions here.

After that, they ask for the frequency. That is given by f =

λ

v

, but v ,= c here, and we do not know it, so

we have to ﬁnd some other way to calculate it. We can use ω, the term multiplying t in the sine.

ω = 2πf, so f =

ω

2π

, which answers these two questions.

Next up, the propagation velocity in meters per second (which we could’ve used above). We can relate

that to the wavelength and frequency: λf = v.

Next question: index of refraction. n =

c

v

, so we can pretty much take 3 10

8

m/s and divide it by two

previous answers. Easy.

After that, they want the corresponding equations for

B = B

0

sin(kx ± ω

t

)

ˆ

d, where we are to give them

the direction, B

0

, k and ω, with the correct sign.

They are in phase with the electric ﬁeld, so we just copy the contents of the sine above.

As for the direction,

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ v, so we have ˆ z

ˆ

B = −ˆ x for the ﬁrst case. That means that

ˆ

B = ˆ y via the

right-hand rule.

For the second case, we have ˆ y

ˆ

B = +ˆ x, which means

ˆ

B = +ˆ z.

What about magnitudes? In a vacuum,

208

B

0

=

E

0

c

...but this is not in a vacuum. I assume we can replace c by v and be done with it, and that indeed gives

us green checkmarks, using v from above instead of c.

Finally, the last sub-question: what is the time-averaged Poynting vector (magnitude and direction) for

x = y = z = −3 for case 2?

The Poynting vector is given by

S =

E

B

µ

0

, and its time-averaged magnitude by ¸S¸ =

E

0

B

0

2µ

0

.

Thus the direction is given by dir

S =

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ y ˆ z = ˆ x.

The magnitude is simply found using the formula above - we have E

0

and B

0

already, and know µ

0

=

4π10

−7

.

The coordinates do not enter into this, because this is a plane wave.

13.9.2 Problem 2: A standing electromagnetic wave

“A wave solution to Maxwell’s Equations is given by

E = E

0

ˆ x cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t) where z is mea-

sured in centimeters and t in seconds.”

“(a) What is the wavelength (in meter) of the wave?”

Ugh, centimeters. Well, let’s look at this the right way, and not divide by 100 where we should really

multiply, etc.

The wavelength is λ =

2π

k

, where k is given in radians per meter.

We are given k in rad/cm, so we need to multiply it by 100 to get rad/m:

λ =

2π

9.5 100

They then ask for the frequency f =

ω

2π

and index of refraction n =

c

v

of the medium.

f =

ω

2π

=

1.84 10

11

2π

Hz

v =

ω

k

=

1.84 10

11

9.5 100

≈ 1.936 10

8

m/s

n =

c

v

=

3 10

8

1.936 10

8

“(c) The associated magnetic ﬁeld can be written as

B = B

0

f

1

(kz) f

2

(ωt)

ˆ

d

What is the direction, the value of B

0

, k, ω and what are f

1

and f

2

?”

The direction must be ±ˆ y, because the wave is “propagating” in the ˆ z direction (though this is a standing

wave, so the movement is cancelled out), and the E-ﬁeld is in the ˆ x direction.

We should ﬁnd that ˆ x

ˆ

B = ˆ z, so

ˆ

B = ˆ y for that to be true.

The magnitude can be found via B

0

=

E

0

v

, where v =

c

n

, so we have the values we need to answer that.

k and ω have the same values as for the E-ﬁeld, we can just copy and paste them (but watch out for the

units of k being in cm, so we must multiply it by 100 here as well).

f

1

and f

2

are both the sine function. The E-ﬁeld uses cosines, and the B-ﬁeld is 90 degrees out of phase

in a standing wave (see the problem solving videos).

209

“Use the following trigonometric identity

2 cos αcos β = cos(α + β) + cos(α −β)

to express the standing wave as a superposition of two traveling waves. Then, obtain the magnetic ﬁelds

associated to those traveling electric ﬁeld, and combine them together to get the magnetic ﬁeld associated

with the standing electric ﬁeld.”

Well, we have

E = E

0

ˆ x cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t)

that we need to match up with the identity, and split up. Clearly, α = 9.5z and β = 1.84 10

11

t. The

identity has a factor of two prior, and our equation has the factor E

0

... so it looks like we can write it as

E = E

0

ˆ x cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t)

E =

E

0

2

ˆ x

_

cos(9.5z + 1.84 10

11

t) + cos(9.5z −1.84 10

11

t)

_

So the standing E-ﬁeld can be written as the above sum. Writing the two traveling waves as two equations,

we ﬁnd

E

tr1

=

E

0

2

ˆ x cos(9.5z + 1.84 10

11

t)

E

tr2

=

E

0

2

ˆ x cos(9.5z −1.84 10

11

t)

... with

tr1

signifying traveling wave 1, etc. Next, they want us to ﬁnd the magnetic ﬁelds of those waves.

We now have two traveling waves, so we use B

0

= E

0

/v, with v ≈ 1.936 10

8

m/s as we found earlier.

The B-ﬁeld should now be in phase, so we ﬁnd

B

tr1

= −

E

0

2v

ˆ y cos(9.5z + 1.84 10

11

t)

B

tr2

=

E

0

2v

ˆ y cos(9.5z −1.84 10

11

t)

Note the minus sign in B

tr1

, which is absolutely crucial! Without it, we don’t ﬁnd

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ v, but −ˆ v

instead, which is of course incorrect. That screws up our entire result, too.

We can combine the result using the identity

cos(α ±β) = cos αcos β ∓sin αsin β

B

tr1

= −

E

0

2v

ˆ y

_

cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t) −sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

11

t)

_

With less confusing minus signs (by distributing the one in front):

B

tr1

=

E

0

2v

ˆ y

_

−cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t) + sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

11

t)

_

B

tr2

=

E

0

2v

ˆ y

_

cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t) + sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

11

t)

_

We now see that when we add these two, the cosine terms cancel, and the sine terms add:

B =

E

0

2v

ˆ y 2 sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

1

1 t)

B =

E

0

v

ˆ y sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

1

1 t)

210

This is indeed what we need to get part (c) correct (above).

“(d) What is the time-averaged Poynting vector for x = y = 3, z =

√

3? Express you answer in joules per

square meters per second.”

We barely need to do math to solve this one - the answer is 0 for all components, because this is a standing

wave! The time-averaged Poynting vector will be zero in such a case, since there is no net movement.

However, let’s have a quick look at the math that proves this.

S =

E

B

µ

0

=

(E

0

cos(9.5z) cos(1.84 10

11

t))(

E

0

v

sin(9.5z) sin(1.84 10

11

t))

µ

0

(

ˆ

E

ˆ

B)

That’s way too messy, so I will calculate the result with α and β instead:

Sµ

0

=

E

2

0

v

cos αcos β sin αsin β

What is the time average of the trigonometric mess on the right? Looking at the functions of time (β), we

have one cosine and one sine, essentially sin t cos t. Because the argument is the same for both functions,

we get the shape of a sinusoid, with lower amplitude than plain sin t. Indeed, it’s equivalent to

1

2

sin(2t),

and the time-average of that is zero! Since we are multiplying all the terms together, and one of them has

a time-average of 0, the time average of the Poynting vector is also zero.

13.9.3 Problem 3: E-M waves - Maxwell’s equations, and the speed of light

“We discussed in lectures that traveling Electromagnetic waves in vacuum of the form

E = E

0

ˆ x cos(kz −ωt)

B = B

0

ˆ y cos(kz −ωt)

satisfy all 4 Maxwell’s equations. In lectures, I showed that an application of the generalized Ampere’s Law

(closed loop surrounding area A2, see below), leads to: B

0

= E

0

0

µ

0

c, and I mentioned that independently

it follows from an application of Faraday’s Law that B

0

= E

0

/c. Combining these two results then leads

to the fantastic result that the “speed of light” in vacuum c =

1

√

0

µ

0

. I want you to show that Faraday’s

Law indeed leads to the result B

0

= E

0

/c. You can show this by choosing a similar special area as we did

in lectures:

We deﬁne the normal of the surface A1 in the ﬁgure above to point in the +ˆ y direction. In the following,

assume that =1 m, E

0

= 1 V/m, f = 610 10

12

Hz, where f is the frequency of oscillation.

211

(a) We deﬁne f

1

(t) =

_

E

d, where

_

E

**d is the closed loop integral taken along the contour of the area A1
**

in the ﬁgure above. Evaluate the function f

1

(t) in Volts for the following value of t: t = 2.210

−16

seconds.”

Wow, that’s a lot of text! Well, most of the intro text is irrelevent for solving the problem (it’s a nice

background, but we don’t need to memorize it!).

The E-ﬁeld is in the ˆ x direction, so we can think of it as a sinusoid drawn upon the ﬁgure above, in the

z −x plane, going left to right.

We go counterclockwise for the line integral. The reason for this is that the problem deﬁnes the surface

normal as +ˆ y, so according to the right-hand rule, with the thumb pointing out of our screens, we curl

the ﬁngers counterclockwise.

The top and bottom segments are both perpendicular to the E-ﬁeld, and so their dot products are both

zero.

The rightmost segment has

d up, and the E-ﬁeld up, so that contributes a positive term +E(λ/4, t).

The leftmost segment has

d down, but the E-ﬁeld up, so that contributes a negative term −E(0, t). Thus

we have:

_

E

d = E(λ/4, t) −E(0, t)

= E

0

_

cos(

kλ

4

−ωt) −cos(0 −ωt)

_

= E

0

_

cos(

π

2

−ωt) −cos(ωt)

_

= E

0

(sin(ωt) −cos(ωt)) ≈ 0.0817035 V

“(b) Consider the function f

2

(t) = Φ

B

(t). Following the method used in Lecture 27, calculate the function

f

2

(t), and evaluate it (in Volts seconds) for the following time t: t = 2.2 10

−16

seconds.”

The method used in lecture was to integrate over the area shown in the ﬁgure above, so let’s try that from

memory (it should be obvious how to do this anyway).

Since the B-ﬁeld is in the +ˆ y direction, we need to do this on the area perpendicular to that, A1, or we

will surely ﬁnd Φ

B

= 0.

This being a plane wave, the B-ﬁeld is constant in the xy plane, but not in the z plane. We can thus

integrate it, with being the length of the side where it’s constant, and dz the width, integrating from

z = 0 to z = λ/4.

By the way, the area is perpendicular to the B-ﬁeld, so we need not worry about any cos θ here.

Φ

B

=

_

λ/4

0

Bdz = B

0

_

λ/4

0

cos(kz −ωt)dz

Φ

B

=

B

0

k

(cos(ωt) + sin(ωt))

We plug in the values, with B

0

=

E

0

c

(which we are trying to prove!), ω = 2πf and k =

2πf

c

, and ﬁnd

Φ

B

≈ 3.68366 10

−16

T/m

2

.

Next they want the negative of the derivative, i.e. the change in ﬂux, that is, Faraday’s law.

−

dΦ

B

dt

=

B

0

k

−

d

dt

(cos(ωt) + sin(ωt))

−

dΦ

B

dt

= −

B

0

k

(−ω sin(ωt) + ω cos(ωt))

212

−

dΦ

B

dt

≈ 0.0817035 V

We ﬁnd the same result as in part (a), which shouldn’t be surprising, as Faraday’s law states

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

... and all we’ve done is to calculate the left and right sides of the equation separately!

However, we calculated B

0

using

E

0

c

, so at least for these numbers, we have proven the two to be equal.

Can we prove it generally? Let’s see, if we equate the symbolic answers for the line integral and the

(negative) ﬂux derivative:

E

0

(sin(ωt) −cos(ωt)) = −

B

0

k

(−ω sin(ωt) + ω cos(ωt))

Factor out ω and cancel :

E

0

(sin(ωt) −cos(ωt)) = −

B

0

ω

k

(−sin(ωt) + cos(ωt))

Factor out −1 on the right-hand side:

E

0

(sin(ωt) −cos(ωt)) =

B

0

ω

k

(sin(ωt) −cos(ωt))

We can now cancel the trig terms completely:

E

0

=

B

0

ω

k

= B

0

ω

k

= B

0

c

Success!

E

0

= B

0

c

B

0

=

E

0

c

13.9.4 Problem 4: Polarized radiation

“Write down the electric ﬁeld and associated magnetic ﬁeld in vacuum for a traveling plane wave with the

following properties. The amplitude of the electric vector is E

0

and the frequency is ω. The radiation is

linearly polarized in the y-z plane at an angle α of π/4 with respect to the y-axis, and it is traveling in

the +x direction. The electric and magnetic ﬁeld can be written in the following way:

E = E

0

cos(ωt + (−1)

b

E

kx)(c

E

ˆ x + d

E

ˆ y + e

E

ˆ z)

B = cos(ωt + (−1)

b

B

kx)(c

B

ˆ x + d

B

ˆ y + e

B

ˆ z)

There are two options for the direction of α. What are the parameters for both electric and magnetic

ﬁeld? Give answers for the two possible options:”

They then want values for b

E

, c

E

, d

E

and e

E

, for α = π/4 from the +y direction (rotated towards +z) and

for α = −π/4 from the +y direction (rotated towards -z).

Let’s look at the ﬁrst case ﬁrst. But even before that, what do they even mean?

If the radiation were linearly polarized in y, that would mean that the E-vector is described by

E = E

0

ˆ y

times some sine or cosine. That is, the x and z components are exactly zero.

Since this wave is polarized in the yz plane, with an angle with respect to the x axis, we will have a zero

x component, but nonzero y and z components. (However considering the angle of 45 degrees, I assume

the y and z components will be equal in magnitude!)

213

The direction of the polarization must always be perpendicular to the direction of propagation, which it

is: the wave propagates in the +x direction (in phase with the B wave), while the polarization is in the

yz plane.

(The B-ﬁeld is perpendicular to the E-ﬁeld, as usual, and is in phase, as usual. However, we deﬁne linear

polarization via the E-vector only, and we will ignore the B-ﬁeld for now, and ﬁnd the E-ﬁeld ﬁrst.)

Okay, so let’s look at this thing. There should be a minus sign in the cosine, since the wave is propagating

in the plus x direction. So

b

E

= 1

c

E

= 0

... as c

E

is the x component, which is zero as the polarization is in the yz plane. What remains is

E = E

0

cos(ωt −kx)(d

E

ˆ y + e

E

ˆ z)

Two unknowns remain. We know that the direction we want is part y, and part z. Equal parts, since the

direction is exactly 45 degrees from the y axis (with 90 degrees, it would be in the z plane only).

So that essentially leaves us with one unknown, since the values should be equal (at least in magnitude).

When we combine unit vectors, we get this result: a vector (of non-unit length! the magnitude will be

larger than 1) pointing in a direction that is neither y nor z, but something in between, is ˆ y + ˆ z. This

principle applies here, as well.

In order to get the unit magnitude of such a vector, we need to divide it by its magnitude. So what is the

magnitude?

Let’s ignore that third dimension, and think of this as a 2D problem. We draw a coordinate system, and

set up a vector from the origin to (1, 1) - 1 away from the y axis, 1 away from the z axis. What is the

distance to the origin? r =

√

1

2

+ 1

2

=

√

2. So that unit vector, let’s call it ˆ r (just picking something), is

ˆ r =

ˆ y + ˆ z

√

2

I hope this doesn’t get too confusing. The above was just the explanation of the principle. Because the

magnitude of the E-ﬁeld must be E

0

(at its maximum), the magnitude of the vector components we ﬁnd

must be 1, or we will scale it upwards (or downwards)! That is,

[d

E

ˆ y + e

e

ˆ

E[ = 1

must hold for our chosen values. We need

_

d

E

2

+ e

E

2

= 1 and d

E

= e

E

. It looks fairly apparent that the

two values that makes this relation hold are (plus the b

E

and c

E

values we already found):

b

E

= 1

c

E

= 0

d

E

=

1

√

2

e

E

=

1

√

2

So that answers the ﬁrst part. Next up: the B-ﬁeld. It will be perpendicular to the E-ﬁeld, so we can

work from that. b

B

= 1, so that it the travel direction and phase match up with the E-ﬁeld.

Here, there is no magnitude speciﬁed in the equation given, so rather than having our vector components

add to a magnitude 1, they must add to B

0

=

E

0

c

.

214

What will the direction be? If the E-vector is in the direction of ˆ y + ˆ z, and the B-ﬁeld is plus or minus 90

degrees from that, and

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ x must hold... What do we ﬁnd?

_

ˆ y + ˆ z

√

2

_

ˆ

B = ˆ x

Honestly, I’m not sure how to solve this mathematically, but it’s easy to ﬁnd more intuitively, at least as

far as the direction is concerted. The B-ﬁeld should be perpendicular to the E-ﬁeld we’ve found, so there

are two possible choices that may work out with also being perpendicular with the propagation direction.

One is that we rotate it in the same direction as we did with the E-ﬁeld, from

π

4

to

π

2

+

π

4

=

3π

4

. The

other is that we go in the other direction. What happens in the ﬁrst case? Drawing a coordinate system

(which partly helps with 3D visualization, but not entirely), it seems as that this one is the one that will

work (keep in mind that the right-hand rule should apply!).

So now, we want one part +ˆ z and one part −ˆ y, and then we correct for the magnitude by dividing by

√

2 (so that the net vector has magnitude 1), and ﬁnally multiply by the

E

0

c

that we want as the “net”

magnitude of the wave:

bB = 1

c

B

= 0

dB = −

E

0

c

√

2

eB =

E

0

c

√

2

When we multiply all this out, the magnitude becomes

E

0

c

, as we want. the negative in d

B

is to get it in

the −ˆ y direction, i.e. downwards (the way I’ve drawn this, +x is to the right of the paper, +y upwards in

the plane of the paper, and +z out of the paper).

Next up: case 2, where the rotation is in the other direction. The E-ﬁeld is ﬁrst out.

Clearly, the x component must still be zero, as we are in the yz plane still. The direction of propagation

has not changed, so b

E

= b

B

= 1.

Looking at the old intuitive directions, we now want part of −ˆ z and part of +ˆ y for the E-ﬁeld vector, so

that it points “upwards, inwards” using the coordinate system sketch mentioned above. The magnitudes

are the same as before, though, so we just throw a negative on the e

E

value, but other than that, the

E-ﬁeld vector is unchanged from before.

b

E

= 1

c

E

= 0

d

E

=

1

√

2

e

E

= −

1

√

2

And ﬁnally, the B-ﬁeld. That is now located where the old E-ﬁeld was; rotated 90 degrees from the −π/4

we had, it is now at +π/4 degrees rotation, just as the ﬁrst E-ﬁeld. So we just copy and paste the values

from there... except that we need to multiply them by

E

0

c

for the magnitudes!

b

B

= 1

215

c

B

= 0

d

B

=

E

0

c

√

2

e

B

=

E

0

c

√

2

13.9.5 Problem 5: Polarization of electromagnetic radiation

(a) Describe the polarization state of the plane E-M waves represented by the following equations for the

electric ﬁeld

E(x, t)(E

x

= 0 in all three cases):

case(1):

E

y

= E

0

sin(kx −ωt), E

z

= 4E

0

sin(kx −ωt)

The two components are in phase, so this is linear polarization.

Linear polarization is characterized by wave components that are in phase, such that the resulting wave

is conﬁned to a plane.

Circular polarization is has wave components 90 degrees out of phase, which causes the resulting vector

to rotate and trace out circles.

Elliptical polarization is like circular, except the phase or magnitudes are such that an ellipse is traced,

rather than a circle.

If you have not already seen such videos, I highly recommend searching for videos that show linear and

circular polarization via 3D graphics software. It’s very helpful to understand the concepts.

case(2):

E

y

= −E

0

cos(kx + ωt), E

z

= E

0

sin(kx + ωt)

Here we have a 90 degree phase diﬀerence (sine versus cosine), but with equal magnitudes. That gives us

circular polarization.

case(3)

E

y

= 2E

0

cos(kx −ωt + π/2), E

z

= −2E

0

sin(kx −ωt)

We can rewrite the cosine as a minus sine:

E

y

= −2E

0

sin(kx −ωt), E

z

= −2E

0

sin(kx −ωt)

In phase, equal magnitude: linear polarization.

“(b) For case (1), where E

y

= E

0

sin(kx −ωt), E

z

= 4E

0

sin(kx −ωt), the magnetic ﬁeld can be written in

the following way:

B = sin(kx + (−1)

b

B

ωt)(c

B

ˆ x + d

B

ˆ y + e

B

ˆ z)

In other words: B

x

= c

B

sin(kx + (−1)

b

B

ωt), B

y

= d

B

sin(kx + (−1)

b

B

ωt), Bz = e

B

sin(kx + (−1)

b

B

ωt)

What are the values of the diﬀerent parameters in the above equation for

B?”

Heh. Not that easy to read, but it’s no harder than the previous homework problem.

b

B

= 1, because we want that minus sign, to keep it in phase with and in the same direction as the E-ﬁeld.

The wave propagates in the x direction, with the E-ﬁeld having only y and z components. The B-ﬁeld also

only has y and z components, though it’s still perpendicular to the E-ﬁeld, of course.

As in the previous problem we did with this, the x component must be zero.

Unlike the previous problem, we can’t simply try to get the B-ﬁeld to be

E

0

c

in magnitude, because E

0

is

not the magnitude of the E-ﬁeld. We need to ﬁnd that magnitude ﬁrst!

216

E = E

x

ˆ x + E

y

ˆ y + E

z

ˆ z

E = sin(kx −ωt)(E

0

ˆ y + 4E

0

ˆ z)

So the magnitude will be given by

[

E[ = [E

0

ˆ y + 4E

0

ˆ z[ =

_

E

0

2

+ (4E

0

)

2

=

_

17E

0

2

=

√

17E

0

So B

0

=

E

0

√

17 c

. However the E-ﬁeld has diﬀerent magnitudes for the diﬀerent components, unlike last

time.

The E

y

components should have a B-ﬁeld component perpendicular to it of the same magnitude, I would

guess. So B

z

=

E

y

c

=

E

0

c

.

The same thing goes for the E

z

component, which turns into −B

y

as we rotate it 90 degrees. Thus we ﬁnd

b

B

= 1

c

B

= 0

d

B

= −

4E

0

c

e

B

=

E

0

c

...which is marked as correct! Intuition proved useful once again!

13.9.6 Problem 6: Poynting vector

“The Poynting vector associated with a plane electromagnetic wave is described as follows:

S = e

0

E

0

2

c cos

2

(ky −ωt)ˆ y

with k = 433 rad/m and ω = 1.31 10

11

rad/sec. The direction of the electric ﬁeld oscillates along the x

axis.

(a) One possible vector description of the electric and magnetic ﬁeld in the plane wave associated with

this Poynting vector is

E(y, t) = E

0

ˆ x cos(ky + (−1)

a

E

ωt)

B(y, t) = (b

B

ˆ x + c

B

ˆ y + d

B

ˆ z) cos(ky + (−1)

a

B

ωt)

Determine the parameters in these expressions for

E and

B that correspond to the given Poynting vector.”

Even more of this... I’m getting a bit tired of it, to be honest.

Well, the direction of the Poynting vector is

ˆ

S =

ˆ

E

ˆ

B, which in this case should equal ˆ y. With

ˆ

E = ˆ x,

the B-ﬁeld should then be in the −ˆ z direction for the cross product to work out:

ˆ x (−ˆ z) = ˆ y

So now we at least know the B-ﬁeld’s direction, −ˆ z.

What about the cosine signs, i.e. a

E

and a

B

?

The Poynting vector should be propagating in the same direction as the wave, which means the wave

should propagate in the +ˆ y direction, as the Poynting vector does. Therefore, we want the minus signs

inside the cosines, and a

E

= a

B

= 1 causes that to happen.

217

As for the component values, that is pretty easy. We have found the direction as −ˆ z, so there must be a

negative z components, and 0 x and y components. The one nonzero component is really simple, as the

magnitude of that will be the magnitude of of net vector

0

=

E

0

c

, so we ﬁnd

a

E

= 1

a

B

= 1

c

B

= 0

d

B

= 0

e

B

= −

E

0

c

... with a negative to get it in the negative z direction, as mentioned above.

“Could a diﬀerent pair of electric and magnetic ﬁelds have this same Poynting vector?”

Hmm, well, let’s see. The direction must be

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = +ˆ y; can we get that using other values that

ˆ

E = ˆ x

and

ˆ

B = −ˆ z? Well, yes: negate both the E-ﬁeld and the B-ﬁeld, and it works out... But does that really

get us a diﬀerent pair of ﬁelds? They oscillate back and forth, and we just changedt he phase...

(The answer is that it is possible, but I’m not sure the above is enough to conﬁrm that.)

“(b) What is the wavelength λ in meters [and period T, in seconds] of the wave?”

This should be second nature by now.

λ =

2π

k

=

2π

433

m

T =

1

f

=

1

ω/2π

=

2π

ω

=

2π

1.30 10

11

s

13.9.7 Problem 7: Intensity of the sun

“At the upper surface of the earth’s atmosphere, the time-averaged magnitude of the Poynting vector is

referred to as the solar constant and is given by

_¸

¸

¸

S

¸

¸

¸

_

=1.35 10

3

W/m

2

.

(a) If you assume that the sun’s electromagnetic radiation is a plane sinusoidal wave, what is the magnitude

of the electric ﬁeld in V/m?”

Digging up the deﬁnion of the time-averaged Poynting vector:

¸S¸ =

1

2

E

0

B

0

µ

0

=

1

2

E

0

2

µ

0

c

So we can set that latter thing equal to the value we have, and solve:

1.35 10

3

=

1

2

E

0

2

µ

0

c

2.7 10

3

µ

0

c = E

0

2

E

0

=

√

2.7 10

3

4π10

−7

3 10

8

≈ 1008.89 V/m

“What is the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld in T?”

We can ﬁnd this as B

0

= E

0

/c, knowing that equivalence. Or, we could use the other equivalence (which

is really found by using B

0

= E

0

/c anyway!):

218

1.35 10

3

=

1

2

(1008.89)(B

0

)

4π10

−7

2.7 10

3

4π10

−7

= (1008.89)(B

0

)

B

0

=

2.7 10

3

4π10

−7

1008.89

≈ 3.36 10

−6

T

“(b) What is the time-averaged power (in Watt) radiated by the sun? The mean sun-earth distance is

r

es

= 1.5 10

11

m.”

We usually do these calculations the other way around, but this shouldn’t be a problem.

The intensity at the Earth is inversely proportional to the distance, as the sun radiates (roughly) equally

in all directions:

I

sun

1

4πr

es

2

= 1.35 10

3

I

sun

= 1.35 10

3

4πr

es

2

≈ 3.81 10

26

W

13.9.8 Problem 8: Snell’s law in action: ﬁber optics!

“An optical ﬁber is a ﬂexible, transparent ﬁber devised to transmit light between the two ends of the ﬁber.

Complete transmission of light is achieved through total internal reﬂection. This problem aims to calculate

the minimum index of refraction n of the optical ﬁber necessary to obtain total internal reﬂection for every

possible incidence angle.

“(a) Express sin θ, where the angle θ is deﬁned in the ﬁgure above, in terms of the incidence angle α and

the index of refraction n of the optical ﬁber. Evaluate this function for n = 1.55 and α = 84

◦

. Take the

index of refraction of air to be 1.”

Let’s begin by writing down Snell’s law, in two forms.

n

1

sin θ

1

= n

2

sin θ

2

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

n

2

n

1

Let’s think this through a bit before we go further.

The beam enters and leaves (if it does leave at the top) on non-parallel sides, so it will not leave parallel

to the incident light, unless n = 1.

Looking at the triangle drawn,

π

2

+ β + γ = π

γ =

π

2

−β

... since the sum of angles in a triangle must be 180 degrees, i.e. π radians.

We can then attempt to ﬁnd β as a function of α, using Snell’s law:

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

n

2

n

1

sin α

sin β

= n

sin α = nsin β

219

sin β =

sin α

n

β = arcsin

_

sin α

n

_

So that means that

γ =

π

2

−arcsin

_

sin α

n

_

We want to ﬁnd the relationship between α and θ, however, so we can’t stop here!

We have another refraction here, with γ as the incident angle:

sin θ

1

sin θ

2

=

n

2

n

1

sin γ

sin θ

=

1

n

sin

_

π

2

−arcsin

_

sin α

n

__

sin θ

=

1

n

We ﬂip the whole thing, to ﬁnd sin θ, and apply sin(

π

2

−x) = cos x:

sin θ

sin

_

π

2

−arcsin

_

sin α

n

__ = n

sin θ = ncos

_

arcsin

_

sin α

n

__

... which answers the ﬁrst part!

“(b) The condition on n for total internal reﬂection of all beams entering the ﬁber is achieved when θ = 90

◦

or unphysical (i.e. sin θ ≥ 1) for all values of α. Determine the smallest value of n that satisﬁes that con-

dition.”

Well, they essentially set up an equality and told us to solve it, so let’s go.

ncos

_

arcsin

_

sin α

n

__

≥ 1

Ugh, the cosine and arcsine are a bit annoying... This would be so easy without the n inside. Ah well.

I didn’t know the exact identity, but I did know that cos(arcsin(x)) could be written in a diﬀerent way,

using some square root. Indeed:

cos(arcsin(x)) =

√

1 −x

2

So we can rewrite our inequality:

n

¸

1 −

_

sin α

n

_

2

≥ 1

n

_

1 −

sin

2

α

n

2

≥ 1

n

2

_

1 −

sin

2

α

n

2

_

≥ 1

2

n

2

−sin

2

α ≥ 1

220

n

2

≥ 1 + sin

2

α

n ≥

_

1 + sin

2

α

We need to ﬁnd the smallest n for which this holds true for all α. The right-hand side can only move

between

√

1 + 0 and

√

1 + 1 =

√

2, so n =

√

2 is the smallest value of n for which this is always true,

which solves the problem!

13.10 Week 11

There’s no homework this week, due to the third midterm.

13.11 Week 12

13.11.1 Problem 1: Primary rainbow

“Combine ϕ = 4r −2i with Snell’s Law to express the angle ϕ as a function of i and n only.

(a) Evaluate ϕ(i, n) for the following values (give your answers in degrees): i = 5

◦

, n = 1.55”

We use Snell’s law to accomplish this, as mentioned in the question. The incident light has angle i, and

the refracted light (at point A) has angle r, which is a function of i according to Snell’s law.

n

1

sin i = n

2

sin r

Using n

1

= 1 for air, and n

2

= n from the problem statement:

sin i = nsin r

sin r =

sin i

n

r = arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

Therefore, ϕ(i, n) is

ϕ(i, n) = 4 arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

−2i

Evaluating the three angles is now easy (just keep track of using radians and degrees correctly!).

“(b) For a given index of refraction n, determine the value of the incidence angle i

**that maximizes ϕ, and
**

the correspondent value of ϕ

max

(give your answers in degrees). All answers should be positive angles.

The following identity to diﬀerentiate the inverse function f

−1

may be useful:”

221

d f

−1

(x)

dx

=

1

d f(z)

dz

¸

¸

z=f

−1

(x)

Okay, so they want us to diﬀerentiate ϕ(i, n) with respect to i and ﬁnd its maxima. The formula is clearly

intended for ﬁnding the derivative of the arcsine function. Using f

−1

(x) = arcsin(x), f(x) = sin(x) (since

the arcsine is the inverse of the sine) and

d

dz

sin(z) = cos(z):

d

dx

arcsin(x) =

1

cos(arcsin(x))

That doesn’t answer the entire thing, however. We still need to apply the chain rule, not to mention we

can’t forget about the constant multiplier and the −2i. All in all, we have

∂ϕ(i, n)

∂i

= 4

∂

∂i

arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

−2

The (partial) derivative of the arcsine is then just the chain rule: “the derivative of the outside with respect

to the inside, times the derivative of the inside with respect to i” (in this case) is how I remember it best.

We know the ﬁrst part already, and the second part is just the the derivative of sin i times the constant

one over n inside. Keeping all this in mind:

∂ϕ(i, n)

∂i

= 4

1

cos

_

arcsin

_

sin i

n

__

cos i

n

−2 =

4 cos i

ncos

_

arcsin

_

sin i

n

__ −2

Frankly, this is a bit painful, and as it is allowed, I will use Mathematica to substitute in n and set the

whole thing equal to zero. Doing so (the second part, leaving n as is), I ﬁnd

2 arctan

_

_

¸

¸

¸

_

n

2

+ 2

4 −n

2

−2

√

3

¸

n

2

−1

(n

2

−4)

2

_

_

... there has got to be a better way to solve this... But the above does give correct answers.

For n = 1.55, we ﬁnd i

= 46.8634

◦

, while for n = 1.3 we ﬁnd i

= 61.3418

◦

.

We then plug those values into ϕ(i, n) and ﬁnd

ϕ(46.8634

◦

, 1.55) = 18.6158

◦

ϕ(61.3418

◦

, 1.3) = 47.1321

◦

“(c) What is the angle of incidence i of light on a spherical raindrop that will lead to the red in the pri-

mary rainbow (give your answers in degrees)? The index of refraction of red light in water is n

red

= 1.331.”

The red in the rainbow is where ϕ

max

is for red light, so we just plug n = 1.331 into the above formula, to

and then plug that into ϕ(i, n) as above.

i

= 59.5267

◦

ϕ(59.5267

◦

, 1.331) = 42.3698

◦

222

13.11.2 Problem 2: Polarization of primary rainbow

“The average index of refraction of water is n=1.336. (a) What is the Brewster angle θ

Br

when light reﬂects

in water oﬀ air (i.e. at point B) (give your answer in degrees)?”

Easy, assuming we know the deﬁnition of the Brewster angle. It is

θ

Br

= arctan

n

2

n

1

... with n

1

being the index of refraction of the current medium (the water), and n

2

of the medium we

reﬂect oﬀ (the air, n

2

= 1). Thus

θ

Br

= arctan

1

1.336

≈ 36.815

◦

“(b) Assume that i is the incident angle which gives the largest value of ϕ as found in Problem 1. Then, r

is both the refracted angle at Point A and the angle of incidence of the light ray at point B in the ﬁgure

above. What is r −θ

Br

(give your answer in degrees)?”

Well, we return to our formulae for i

**and r(i, n) with n = 1.336:
**

i

= 59.2362

◦

r(59.2362

◦

, 1.336) =

arcsin(sin 59.2362

◦

)

1.336

= 40.0291

◦

r −θ

Br

= 40.0291

◦

−36.815

◦

= 3.2141

◦

“(c) Which of the following sentences do you think is most accurate about the light from the primary

rainbow?”

(The choices are completely unpolarized, weakly linearly polarized and strongly linearly polarized.)

Strongly linearly polarized, as the angle of incidence for the reﬂection is very close to the Brewster angle. If

the angles were equal, the light would be 100% polarized; instead, it will be fairly close to 100% polarized.

13.11.3 Problem 3: Glassbow

“What would be the radius (ϕ

max

, in degrees) of a glass bow? The glass beads have an index of refraction

n = 1.5. We spread them out on the ground and we observe a glass bow as the sun is high in the sky.”

The maximum for the angle of incidence, i

, would be i

(n) = 49.797

◦

, and ϕ(49.797

◦

, 1.5) = 22.8415

◦

, and

so the answer is 22.8415

◦

. Piece of cake, now that we have the previous problems ﬁgured out!

223

13.11.4 Problem 4: Secondary rainbow

“All answers should be in degrees.

(a) Using the result of Lecture 31 Question 3, and Snell’s law, derive and evaluate ϕ = ϕ(i, n) for the sec-

ondary rainbow for the following values of the incidence angle i and index of refraction n: i = 6

◦

, n = 1.35.”

The result from question 3 is that

δ(i, r) = 2π + 2i −6r

ϕ is then given as ϕ = δ −π from the ﬁgure.

ϕ(i, r) = π + 2i −6r

We use Snell’s law to get rid of the r:

n

1

sin i = n

2

sin r

sin i = nsin r

sin r =

sin i

n

r = arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

Nothing new there. Combining the results:

ϕ(i, n) = π + 2i −6 arcsin

_

sin i

n

_

We can plug in the values and ﬁnd the ﬁrst three answers. All three answers are in the range 90

◦

> ϕ >

180

◦

.

“(b) For a given index of refraction n, determine the value of the incidence angle i

**that minimized ϕ, and
**

the correspondent value of ϕ

min

.”

224

This is in a way the same thing as we did for the primary rainbow earlier on. Because the secondary bow

is ﬂipped inside-out, the minimum angles are where we will ﬁnd the colors; all colors are allowed outside

(there will be while light outside the secondary).

We could diﬀerentiate it again, but I will simply use Mathematica’s FindMinimum function here, for the

various values.

For n = 1.35:

i

= 71.2981

◦

ϕ

min

= 55.249

◦

For n = 1.5:

i

= 66.7163

◦

ϕ

min

= 86.8651

◦

“(c) What is the angle of incidence i of light on a spherical raindrop that will lead to the red (n = 1.331)

in the secondary rainbow?”

This question is again exactly like the two previous, so we do the same thing for n = 1.331:

i

= 71.9073

◦

ϕ = 50.3651

◦

13.11.5 Problem 5: Diﬀraction pattern

“Light of a red laser (wavelength λ = 650 nm) goes through a narrow slit which is only a = 2 microns

wide. After the light emerges from the slit, it is visible on a screen that is L = 5 meters away from the

slit.

What is the approximate width on the screen (in cm) of the bright central spot? Here width is deﬁned as

the distance between the center and the ﬁrst minimum.”

If we have the formula we found in lecture, this is very easy.

x

n

≈

Lnλ

a

m

n = 1, L = 5m, λ = 650 10

−9

m, and the answer should be in cm, so

x

n

≈

5 650 10

−9

2 10

−6

100 cm

1 m

≈ 162.5 cm

Note: this solution uses the small angle approximation, which was good enough to be marked as correct,

but it is actually more than 5% oﬀ the correct answer, due to the relatively large angle (I didn’t pay

attention to that, since my ﬁrst try was marked as correct). For a more correct answer, we use the formula

we found this week, that is

x = Ltan θ = Ltan

_

arcsin

_

λ

d

__

225

13.11.6 Problem 6: Optical resolution of the human eye

“A car with its 2 headlights on is approaching you at night. Approximately how close (in meters) does the

car have to be to you so that you can distinguish the two headlights? Assume that the diameter of your

pupils is 6.5 mm, the distance between the two lights is 1.5 m, and the wavelength of the light is 550 nm.”

Again, this should be fairly easy. There will be diﬀraction associated with each source on its own, and

they need to be further apart, in angular distance, than the Rayleigh criterion limit of

sin θ = 1.220

λ

d

where d = 6.5 mm, the diameter of the lens.

sin θ = 0.10323 10

−3

≈ θ

(For such small angles, the sine of the angle and the angle in radians are essentially equivalent.)

OK, so we have that but we need the actual distance in meters.

We draw the situation on paper: an isosceles triangle (from our position (right in front of the car) to the

two headlights.

Because it is symmetric, we can split it in two, and have θ/2 radians between one headlight and the car’s

center. One side (the long, non-hypotenuse side, adjacent to θ) of that triangle is then the distance d

between us and the car, and we ﬁnd

tan

θ

2

=

1.5/2

d

d tan

θ

2

= 1.5/2

d =

1.5/2

tan(θ/2)

= 0.75 cot(θ/2) ≈ 14531 m

Wow, that’s insanely far! This only counts the diﬀraction limiting, though... I’d be surprised if this was

actually true in a real situation, given non-ideal eyesight and all that. Hmm.

226

Chapter 14

Exam problems

14.1 Midterm 1

14.1.1 Problem 1: Electric ﬁeld on the surface of a conductor

The electric ﬁeld at point A on the surface of a conductor is 49 10

3

V/m. What is the surface charge

density (C/m

2

) at that point?

Let’s call the surface charge density σ. The total charge for that tiny area at the surface is Q = σA.

We choose a Gaussian pillbox that is located such that the “end cap” is located just above the surface.

Via Gauss’s law

EA =

σA

0

A on the left side is the area of the pillbox, and A on the right side the area of the surface. Of course, we

choose them to be equal, so they cancel:

E =

σ

0

Thus

σ = E

0

We know E at that point, so

σ = 49 10

3

8.854187 10

−12

≈ 4.3385 10

−7

C/m

2

We can sanity check the units of this. The electric ﬁeld is in V/m,

0

is in F/m = (C/V)/m and σ in

C/m

2

:

C

m

2

? =

V

m

F

m

C

m

2

? =

V

m

C

V m

C

m

2

=

C

m

2

227

14.1.2 Problem 2: Non-conducting charged planes

Two parallel non-conducting sheets of area A = 4m

2

are separated by a distance d = 0.007 m. They carry

equal but opposite surface charge densities of σ = 7 10

−6

C/m

2

.

(a) What is the electric ﬁeld (V/m) between the plates? (ignore end eﬀects)

We could use a Gaussian pillbox to solve this for an inﬁnite plane (since we are to ignore end eﬀects), but

the result is so easy to remember that I won’t feel guilty for using it. The electric ﬁeld between two such

plates is

E =

σ

0

... half of which (

σ

2

0

) is from the top plate, and half from the bottom.

So the answer for (a) is

E =

7 10

−6

8.854187 10

−12

≈ 790586.41974 V/m

(b) What is the total energy (Joules) contained in the electric ﬁeld between the sheets?

We can use U =

1

2

Q

2

C

here.

Q is given by σA = 4σ = 28 10

−6

C.

C is given by the geometry, C =

A

0

d

=

4

0

0.007

≈ 5.059535 10

−9

F. Thus,

U =

1

2

(28 10

−6

)

2

5.059535 10

−9

≈ 0.077477 J

(c) A conducting sheet with the same area as the two nonconducting sheets and with thickness h = 1 mm

(0.001 m) is inserted between the two sheets. What is the potential diﬀerence (Volts) between the sheets

with this conducting sheet in place?

Uh oh. Well, the potential diﬀerence without the sheet in place, since the electric ﬁeld is uniform, is simply

V = Ed ≈ 5534.105 V.

If we insert a dielectric, an induced electric ﬁeld will appear, that cancels out part of the original ﬁeld; the

net ﬁeld is reduced by a factor of κ, the dielectric constant for the material. However, that’s for dielectrics

- and only when they completely ﬁll the void between the two plates, too.

It turns out the answer is that since the sheet is a conductor, and the electric ﬁeld inside it is zero, we can

simply integrate over the rest of the distance. That is, we add up the potential diﬀerence from the top

plate to the conductor, add the potential diﬀerence across the conductor (zero), and then the potential

diﬀerence from the bottom of the conductor to the bottom plate.

Since the ﬁeld is uniform, V = Ed. The distance d to use is then the distance between the plate minus

the thickness of the sheet (where the ﬁeld is zero):

V = E(d −h)

V =

σ

0

(d −h) =

7 10

−6

8.854187 10

−12

(0.006 −0.001) ≈ 4743.5 V

228

14.1.3 Problem 3: Incandescent bulbs

An incandescent light bulb A consumes P

A

= 21 W when it is connected to a V = 126 V battery. Another

incandescent light bulb B consumes P

B

= 253 W when it is connected to a V = 126 V battery. We place

the two light bulbs in series. You may ignore the internal resistor in the power supply and you may also

assume (for simplicity) that the resistance of the light bulbs are independent of the temperature.

We connect these two light bulbs in series to the V=126 V battery.

(a, b) How much power (in W) is used by bulb A (and B)?

Ah, ﬁnally something that’s not intimidating at all to me. Exams always freak me out a bit...

Well, power is given by P = V I = I

2

R =

V

2

R

. We know P and V, so we’ll use the last equation and solve

it for R.

P =

V

2

R

R =

V

2

P

We can now calculate the bulb resistances:

R

A

=

126

2

21

= 756 Ω

R

B

=

126

2

253

≈ 62.750988 Ω

We put them in series with the battery of 126 volts, and get a current:

I =

V

R

A

+ R

B

≈ 0.15389296 A

We can then use I

2

R to ﬁnd the power dissipated in each bulb.

P

A

= (0.15389296)

2

756 ≈ 17.90438 W

P

B

= (0.15389296)

2

126

2

253

≈ 1.486135 W

All of a sudden the previously weak bulb is the brightest! Let’s sanity check the answers, since this is an

exam.

The total power must equal the power put out by the battery, V I ≈ 126 0.15389296 = 19.93 watts.

Indeed it does.

(c, d) What will be the potential diﬀerence across bulb A (and B)?

Well, V = IR and we know I and R. Easy.

V

A

= 0.15389296 756 = 116.343 V

V

B

= 0.15389296

126

2

253

≈ 9.6569 V

Again, we can sanity check: the sum must equal the battery’s voltage, and it does.

229

14.1.4 Problem 4: Circuit

(a) Find all the currents in the circuit above, where R

1

= 16 Ohm, R

2

= 1 Ohm,R

3

= 3 Ohm, V

1

= 10 V,

V

2

= 1 V.

D’oh. I had to insert a picture for this one. Excuse the size/image quality, if it looks bad. It looks good

here, though.

We can use loop analysis to solve for the currents in this problem. After that, we can calculate voltage

drops across the resistors.

Let’s begin by working symbolically.

First, we set up an equation for the left loop, starting at point A, going clockwise around (as an arbitrary

choice). We add when we move over an increase in potential, and subtract when we move over a decrease:

I

1

R

1

−V 1 −I

2

R

2

+ V 2 = 0

For the right loop, starting at the middle node (where V2, R2 and R3 meet), going clockwise:

R

2

I

2

+ I

3

R

3

= 0

We now have two equations, but three unknowns (I

1

, I

2

and I

3

). We can relate the three with a KCL

equation, at the middle node mentioned above:

I

1

+ I

2

= I

3

I

1

enters from the left, and I

2

from above, while I

3

leaves to the right. Alternatively, we can sum currents

entering a node and enter the leaving current as a minus, but we would get the same equation, only with

everything on one side and set equal to zero.

This gives us the nasty answers:

I

1

=

(R

2

+ R

3

)(V

1

−V

2

)

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

R

3

+ R

2

R

3

I

2

= −

R

3

(V

1

−V

2

)

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

R

3

+ R

2

R

3

I

3

=

R

2

(V

1

−V

2

)

R

1

R

2

+ R

1

R

3

+ R

2

R

3

I

1

=

36

67

A

I

2

= −

27

67

A

230

I

3

=

9

67

A

We can now calculate the voltage drops over each resistor:

V

R1

= I

1

R

1

=

36

67

16 =

576

67

V

V

R2

= I

2

R

2

= −

27

67

1 = −

27

67

V

V

R3

= I

3

R

3

=

9

67

3 =

27

67

V

Adding up the voltage drops along the left loop gives us

−1 +−

27

67

+ 10 −

576

67

which equals zero.

For the right loop, the sum is also zero, as V

R2

= −V

R3

.

Our answers make sense!

(b) The potential at point G is V(G)=0. What is the potential at point A (in Volts)?

We’ll have to add up the voltage drops we encounter when moving from G to A.

V

R3

+ V

2

=

27

67

+ 1 =

94

67

V

If we add V

R1

and subtract V

1

from that, we get zero, for the outer loop, so all of our answers satisfy KVL,

an excellent sign that they are correct. At the very least, it’s not as sign that they’re wrong!

14.1.5 Problem 5: Point charge in a hollow conducting sphere

A very thin hollow conducting sphere has a radius of R = 0.14 m. The center of the sphere is at S. A

charge of q = 810

−6

C is present at point P which is located d = 0.06 m from S. Assume that this charge

stays at this position (thus it cannot move). We draw a line from S to P and extend it beyond the radius

of the sphere.

What is the Electric ﬁeld strength (V/m) at point D which is located on the line from SP at a distance of

= 0.76 m from S (thus 0.7 m from P)?

Aha! While this looks like it could be very scary due to the non-centered charge, the fact that the shell is

conducting and a sphere makes it almost trivial!

The positive charge inside will cause the inside surface of the sphere to hold a charge of −q to cancel

the E-ﬁeld inside the conductor out. This charge will be non-uniformly distributed, because the charge is

oﬀ-center.

However, the sphere was neutral to begin with, so there will be a charge of +q on the outside.

This charge will, amazingly, be uniform. We know from earlier on - or could re-calculate it using Gauss’s

law - that a charged sphere produces an electric ﬁeld exactly as a point charge at the center would. Thus,

we can use the good old point charge formula:

E =

Q

4π

0

r

2

where Q = +q is the same as the charge inside the sphere, and r is the distance between the center (not

the surface!) and the point D.

231

E =

8 10

−6

4π

0

(0.76)

2

≈ 124481.34 V/m

That’s our ﬁnal answer. Since the conductor acts as a Faraday cage, the position of the charge inside is

completely irrelevant! As long as the charge is inside the cavity, the external electric ﬁeld will be the same

- after it has settled down (which happens extremely quickly after a change in position).

14.1.6 Problem 6: Charges on an equilateral triangle

A charge of q

1

= −2 10

−6

C is located at corner A of an equilateral triangle. A charge q

2

= 4 10

−6

C

is located at corner B and a charge of q

3

= 8 10

−6

C is located at corner C. The distance AB = 0.26 m

(the other two sides of the triangle are the same).

The point P is located exactly in the middle of q1/point A and q3/point B, along the x axis, and exactly

below q2/point B.

(a) What is the x-component of the Electric ﬁeld (in V/m) at point P which is located half way between

A and C?

Before we start crunching numbers, let’s think about this (which is always a good strategy)! The electric

ﬁeld from each point charge alone is always radially outwards (or inwards, for negative charges). Thus, the

x-component of the electric ﬁeld from a charge directly above you (x

charge

= x

point

) will be zero! Therefore,

we can treat this as a one-dimentional problem, and completely ignore q

2

.

Therefore, the x component is given by

E

x

=

q1

4π

0

(AP)

2

+

q3

4π

0

(PC)

2

AP = PC =

AC

2

=

0.26

2

= 0.13 m.

So, accounting for directions (q1 is negative, and its ﬁeld is towards the left at point P; q2 is positive, its

force is also towards the left at point P):

E

x

=

−2 10

−6

4π

0

(0.13)

2

+−

_

8 10

−6

4π

0

(0.13)

2

_

≈ −5.318085 10

6

V/m

(b) What is the y-component of the Electric ﬁeld (in V/m) at point P?

Similarly as before, due to the location of the point and the charges, we can now completely ignore charges

q

1

and q

2

, so this should be a piece of cake. All we need to do is to ﬁnd the distance BP, and plug it into

Coulomb’s law.

BP is equal to the height of the equilateral triangle. As I don’t remember the formula for that, I drew it

up on paper. Via Pythagoras’ theorem, we get

h

2

+

_

d

2

_

2

= d

2

h

2

=

4d

2

4

−

d

2

4

h =

√

3

2

d

Thus

BP =

√

3

2

0.26 m

232

E

y

= −

4 10

−6

4π

0

(0.5

√

3 0.26)

2

≈ −709077.12957

Note that since the ﬁeld is radially outwards from the charge, and P is located below the charge, the ﬁeld

will be downwards, and so the y-component must be negative. The distance from the charge is greater

than that of the charges in the previous problem, so we expect the magnitude of the ﬁeld to be quite a bit

lower, which it is.

(c) What is the Electric Potential (in Volts) at point P?

Work, work! Well, at least potential is not a vector, so we don’t have directions and such to think about.

The potential at a point is the sum (superposition) of the potential due to each charge alone, as with

electric ﬁeld strength. We just add the potential due to each charge alone (V =

Q

4π

0

r

) :

V

P

=

1

4π

0

_

q1

AP

+

q2

BP

+

q3

CP

_

V

P

=

10

−6

4π

0

_

−2

0.13

+

4

0.5

√

3 0.26

+

8

0.13

_

≈ 574470.61 V

(d) What is the Electric Potential Energy (conﬁguration energy) in Joules of this system of 3 charges?

Last one. Well, for this problem anyway. Say the potential at inﬁnity is zero. We start out with nothing,

and so the potential energy is zero. We add charge q

1

, and the potential energy is still zero - but the

potential is not. We add a second charge, and the potential energy is now V

1

q

2

. We add the third charge,

and get a potential energy of V

1

q

2

from before, plus V

1

q

3

+ V

2

q

3

from adding the new charge. That is:

U =

q

1

q

2

4π

0

r

12

+

q

1

q

3

4π

0

r

13

+

q

2

q

3

4π

0

r

23

Looking at the diagram, r

12

= r

13

= r

23

= 0.26 m, so we can factor out that, too:

U =

1

4π

0

0.26

(q

1

q

2

+ q

1

q

3

+ q

2

q

3

)

U =

10

−6

10

−6

4π

0

0.26

((−2)(4) + (−2)(8) + (4)(8)) ≈ 0.27661247 J

14.1.7 Problem 7: Capacitor network

Two ideal plate capacitors in air, with capacitance C

1

= 4 10

−6

Farad and C

2

= 4 10

−6

Farad, are

connected to a battery of voltage V = 10 Volts as shown schematically below. The plates are separated

by a distance d = 0.003 m.

(The diagram is too simple to reproduce: it has two capacitors, C

1

to the left and C

2

in the middle,

connected in parallel with a voltage source. The upper plates are connected to the positive side of the

voltage source.

(a) What is the total charge residing on the upper plate of capacitor C1 (in Coulombs)? Make sure you

have the correct sign.

Q = CV , so this one is simply

Q = 4 10

−6

10 = 4 10

−5

C

233

(b) What is the total charge residing on the lower plate of capacitor C2 (in Coulombs)? Make sure you

have the correct sign.

Note the lower plate, and of C

2

. The magnitude is the same as above (C

1

= C

2

, as given), but the lower

plate will have the negative charge, so we negate the above answer.

(c) What is the electric ﬁeld (direction and magnitude) between the plates of capacitor C1 (direction and

magnitude)?

V = Ed for a parallel plate capacitor, so E =

V

d

. V and d are given, so

E =

10

0.003

= 3333.33 V/m

The direction is downwards (from positive to negative).

We now disconnect the battery but leave the two capacitors connected together as shown. After discon-

necting the battery, we ﬁll the the entire air gap of the capacitor C

2

with a dielectric (κ = 4).

(d) Now, what is the total charge residing on the upper plate of capacitor C1 (in Coulombs)? Make sure

you have the correct sign.

OK, so let’s think a bit. The battery is disconnected, so the potential diﬀerence between the plates is no

longer ﬁxed. It must however be the same for both capacitors.

The charge is trapped on the capacitors, but we have two, and they are still connected, so while Q

1

+ Q

2

must clearly equal the initial total charge on them, it should be able to move around between the two.

After a very long struggle I solved this one. I ﬁrst wrote down a few things that simply can not change,

period. V

1

= V

2

due to the connection, so I simply call that V :

C

1

=

Q

1

V

C

2

=

Q

2

V

Q

1

+ Q

2

= Q

initial

= V (C

1

+ C

2

)

C

2new

= C

2

K

C

1new

= C

1

C

1

simply can not change; it is given by

A

0

d

, and none of those change, so it must be constant.

With the same argument, C

2

must increase by a factor κ, as the above is true for C

2

as well, except wi

insert a dielectric which always increasese capacitance by κ.

The voltage can and will change, but the total charge cannot. With all this in mind, we set up and solve

this system:

Q

1

+ Q

2

= Q

init

C

1

=

Q

1

V

4 C

1

=

Q

2

V

... with C

2

= 4C

1

to avoid adding a fourth line. We also have the constraint that V > 0.

This gives us a solution of

234

Q

1

=

Q

init

5

Q

2

= 4Q

1

V =

Q

1

C

1

After we plug in Q

init

= V (C

1

+ C

2

) = 8 10

−5

C, we get

Q

1

=

8

5

10

−5

=

1

62500

C

Q

2

=

32

5

10

−5

=

1

15625

C

V =

8

5

10

−5

1

4 10

−6

= 4 V

They now ask us for Q

1

, Q

2

, and the electric ﬁeld between each set of plates. The electric ﬁeld is E =

V

d

for both capacitors, so we plug in V = 4 and get our answer.

14.2 Midterm 2

14.2.1 Problem 1: RL circuit

“The switch in the circuit below has been open for a long, long time, R

1

= 4.0 Ohm, R

2

= 5.0 Ohm,

L = 0.045 H, V = 5 V. The internal resistance of the battery is negligibly small.

“Determine the currents I

1

, I

2

, I

3

(in Ampere) in the resistors and in the self-inductor at the moment

(a) just after the switch is closed:”

OK, so looking at the circuit (which is not reproduced here), if the switch has been open for a long time,

then the current everywhere is zero.

Just after closing the switch, the inductor current will still be zero, and so I

3

= 0.

Because that part of the circuit is essentially an open circuit, we have a series circuit with the battery, R

1

and R

2

:

I

1

= I

2

=

V

R

1

+ R

2

=

5

9

A

I

3

= 0

“(b) a long time after the switch is closed.”

A long time after, the current in the inductor will be at a maximum, limited only by the battery and R

1

.

R

2

will be completely bypassed by the inductor, which now looks like a short circuit, and so I

2

= 0, and

I

1

= I

3

.

I

1

= I

3

=

V

R

1

=

5

4

A

I

2

= 0

235

14.2.2 Problem 2: Non-conservative ﬁelds

“Two voltmeters, V

right

and V

left

, each with an internal resistance of 10

6

Ω are connected through wires of

negligible resistance (see the circuit below). The “+” side of both voltmeters is up as shown. A changing

magnetic ﬁeld is present in the shaded area.

At a particular moment in time V

right

reads −0.7 Volt (notice the - sign).

(a) What, at that moment, is the magnitude of the induced EMF (in Volts) in the circuit?”

OK. The circuit diagram is very simple: two voltmeters, side by side, connected to each other. So both

have the plus side upwards, and then the + sides are connected at the top, and the - sides connected at

the bottom. There’s a changing magnetic ﬂux in the middle of the loop.

Let’s not fool ourselves here; we will use Faraday’s law, and map out the circuit based on the electric ﬁelds

in it, not based on Kirchhoﬀ’s rules, which don’t apply here!

If we start at the bottom node, going clockwise, we ﬁrst encounter V

right

, which measures −0.7 volts,

meaning the current though it goes into the bottom and out of the top, or else it would display a positive

value. Thus, the current is going counterclockwise in the loop.

We now know the voltage across the voltmeter (which is not really a “voltage drop”, though, but an induced

EMF), and the resistance, so

I =

V

R

I =

−0.7

10

6

= −7 10

−7

A

Since the total resistance of the loop is 2 10

6

ohms, and Ohm’s law holds, the total EMF is

V = IR = −7 10

−7

2 10

6

= −1.4 V

Question (a) wants the magnitude of this, so 1.4 volts.

“(b) At that moment in time, what is the reading of V

left

? (make sure you have the correct sign!)”

That voltmeter must have a a current of the same magnitude through it, but it is positive (as it goes into

the positive terminal), and so

V

left

= IR = 7 10

−7

10

6

= 0.7 V

14.2.3 Problem 3: Bainbridge mass spectrometer

“A Bainbridge mass spectrometer is shown in the ﬁgure. A charged particle with mass m, charge

[q[ = 4.8 10

−19

C and speed v = 3 10

6

m/s enters from the bottom of the ﬁgure and traces out

the trajectory shown in the ﬁelds shown. The only electric ﬁeld E = 10 10

3

V/m is in the region where

the trajectory of the charge is a straight line.

(a) When the particle is moving through the ﬁrst (straight-line) segment of its trajectory, what is the

magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld B in Tesla?”“

The particle moves towards the left in a magnetic ﬁeld pointing into the page, so it must be positively

charged. The E-ﬁeld is towards the right, and so for the particle to move in a straight line, the magnitude

of the electric force and the magnetic force must be equal.

236

The E-ﬁeld is uniform between the plates, at 10 10

3

V/m (given above); alternative usits would be N/C,

which will be more useful here. The electric force on the particle is thus

F

E

= qE = q 10 10

3

= 4.8 10

−19

10 10

3

= 4.8 10

−15

N

... and the direction is, then, to the right. The strength of the magnetic force on the particle must equal

this, only that the magnetic force will be towards the left. The magnetic force is given by

F

B

= q(v B) = qvB

... since the B-ﬁeld is perpendicular to v, sin θ = 1, and we get a nice, simple equation. Solving for the

B-ﬁeld strength, we ﬁnd

F

B

= qvB

B =

F

B

qv

Since F

B

must be equal to the electric force (in magnitude), we ﬁnd

B =

F

E

qv

=

4.8 10

−15

4.8 10

−19

3 10

6

= 0.0033 T

as the answer to (a).

“(b) The charge hits the left wall of the spectrometer at a vertical distance h = 0.157 m above where it

entered the upper region and a horizontal distance L = 0.374 m to the left of where it entered the upper

region (see sketch). What is the radius r of the trajectory in m?”

Well, ﬁrst, let’s have a guess at the rough size of the answer. Via the sketch, r is slightly larger than L/2

(L is a bit smaller than the diameter of the circle the particle would trace). So if we ﬁnd r ≈ 0.2 then

that would look about right.

We know that

R =

mv

qB

... but we don’t know R and we don’t know B (the B-ﬁeld above is for another region of the device!), so

we can’t use that as-is.

Looking at the diagram, we can simply use the Pythagorean theorem to ﬁnd r:

h

2

+ (L −r)

2

= r

2

h

2

+ L

2

−2Lr = 0

h

2

+ L

2

= 2Lr

r =

h

2

+ L

2

2L

We stick our values in and ﬁnd r ≈ 0.219953 m.

“(c) The mass of the particle can be determined using the radius r, the charge q, the speed v, and the

magnetic ﬁeld B

0

. Using a value of B

0

= 0.2 T, evaluate the mass of the particle in kg. (Note that the

magnitude of the ﬁeld in the curved section, B

0

, is NOT the same as the magnitude in the straight section,

B, found in part a).”

237

Now we can use the radius equation! We just need to solve it for m.

R =

mv

qB

0

m =

qRB

0

v

With our values, m ≈ 7.0385 10

−27

kg.

14.2.4 Problem 4: RL circuit

“In the circuit shown in the ﬁgure below, the switch closes at t = 0, R = 2.0 Ohm, E = 7 V, L = 0.085 H.

(a) What are the currents (in A) through the two bottom branches at t = 0

+

(just after the switch is

closed)?”

As in the previous (very similar) circuit, I

1

= 0 at this point, because the inductor won’t allow any current

to pass through without at least some time passing.

I

2

is then depends only upon the EMF and the resistances 2R + R = 3R, so

I

2

=

E

3R

=

7

6

A

“(b) What are the currents (in A) through the two bottom branches at a much later time t ≈ ∞?”

In this case, the current through the inductor has reached its maximum, and it is a short circuit. Therefore

I

2

= 0, and

I

1

=

E

2R

=

7

4

A

14.2.5 Problem 5: Magnetic ﬁeld of a loop

“A current I = 4.9 A ﬂows around a continuous path that consists of portions of two concentric circles of

radii a and a/2, respectively, where a = 1 cm, and two straight radial segments. The point P is at the

common center of the two circle segments.

Calculate the components of the magnetic ﬁeld (in T) at point P.”

Okay. So neither of the straight wire segments contributes to the B-ﬁeld at point P, so we can neglect

them completely, and focus on calculating the B-ﬁeld due to the two arcs.

The ﬁeld ought to be in the +ˆ z direction alone, so I would expect the x- and y-components to be zero.

More on that later.

Well, let’s see then. We use Biot-Savart, which says that

dB =

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

(

d ˆ r)

... where

d is a segment along the current-carrying wire, always aligned with the current’s direction.

Since we need to calculate the B-ﬁeld due to two arcs, and then vectorially add the two, we will do this in

a general way, and solve it for an arc of radius r, and then substitute in r = a and r = a/2 later on.

Since an arc is part of a circle, we have the wonderful properly that [

**d ˆ r[ = d, since they are always
**

exactly perpendicular, and the magnitude of ˆ r is 1 by deﬁnition. The direction is given by the cross

product, and will be ˆ z (out of the page) for all d.

238

d ˆ r = [

d[[ˆ r[sinθ = d 1 1 = dˆ z

So we now have

dB =

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

dˆ z

r is the distance between all points on the wire, and point P, so we don’t need to make any substitutions

there. (We will later, when we are done with the integration.)

Via arc length formulas we ﬁnd that d = rdθ, so

dB =

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

rdθˆ z

Thus, we can integrate:

B =

_

arc

dB =

_

π

0

µ

0

4π

I

r

2

rdθˆ z =

µ

0

4π

I

r

_

π

0

dθˆ z

B =

µ

0

4π

I

r

πˆ z =

µ

0

I

4r

ˆ z

This resembles the B-ﬁeld in the center of a full circle - in fact, it’s exactly half of that! So that makes

sense.

Let’s now make the substitutions, then. We have one arc with radius r = a/2 where the current goes

upwards (in the plane of the page, so +ˆ y at the center), which makes the B-ﬁeld go out of the page.

Another arc of radius r = a has the current going down at the center, which contributes to a B-ﬁeld going

into the page.

Since the current is the same, and the one with radius a/2 is closer to the point, the net B-ﬁeld will point

out of the page (the closest one will “win”). So we have then, that

B =

µ

0

I

2a

ˆ z +

µ

0

I

4a

(−ˆ z) =

µ

0

I

2a

ˆ z −

µ

0

I

4a

ˆ z

B =

µ

0

I

4a

ˆ z

So the components, and our answers, are

B

x

= 0 T

B

y

= 0 T

B

z

=

4π10

−7

4.9

4 0.01

≈ 0.000153938 T

14.2.6 Problem 6: Magnetic ﬁeld of a current-carrying ribbon

“Consider a thin, inﬁnitely long conducting ribbon that carries a uniform current density j (current per

unit area). The width of the ribbon is w and its thickness s is extremely small (s ¸ w). P is a point in

the plane of the ribbon, at a large distance (x ¸s) from the ribbon edge. (See the ﬁgure below)

What is the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld B (in T) at point P for the following values of w , j, s and

x? w = 6 cm; s = 0.1 cm; j = 1 A/m

2

and x = 16 cm.”

Oh my. Well... Let’s see. If we divide the cross-sectional area s w into pieces of s dr (dr to avoid

ambiguity with dw and w - r is the distance between the piece and the point P) and integrate the B-ﬁeld

due to each current j s dr , will that be enough? Or do we need to do a double integral where we consider

239

ds and dr?

Since s ¸ x, and s is described as “extremely small”, I will in fact assume that we ignore the thickness,

and treat it as essentially 0. That means that we won’t bother calculating the B-ﬁeld due to the top layer,

the bottom layer, and an inﬁnite amount of layers in between, but indeed treat it as a 1-dimensional set

of currents, each at a diﬀerent distance from the point P, with the closest being r = x and the furthest

being r = x + w.

Since the question only asks for the magnitude, as a single number, we won’t have to worry about direc-

tions and such.

We can ﬁnd each current i (I won’t call it di since we won’t integrate it to ﬁnd the full current) as

i = j dA = j s dr

At this point, I started working with Biot-Savart... and realized that it won’t work. I got stuck when

I thought I could treat the system as an inﬁnitely short (depth-wise) wire, and realized that I need to

integrate d in the direction in which is is 0... D’oh!

Well, Ampere’s law can work instead, actually. To use it, we treat the system as a set of inﬁnite wires,

stacked width-wise. So each wire has area s dr, but since s is very small, we can neglect it (via the problem

description), and we get a set of inﬁnite wires of ≈ zero radius, where Ampere’s law applies just ﬁne for

the really rectangular shape.

Let’s then look at the B-ﬁeld due to one such “wire”. Clearly, it will be equal at all equidistant points

from the “wire”, so that we can use Ampere’s law and get

_

dB

d = dB2πr. Since there is no changing

electric ﬂux (and point P is in empty space), we use the simple version of Ampere’s law:

dB2πr = µ

0

I

pen

What is I

pen

here? Well, we choose the Amperean circle with the radius that equals the distance to the

point P, and attach a ﬂat surface to that, so it is the full current j s dr though the tiny wire segment.

That means that we have

dB2πr = µ

0

j s dr

dB =

µ

0

j s dr

2πr

Well, the dimensions work out to be tesla, so this looks promising.

We can now integrate the above, with r (the distance between the “wire” and P) x to x + w.

B =

_

x+w

x

µ

0

j s dr

2πr

=

µ

0

j s

2π

_

x+w

x

dr

r

B =

µ

0

j s

2π

ln

_

x + w

x

_

This does indeed give a green checkmark for the answer. With the given values we ﬁnd B ≈ 6.36907 10

−11

tesla.

14.2.7 Problem 7: Magnetic ﬁeld of a rotating charged sphere

“A spherical shell of radius R carries a uniform surface charge density (charge per unit area) σ. The center

of the sphere is at the origin and the shell rotates with angular velocity ω (in rad/sec) around the z-axis

(z = 0 at the origin). Seen from below, the sphere rotates clockwise. (See the ﬁgure below)

240

(a) Calculate the magnitude of the total current (in A) carried by the rotating sphere for the following

values of σ, ω and R:

σ = 5 10

−4

C/m

2

, ω = 8 rad/s and R = 1 m.”

I managed to get a correct answer on this on the test, despite using incorrect methods to solve it. Now

that I’ve realized two things I did wrong, I’ll try again and see whether I can ﬁnd the correct answers (not

just something close, but the actual answer!) or not.

First, we will model this as a set of circular (with an inﬁnitesimal height) current loops. That is, we cut

the sphere up in the x-y plane, such that only extremely thin slices remain. If the radius of the sphere is

R, and we call the radius of each circle r, we will ﬁnd via trigonometry that

r = Rsin θ

where θ is the polar angle (the angle from the z axis). Clearly, each circle will have a diﬀerent radius,

depending on where it is on the sphere. Only the one centered at the origin (the great circle) will have

r = R, while ones closer to the poles will approach 0 radius.

That’s one dimension; to ﬁnd an area element, we need to multiply that by a dθ or something or another.

Well, we know that arc length is given by Rdθ, so that the circumferance of the sphere (or of the sphere’s

great circle, rather) is 2πR; for half the sphere, it’s simply πR, etc. So the angle in radians times the

radius.

It really isn’t any harder than that, so we have

dA = 2πr(Rdθ)

= 2πR

2

sin θdθ

As a sanity check, let’s integrate that over the entire sphere, and see if we ﬁnd A = 4πR

2

. If we don’t, it

is clearly incorrect.

A =

_

π

0

2πR

2

sin θdθ

= 2πR

2

_

π

0

sin θdθ

= 4πR

2

Excellent! Let us continue with the physics.

First oﬀ, part (a): the total current. This can be found easily: current is charge moving past a point

per unit time, and the period of each “ring” of current will be the same, as they are rotating together.

Therefore, the total current is the total charge, σ4πR

2

, divided by the period T =

2π

ω

, or

Q = σ4πR

2

T =

2π

ω

I =

Q

T

=

σ4πR

2

ω

2π

= 2σωR

2

= 0.008 A

We can also do this the “proper” way to prove that the above is correct. In this case, we use the area

element dA we found, and integrate it over the surface area, while multiplying by σ, and dividing by the

period.

An inﬁnitesimal current di is given by

241

di =

σdA

T

=

σωdA

2π

=

σω(2πR

2

sin θdθ)

2π

= σω(R

2

sin θdθ)

Integrating that over the sphere, the total current is

I =

_

π

0

σωR

2

sin θdθ

= σωR

2

_

π

0

sin θdθ

= 2σωR

2

... which is exactly the equation we found above, so our answer of 8 mA looks correct!

“(b) Calculate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld B(z) (in T) that is generated by the circular current of

the rotating shell at a point P on the z-axis for the following values of σ,ω, z and R:

(same values, plus z = 2.3 m)”

Okay. Since we are considering the currents as circular loops with an inﬁnitesimal height, we can use

Biot-Savart to ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld along the axis of one such loop. We have done that before, so I will simply

refer to the result. It says that

B

z

=

µ

0

2

IR

2

(R

2

+ z

2

)

3/2

Since we are integrating a whole set of such loops, I will refer to that as dB instead. In the above, R refers

to the radius of the circular loop, which is given by little r = Rsin θ in our case.

z is the distance from the center of the current loop to the point P where we ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld (let’s call

that P

z

, as in the z-coordinate of point P), so we need to substitute in an expression for that distance for

z. We get

dB =

µ

0

2

di r

2

(r

2

+ (P

z

−z)

2

)

3/2

Substituting in the value for di we found, we have

dB =

µ

0

2

σω(R

2

sin θdθ) r

2

(r

2

+ (P

z

−z)

2

)

3/2

Ugh, so now we have both z and θ as variables, plus r (which is Rsin θ). Still, two is one too much. We

need to rewrite θ in terms of z or vice versa; I chose to use z = Rcos θ (conversion from cylindrical to

spherical coordinates) here. That gives us, if we also replace r = Rsin θ at the same time,

dB =

µ

0

2

σω(R

2

sin θdθ) (Rsin θ)

2

((Rsin θ)

2

+ (P

z

−Rcos θ)

2

)

3/2

What a mess! We can do some of the squares, to simplify:

dB =

µ

0

2

σωR

4

sin

3

θdθ

(R

2

sin

2

θ + (P

z

−Rcos θ)

2

)

3/2

Hardly pretty, but we can actually integrate this now; we only have constants and one variable, θ. Of

course, doing this integration manually would be madness. Doing it symbolically, using software, would

probably also be madness. We can do a numerical integration, however, by giving the software the values

for all the constants, and telling it to integrate numerically. With Mathematica, this is done by setting

the constants, and then using the NIntegrate function.

242

Using NIntegrate, or something similar, we evaluate the following integral:

B =

_

π

0

µ

0

2

σωR

4

sin

3

θdθ

(R

2

sin

2

θ + (P

z

−Rcos θ)

2

)

3/2

With constants moved outside the integral:

B =

µ

0

σωR

4

2

_

π

0

sin

3

θdθ

(R

2

sin

2

θ + (P

z

−Rcos θ)

2

)

3/2

Solving the integral gives us B ≈ 2.75419755 10

−10

T, which is correct! (Not only accepted as correct i.e.

within 5%, but as far as the answer is given, looks to be exactly correct.)

14.3 Midterm 3

14.3.1 Problem 1: RC Circuit

Here we go.

“The circuit below consists of three identical resistors each with resistance R = 21 Ohm, two identical

batteries with emfs E = 17 V, and a capacitor with capacitance C = 551µF. The capacitor is initially

uncharged at t = 0.”

The ﬁrst sub-questions ask for i

1

, i

2

, i

3

and the capacitor’s voltage after a “very very long time” t ¸RC.

Well, the capacitor will act as an open circuit after such a long time. Thus, the entire left loop will at as

if it is disconnected, so i

1

= 0. We can redraw the circuit with only the right loop, and ﬁnd an extremely

simple circuit:

i

1

= 0

i

2

= i

3

=

E

2R

=

17 V

2 21 Ω

≈ 0.40476 A

For the rest, we can do turn the circuit into its Thevenin equivalent.

First, we ﬁnd the open-circuit voltage for the port where the capacitor is located. That is, we remove the

capacitor, and then analyze the circuit that remains.

The left-hand loop becomes disconnected, and the voltage is decided by the right-hand loop alone.

We can either use KVL around the loop, or simply see that the circuit is a voltage divider, with R

1

=

R

2

= R, so the voltage across the middle resistor is half of E. In addition to that, we have the leftmost

voltage source, which is upside down (the way I think of it), that is, its voltage is positive downwards.

We go around the left “loop” (never mind that there’s a hole where the capacitor was, we include that),

clockwise, starting in the bottom middle (below the center resistor):

−i

3

R −E + V

TH

= 0

V

TH

= E + i

3

R

V

TH

= 17 + 8.5 = 25.5 V

V

TH

= 25.5 V

Next, we need to ﬁnd the equivalent resistance into that port. We “turn oﬀ’ the voltage sources by turning

them into shorts (current sources, if any, are turned into open circuits), and redraw the circuit. It becomes

obvious that the equivalent resistance is

R

eq

= R + (R[[R) = R + (

R

2

2R

) = 1.5R

243

So we can now analyze a much simpler circuit: a series circuit of a voltage source (25.5 volts), a resistor

(1.5 21 Ω = 31.5 Ω) and the capacitor.

After a long time, clearly, the capacitor’s voltage will equal the battery’s, or there would still be a current

running. Therefore,

V

C

(t →∞) = 25.5 V

“(d) Assuming that the capacitor starts uncharged, how long will it take (in seconds) for the voltage across

the capacitor to reach 3/4 of its maximum value?”

We can use the same circuit, and the equation

V

C

(t) = V

TH

_

1 −exp(−

t

R

TH

C

)

_

Set it equal to three-quarters V

TH

and solve for t...

V

TH

_

1 −exp(−

t

R

TH

C

)

_

=

3

4

V

TH

_

1 −exp(−

t

R

TH

C

)

_

=

3

4

−exp(−

t

R

TH

C

) = −

1

4

−

t

R

TH

C

= ln

1

4

t = −R

TH

C ln

1

4

t = R

TH

C ln 4 ≈ 0.02406 s

14.3.2 Problem 2: RLC circuit

“A solenoid has N = 470.0 turns, length d = 10 cm , and radius b = 0.4 cm, (b ¸ d). The solenoid is

connected via a switch, S

1

, to an ideal voltage source with electromotive force E = 5 V and a resistor with

resistance R = 49 Ohm . Assume all the self-inductance in the circuit is due to the solenoid. At time

t = 0, S

1

is closed while S

2

remains open.

(a) When a current I = 1.02 10

−2

A is ﬂowing through the outer loop of the circuit (i.e. S

1

is still closed

and S

2

is still open), what is the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld inside the solenoid (in Tesla)?”

All right. So we don’t need to do any circuit analysis for this step, but we do need to calculate the B-ﬁeld

inside the solenoid (and then the inductance). We could use a known result, but I will derive it using

Ampere’s law.

We choose an Amperean loop, in the form of a rectangle, placed such that one side (length c) is inside

the solenoid; the other side’s dimension is irrelevant, if it is long enough that the second length c side is

outside the solenoid.

The basic version of Ampere’s law (we won’t need the displacement current term, as the change in electric

ﬂux will be 0) tells us

_

B

d = µ

0

I

pen

In a solenoid, the B-ﬁeld is approximately constant inside, and approximately 0 outside. It will be com-

pletely parallel to the length c side, but completely perpendicular to the other side. Therefore, only one

244

side of the loop contributes to the left side: the one inside.

We attach a ﬂat surface to this loop, to ﬁnd the current that penetrates it. The current may/will penetrate

multiple times, since N is large. It will penetrate N times, multiplied by the ratio of the loop’s length to

the solenoid’s:

I

pen

= IN

c

d

The left-hand side gave us c for the line integral’s length:

cB = µ

0

IN

c

d

B = µ

0

I

N

d

This result looks familiar, except d is usually called .

We can now answer the ﬁrst sub-question, of the B-ﬁeld:

B = µ

0

I

N

d

= 4π10

−7

1.02 10

−2

470

0.1

≈ 6.024 10

−5

T

“(b) What is the self-inductance L of the solenoid (in H)?”

The deﬁnition of self-inductance is the ﬂux, divided by the current:

L =

Φ

B

I

Which also means that

Φ

B

= LI

dΦ

B

dt

= L

dI

dt

(keeping in mind to multiply by N to ﬁnd the total ﬂux, as needed).

In other words, we need to ﬁnd the ﬂux inside the inductor. To do so, we attach a surface to the inductor’s

loop - a very weird surface (a helical surface), but we can ﬁnd the ﬂux easily:

Φ

B

= NAB

... where A is the cross-sectional area of the solenoid, and N of course the number of windings.

Φ

B

= N πb

2

µ

0

I

N

d

L =

Φ

B

I

= πb

2

µ

0

N

2

d

L ≈ 0.000139533 H

“(c) What is the current (in A) in the circuit a very long time (t ¸L/R) after S

1

is closed?”

At that point, I = ER (since the inductor has no resistance in this model).

I =

E

R

=

5

49

≈ 0.102 A

“(d) How much energy (in J) is stored in the magnetic ﬁeld of the coil a very long time (t ¸ L/R) after

S

1

is closed?”

U =

1

2

LI

2

≈

1

2

0.000139533

_

5

49

_

2

≈ 7.26432 10

−7

J

245

“For the next part, assume that a very long time (t ¸ L/R) after the switch S

1

was closed, the voltage

source is disconnected from the circuit by opening switch S

1

. Simultaneously, the solenoid is connected to

a capacitor of capacitance C = 851µF by closing switch S

2

. Assume there is negligible resistance in this

new circuit.

(e) What is the maximum amount of charge (in Coulombs) that will appear on the capacitor?”

Hmm. We will have an LC circuit, since the rest is disconnected.

Since there is stored energy to begin with (in the inductor), and no energy is lost to resistance, the circuit

should oscillate forever.

I don’t see an easier way to solve this (actually, for this question, we could probably use U =

1

2

Q

2

C

, but we

need some other solution for the next quetion), so let’s look at setting up the diﬀerential equation using

Faraday’s law:

_

E d = −

dΦ

B

dt

First, we go around the circuit starting at the top (arbitrarily), going clockwise - in the direction of the

initial current.

The inductor doesn’t contribute to the line integral, as there can be no electric ﬁeld inside it, having no

resistance.

For the capacitor, we ﬁnd V

C

= Q/C (C = Q/V , V C = Q, V = Q/C); charge will build up on the bottom

plate for this current direction, and so the E-ﬁeld is is the same direction we are moving, and

Q

C

= −L

dI

dt

We can use I =

dQ

dt

:

Q

C

= −L

d

2

Q

dt

2

We use the initial conditions Q(t = 0) = 0 (no charge on the capacitor) and Q

(t = 0) = I

0

(initial current)

to solve the diﬀerential equation, and ﬁnd (I used Mathematica)

Q(t) = I

0

√

LC sin

_

t

√

LC

_

That can easily answer the question, since the sine will move between -1 and +1. The maximum charge is

Q

max

= I

0

√

LC =

E

R

√

LC ≈

5

49

√

0.000139533 851 10

−6

≈ 3.516 10

−5

C

“(f) How long does it take (in s) after S

1

is opened and S

2

is closed before the capacitor ﬁrst reaches its

maximum charge?”

That would be when sin

t

√

LC

= 1, or when

t

√

LC

= π/2.

t

√

LC

=

π

2

t =

π

√

LC

2

t ≈ 0.000541281 s

BTW (they didn’t ask for it), the current is given by the derivative of the charge, of course, so

I(t) = I

0

cos

_

t

√

LC

_

246

14.3.3 Problem 3: Energy ﬂow of a capacitor

“Consider a charging capacitor made out of two identical circular conducting plates of radius a = 9 cm.

The plates are separated by a distance d = 10 mm (see ﬁgure below, note that d ¸a). The bottom plate

carries a positive charge

Q(t) = +Q

0

_

1 +

t

T

_

with Q

0

= 2 10

−6

C and T = 0.006 sec, and the top plate carries a negative charge −Q(t). The current

through the wire is in the positive

ˆ

k-direction. You may neglect all edge eﬀects.

(a) Calculate the components of the electric ﬁeld (in V/m) inside the capacitor for t = 2T.”

Three questions (this being one) want the answers as components in ˆ r,

ˆ

θ and

ˆ

k, so they clearly want us

to use cylindrical coordinates for this one.

As for the electric ﬁeld, that is given by

E =

σ

0

... in the direction from the positive to the negative charge, so +

ˆ

k in this case. σ can be found by dividing

the total charge by the plate area:

σ =

Q

A

=

Q

πa

2

So

E =

σ

0

=

Q

0

πa

2

For the change at t = 2T, using the equation, we ﬁnd

Q(t = 2T) = Q

0

_

1 +

2T

T

_

= 3Q

0

We ﬁnd then,

E

r

= 0 V/m

E

θ

= 0 V/m

E

k

=

Q

0

πa

2

=

3Q

0

0

π(0.09)

2

≈ 2.66298 10

7

V/m

... that seems insane, as it is several (not far from 9) times higher than the maximum possible E-ﬁeld in air,

before breakdown occurs... I keep getting the same answer though, after having double- and triple-checked

my calculations! Let’s see...

C =

A

0

d

≈

(π0.09

2

)(8.854187 10

−12

)

0.01

≈ 2.25 10

−11

F

V =

Q

C

=

6 10

−6

2.25 10

−11

≈ 266666.67 V

Well, the results are in line with everything else. I still ﬁnd them bizarre, though!

I actually posted about this on the wiki, to ask whether “unphysical” values could be valid, and the answer

was yes, they didn’t choose the values to avoid the breakdown limit. So the above is most likely correct

247

after all.

“(b) Calculate the components of the magnetic ﬁeld B(r, t) (in Teslas) at time t = 2T inside the capacitor

at a distance r = 0.9 cm from the central axis of the capacitor.”

First, as a sanity check, let’s calculate the B-ﬁeld outside the wire. Using Ampere’s law (without the

displacement current term),

B2πr = µ

0

I

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

B ≈ 2.222e −5 I

The current is given by the derivative of Q at t = 2T, which is constant at Q

0

/T (where T = 0.006, given

early in the problem), so I ≈ 3.333 10

−4

A.

B ≈ 7.405 10

−9

T

... for the B-ﬁeld outside the wire. I do believe this is equal to the answer (it turned out it wasn’t!), but I

will calculate it using the displacement current term inside the plates, to do things right.

The equation we need is then

_

B

d = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

dΦ

E

dt

_

I

pen

= 0 since we will be mid-air (or mid-vacuum). We again to around a circle with radius r = 0.9 cm, so

B2πr = µ

0

0

dΦ

E

dt

B =

µ

0

0

2πr

dΦ

E

dt

OK, time to calculate the change in electric ﬂux. First, the ﬂux itself. Since r is much smaller than the

plate radius, we are inside the plates. Only the ﬂux through our Amperean loop matters, not the ﬂux

through the entire plate area.

We attach a ﬂat surface to our Amperean loop, and ﬁnd

Φ

E

= EA =

σ

0

πr

2

=

Q

0

πa

2

πr

2

Φ

E

=

Qr

2

0

a

2

So the bigger our loop, the stronger the ﬂux. Makes sense. It’s also inversely proportional to the plate

area, as the E-ﬁeld depends on the charge density - lower density (larger plate area) equals less ﬂux per

area. That also makes sense.

We then need to ﬁnd the derivative of this. Well, that’s extremely easy - we have a bunch of constants

multiplying Q(t), so we get the same constants times dQ/dt = I:

dΦ

E

dt

=

Ir

2

0

a

2

And so the B-ﬁeld is

B =

µ

0

0

2πr

Ir

2

0

a

2

=

µ

0

Ir

2πa

2

248

... which matches a result we found in lecture many weeks ago.

With our values, we ﬁnd

B ≈ 7.40667 10

−11

T

... which is certainly not equal to the value we calculated previously. The values are equal at the very

edge of the plates (r = a), but not inside. (This equation can’t describe anything outside the plates, so

we can’t check thete without recalculating.)

Interesting. Still, let’s move on, as this certainly should be correct, despite not being what I expected.

The direction of the magnetic ﬁeld will be azimuthal, i.e. in the direction

ˆ

θ. With the current going

upwards, we use the right-hand rule to ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld curling counterclockwise, as seen from above. I’m

not sure about the sign, but it appears to be positive if curling counterclockwise.

(The unit vector is positive inwards, to the right of the drawing, but to the left of the

ˆ

k and ˆ r vectors.

Slightly confusing, but it appears common to have azimuth positive when counterclockwise seen from

above.)

“(c) Calculate the components of the Poynting vector

S(r, t) (in W/m

2

) at time t = 2T between the plates

at a distance r = 0.9 cm from the central axis of the capacitor.”

S =

E

B

µ

0

Looks like we need to do a cross product in cylindrical coordinates. The Poynting vector’s direction will

be given by

ˆ

S =

ˆ

k

ˆ

θ = −ˆ r

because

ˆ

θ

ˆ

k = ˆ r

The magnitude will be the product of the E- and B-ﬁelds, divided by µ

0

, as we’ve seen:

[

S[ =

EB

µ

0

=

QIr

2π

2

a

4

0

For our values, at r = 0.9 cm:

[

S[ =

(3 2 10

−6

)(3.333 10

−4

)(0.9/100)

2π

2

0.09

4

0

≈ 1569.57 W/m

2

The direction is mentioned above, and the other components will be zero. Keep the direction in mind

however, as the value must be entered as negative!

“(d) What is the ﬂow of energy (in W) into the capacitor at time t = 2T?”

This is the Poynting vector, times the surface area that the Poynting vector “works over”, 2πad (r = a at

the outer edge, so we need to take the diﬀerent B-ﬁeld in mind and cannot use the previous numerical

values!):

dU

dt

= SA =

QIr

2π

2

a

4

0

2πad

¸

¸

¸

r=a

=

QId

πa

2

0

≈ 88.766 W

“(e) How fast is the energy stored in the electric ﬁeld changing (i.e. what is the rate of change in W)

within the capacitor at time t = 2T?”

Hmm. The stored energy per unit volume is given by

249

U

E

=

1

2

0

E

2

=

1

2

0

σ

2

0

2

U

E

=

1

2

σ

2

0

U

E

=

1

2

(Q/πa

2

)

2

0

U

E

=

1

2

Q

2

/π

2

a

4

0

U

E

=

1

2

Q

2

0

π

2

a

4

We multiply by the volume of the capacitor, πa

2

d, to ﬁnd the total stored energy:

U =

1

2

Q

2

0

π

2

a

4

πa

2

d

U =

1

2

Q

2

d

0

πa

2

The rate of change in energy stored is then the derivative of that:

dU

dt

=

QdI

0

πa

2

For our values, we ﬁnd

dU

dt

=

(3 2 10

−6

)(0.01)(3.333 10

−4

)

(8.854187 10

−12

)π(0.09)

2

≈ 88.766 W

This answers both (d) and (e), though we calculated it as the answer to (e). Thus, the energy ﬂow into

the capacitor is equal to the growth of the stored energy. That makes quite a bit of sense!

14.3.4 Problem 4: Electromagnet with small air gap

“An electromagnet has a steel core (κ

M

≈ 2500) with an approximately circular cross sectional area of

6.0 cm

2

. The radius of the magnet is 12.0 cm; there is a small air gap of only 2.4 mm (see sketch). The

current through the magnet’s N = 140-turn coil is 20 A.

What will the magnetic ﬁeld strength be inside the air gap? Express your answer in Tesla. Assume that

the magnetic ﬁeld is azimuthal (i.e. points around the circle formed by the steel) everywhere and d ¸the

radius of the electromagnet.”

The magnetic ﬁeld lines will approximately follow the circle (which is also stated in the description), even

in the gap, since magnetic ﬁeld lines must be continuous and “connect back”. They don’t have a starting

or ending point.

We use Ampere’s law around the magnet:

_

B

d = κ

M

µ

0

I

pen

Choosing our Amperean loop to be a circle, concentric with radius of the magnet, and attaching a ﬂat

surface to it, we ﬁnd I

pen

= NI.

As for the line integral, we need to calculate it in two parts: in the steel, and in the air part. Due to the

massive diﬀerence in permeability, ignoring the air part is not an option.

250

_

B

d inside the steel is roughly the B-ﬁeld times the length, so that contributes with a term B(2πR−d)

(since there is no steel in that last part).

For the air, the same deal applies, except the permeability is waaay lower, and we need to adjust for that:

_

B

d = Bκ

M

d

All in all, we have

B((2πR −d) + dκ

M

) = κ

M

µ

0

NI

B =

κ

M

µ

0

NI

(2πR −d) + dκ

M

B ≈ 1.30287 T

An alternate way to look at Ampere’s law is to rearrange it:

_

1

κ

M

B

d = µ

0

I

pen

This is of course the same thing, but now it’s easy to see that we need to use the diﬀerent permeability

values in the separate line integral parts, one with a high κ

M

and one with κ

M

≈ 1.

14.3.5 Problem 5: RLC Circuit

“A circuit consists of a resistor of R = 3 Ω, a capacitor of C = 6µF, and an ideal self-inductor of L = 0.06

H. All three are in series with a power supply that generates an EMF of 16 sin(ωt) Volt. The internal

resistance of both the power supply and the inductor are negligibly small. The system is at resonance.

(a) What is the time averaged power (in Watts) generated by the power supply?”

At resonance, the circuit acts exactly as though the inductor and capacitor weren’t there (in steady state,

that is). The time-averaged power is thus the same as it would be if we had a voltage source-resistor circuit.

The current will be given by I(t) =

V (t)

R

(since we are at resonance), so

¸P¸ = ¸V I¸ =

_

(16 sin ωt)

_

16 sin ωt

3

__

¸P¸ =

16

2

3

¸

sin

2

ωt

_

The time-average of a sine-square function is one-half, which means that

¸P¸ =

16

2

6

≈ 42.667 W

This should be half of what we would ﬁnd using the DC method of P =

V

2

R

=

16

2

3

, which it indeed is!

“We decrease the frequency of the power supply to a value for which the reactance (

1

ωC

− ωL) becomes

equal to R; the maximum EMF remains 16 V.

(b) What now will be the time averaged power (in Watts) generated by the power supply?”

We will now have to use the full equation for the RLC circuit:

I(t) =

V

0

√

R

2

+ X

2

sin(ωt −φ)

251

where

φ = arctan

_

X

R

_

With X = −R (because X = ωL −

1

ωC

, the negative of what we were given), we ﬁnd φ = −π/4, and

therefore

I(t) =

16

√

3

2

+ 3

2

sin(ωt + π/4)

I(t) =

16

3

√

2

sin(ωt + π/4)

P(t) = (16 sin ωt)

16

3

√

2

sin(ωt + π/4)

P(t) =

16

2

3

√

2

sin(ωt + π/4) sin ωt

Now we just need to ﬁnd the time average. We can ﬁnd it by integrating the power over one period, and

then dividing by the period:

¸P¸ =

1

T

_

T

0

V (t)I(t) dt

T =

2π

ω

, so

¸P¸ =

ω

2π

_

T

0

16

2

3

√

2

sin(ωt + π/4) sin ωt dt

¸P¸ =

16

2

ω

6π

√

2

_

T

0

sin(ωt + π/4) sin ωt dt

¸P¸ =

16

2

ω

6π

√

2

_

π

ω

√

2

_

¸P¸ =

16

2

12

≈ 21.333 W

So the power is exactly half of what it were earlier. Quite a lot of work to ﬁnd a factor of one half!

14.3.6 Problem 6: Electromagnetic wave

“The magnetic vector of a plane electromagnetic wave is described as follows:

B = B

m

ˆ x sin(12 rad/m z −3.60e9 rad/sec t)

where B

m

> 0. This represents the full magnetic ﬁeld, so that B

y

= B

z

= 0.

(a) What is the wavelength λ of the wave, in meters?

(b) What is the frequency f of the wave, in cycles per second?

(c) In which direction does this wave propagate?”

OK. We can use some simple formulas for these few.

λ =

2π

k

=

2π

12

=

π

6

m

f =

ω

2π

=

3.6 10

9

2π

Hz

252

As a sanity check, λf = c (in a vacuum), which is true here.

The direction of propagation is +ˆ z, because we have a kz in the sine, and a minus ωt; the direction is

opposite the sign.

“(d) The associated electric ﬁeld

E(x, t) can be written as

E = A

0

sin(k

x

x + k

y

y + k

z

z −ωt) ˆ m

where k

x

, k

y

, k

z

and ω are all positive (or zero).

Determine m, A

0

(in V/m), k

x

, k

y

, k

z

(in rad/m) and ω (in rad/s), assuming B

m

= 9.73 10

−7

T.”

The EM wave propagates in the +ˆ z direction, and so the E-ﬁeld must do the same. Therefore k

x

= k

y

= 0.

It needs to be in phase with the B-ﬁeld, so k

z

= 12 rad/m and ω = 3.6 10

9

rad/s.

E

0

= B

0

c

, only that here we call them by other names, so

A

0

= B

m

c = 9.73 10

−7

3 10

8

≈ 291.9 V/m

And lastly, the direction.

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ v must be true, so in this case,

ˆ

E ˆ x = ˆ z; therefore the E-ﬁeld must

be in the −ˆ y direction, so we need to set A

0

to a negative value (since there are only x, y and z choices

for the direction).

“(e) What is the time-averaged Poynting ﬂux associated with this wave, assuming B

m

= 9.73 10

−7

T?”

The Poynting vector is in the direction of propagation (since it is given by

S =

E

B

µ

0

). As for the

magnitude, we will have to take the time average of the above, and ﬁnd

_

S

_

=

A

0

B

m

2µ

0

ˆ z

14.3.7 Problem 7: Radiation pressure on the Earth

“The average energy ﬂux in the sunlight on the Earth is

¸S¸ = 1.4 10

3

W/m

2

You might need to use some of the following constants:

Distance from earth to the sun = 150 10

9

m

R

Earth

= 6.4 10

6

m

R

Sun

= 7.0 10

8

m

G = 6.67 10

−11

m

3

/(kg s

2

)

M

Earth

= 5.97219 10

24

kg

M

Sun

= 1.9891 10

30

kg

“(a) What force (in N) does the pressure of light exert on the Earth? Assume that all the light striking

the Earth is absorbed.”

We can ﬁnd the radiation pressure by dividing the time-averaged Poynting vector by c:

253

¸S¸

c

=

1.4 10

3

3 10

8

= 4.6667 10

−6

W/m

2

m/s

= 4.6667 10

−6

Pa

We can then multiply this by a number α, which depends upon whether the radiation goes through (α = 0

for a fully transparent material), is absorbed (α = 1 for 100% absorption) or reﬂected (α = 2 for 100%

reﬂection). In this case, α = 1, so the number above is the one we need.

We then multiply this by the Earth’s cross-sectional area (as if it were a circle, facing the Sun) - I previ-

ously (during the lecture sequence) solved this by integrating it as a cross product, which gave me exactly

the 0.02 N that was marked as correct in that case, but it turned out the correct answer was found using

πR

2

, and the answer was then rounded up to 0.02.

Therefore, I’ll use the πR

2

method here, of course.

F = pA = 4.666 10

−6

π(6.4 10

6

)

2

≈ 6.004 10

8

N

Wow, that’s much more than I would have guessed. Well, the Earth’s radius is huge compared to the

other example of an asteroid with a 100 meter radius, so it makes sense. Not to mention that it goes with

the radius squared.

“(b) What is the gravitational force (in N) that the Sun exerts on the Earth? (Think about how that

compares to the force due to the pressure of light. Does your answer make sense?)”

Time for Newton to shine.

F

g

= G

m

1

m

2

r

2

= 6.67 10

−11

(5.97219 10

24

)(1.9891 10

30

)

(150 10

9

)

2

≈ 3.52155 10

22

N

Whoa, that was also larger than I would have expected. Still, it should be way higher than the radiation

pressure, and indeed it is.

254

14.4 Final Exam

14.4.1 Problem 1: Loop in a Magnetic Field

“An inﬁnite straight wire carrying a current I = 10 A ﬂowing to the right is placed above a rectangular

loop of wire with width w = 6 cm and length L = 15 cm, as shown in the ﬁgure below. The distance from

the inﬁnite wire to the closest side of the rectangle is h = 2.3 cm. The loop of wire has resistance R = 0.36

Ohm.

(a) What is the magnitude (in Tesla) of the magnetic ﬁeld due to the inﬁnite wire at the point P in the

rectangular loop, a distance r=4.7 cm from the wire (see ﬁgure).”

Okay. Well, ﬁrst, we can completely ignore the rectangular loop for this ﬁrst question. All we need to

know is the current and the distance.

Using Ampere’s law, we can ﬁnd the B-ﬁeld at point P:

_

B

d = µ

0

I

B2πr = µ

0

I

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

≈ 0.0000425532 T

The B-ﬁeld is circular. It points into the screen at point P (and at all other points below the wire), and

out of the screen above the wire.

“(b) Calculate the magnitude of the magnetic ﬂux (in Tesla m

2

) through the rectangular loop due to the

magnetic ﬁeld created by the inﬁnite wire.”

Okay, we need to be careful here. The ﬁeld will be constant along the L dimension, as all points on such

a line is equidistant from the wire. However, the distance from the wire will matter greatly, of course. We

need to integrate the B-ﬁeld over the rectangle. Calling the ﬂux Φ, an inﬁnitetesimal amount of ﬂux dΦ

is given by dΦ = BL dr, where dr is an inﬁnitesimal distance in the direction of r. The total ﬂux is given

by the integral over the area,

Φ =

_

S

dΦ =

_

h+w

h

µ

0

I

2πr

L dr

We can move most things out of the integral, since the distance r is the only thing that isn’t constant:

Φ =

µ

0

IL

2π

_

h+w

h

1

r

dr =

µ

0

IL

2π

ln

_

h + w

h

_

255

Φ ≈ 3.85004 10

−7

T m

2

As a quick sanity check, what happens if we just multiply the B-ﬁeld at P by the area of the rectangular

loop (i.e. treat the B-ﬁeld as constant throughout the loop)? The result should be somewhere in the same

order of magnitude as the answer we just found. Doing that, we ﬁnd 3.83 10

−7

Tesla m

2

, which is quite

reassuring! It looks like our integral is correct.

“(c) Suppose the current in the inﬁnite wire starts increasing in time according to I = bt, with b = 60

Amps/sec. What is the magnitude (in Amps) of the induced current in the loop? Neglect any contribution

to the magnetic ﬂux through the loop due to the magnetic ﬁeld created by the induced current.”

The magnitude of the current will be given by

[I[ =

1

R

dΦ

B

dt

which is really just Ohm’s law, using Faraday’s law to ﬁnd the magnitude of the induced EMF (which

is equal to the rate of change of the magnetic ﬂux through the loop’s “surface”). The magnetic ﬁeld is

linearly proportional to the current in the wire, and the magnetic ﬂux through the loop is likewise linearly

proportional to the B-ﬁeld (and thus the current).

We’ve already found Φ (or Φ

B

; I chose the shorter name earlier, but they are the same here):

Φ

B

=

µ

0

IL

2π

ln

_

h + w

h

_

Which variables here will change with regards to time? Assuming the loop doesn’t move (h is constant),

only I can change. Therefore, when we take the time derivative, we ﬁnd

dΦ

B

dt

=

dI

dt

µ

0

L

2π

ln

_

h + w

h

_

We’ve given I = bt; b is constant, so the time derivative is

dI

dt

= b = 60 A/s. Therefore, the above

expression with

dI

dt

= b A/s is the magnitude of the induced EMF. We only need to divide that by the

resistance of the loop to ﬁnd the current:

I

ind

= b

µ

0

L

2πR

ln

_

h + w

h

_

I

ind

≈ 6.4167 10

−6

A

The direction of this current will be such that it opposes the increasing ﬂux from the wire’s B-ﬁeld. The

ﬂux from the wire’s B-ﬁeld increases into the page, so the our current must be induced to create ﬂux out

of the page, which means counterclockwise according to the right-hand rule.

14.4.2 Problem 2: Non-conducting inﬁnite sheet and inﬁnite parallel slab

“We have an inﬁnite, non-conducting sheet of negligible thickness carrying a uniform surface charge density

+σ = 2.0010

−6

C/m

2

and, next to it, an inﬁnite parallel slab of thickness D = 10 cm with uniform volume

charge density ρ = −1.60 10

−5

C/m

3

(see sketch). Note that the slab has a negative charge. All charges

are ﬁxed in place and cannot move.”

256

“Assuming the inﬁnite sheet is in the x-y plane, and ˆ z points as shown in the ﬁgure, calculate the compo-

nents of the electric ﬁeld at the locations listed below. Since we do not ask for the direction separately,

these components could be positive or negative.

Give all of your answers in Volts/m.

(a) a distance h = 3 cm above (i.e. in the +ˆ z direction) the positively charged sheet.”

Because the sheet is inﬁnite in both x and y, those components must be zero for all questions, by symmetry.

Only the z components won’t be cancelled out, so only those can be nonzero.

The ﬁrst step, after ﬁguring that part out, is to ﬁnd the E-ﬁeld due to the sheet, and due to the slab (and

also due to the slab, inside the slab).

We start with the sheet; I will do the “full” (but quick) derivation using Gauss’s law as practice.

We use a cylinder (“pillbox”) of height 2r, centered on the charged sheet, so that r of the cylinder is above

the sheet, and r below. The area of the cylinder’s end caps is A.

(Pretend that the slab isn’t there, since we are calculating the E-ﬁeld due to the sheet alone!)

Using the same symmetry argument as above, there can be no ﬂux through the rest of the cylinder; only

through the end caps. We have Gauss’s law:

_

E

dA =

Q

encl

0

The area in question is the entire surface area of the cylinder. However, as mentioned, there will be no

ﬂux through the side, so only the end cap area is relevant. Because the E-ﬁeld is constant over the area,

we get

E(2A) =

Q

encl

0

as the ﬂux through the two end caps. The charge enclosed is given by Q = σA, and σ is a given, so

E(2A) =

σA

0

2E =

σ

0

E =

σ

2

0

(±ˆ z) (due to the sheet alone)

The direction, since the sheet is positively charged, will be outwards. That is, upwards (+ˆ z) above the

sheet, and downwards (-ˆ z) below the sheet.

Next up, we calculate the E-ﬁeld due to and outside the slab.

Again, we ignore that the sheet is there, since we want to calculate the E-ﬁeld due to the slab alone.

257

We use a Gaussian “pillbox” again, again with end-cap area A (per cap). We again center the pillbox,

and make it 2r high, such that 2r > D (the thickness). That is, the cylinder is higher than the slab and

encloses the entire thickness of the slab, so to speak.

Using the same arguments as before, we will end up here again:

E(2A) =

Q

encl

0

The enclosed charge is now given by the volume V = AD, times the charge density (charge per unit

volume) ρ:

E(2A) =

ADρ

0

E =

Dρ

2

0

E =

Dρ

2

0

(±ˆ z) (due the slab alone, outside the slab)

As the thickness decreases to where it no longer matters, this starts to look like the equation we have for

the thin sheet, which we would expect.

Finally, we do the calculation for the E-ﬁeld inside the slab, due to the slab alone.

Once again we use the pillbox, but this time we choose it such that r is much smaller than D, so that

it is completely inside the slab. We center it in the slab; the E-ﬁeld should be exactly zero at the exact

center, then grow linearly until the edge (since the charge density is constant) and then stay the same

until r →∞, since the E-ﬁeld due to an inﬁnite plane/slab doesn’t decay with distance.

Using Gauss’s law, we arrive at this step again:

E(2A) =

Q

encl

0

The charge enclosed is now given only by the size (volume) of our pillbox, V = 2rA (2r being the height

of the pillbox):

E(2A) =

2rAρ

0

E =

rρ

0

(±ˆ z)

So to summarize:

E =

σ

2

0

(±ˆ z) (due to the sheet alone)

E =

Dρ

2

0

(±ˆ z) (due the slab alone, outside the slab)

E =

rρ

0

(±ˆ z) (due to the slab alone, inside the slab)

Let’s not forget that the slab is negatively charged!

Next, let’s gather together expressions for the E-ﬁelds above both, inside the slab, and below both.

Above both, the E-ﬁeld due to the sheet will point upwards (it is positively charged), and the E-ﬁeld due

to the slab point downwards (it is negatively charged).

The net E-ﬁeld above is the superposition of the both, that is, the diﬀerence between the two, in this case:

258

E = (

σ

2

0

ˆ z) + (

Dρ

2

0

(−ˆ z))

E = (

σ

2

0

ˆ z) −(

Dρ

2

0

ˆ z)

Does this make intuitive sense? If σ “wins”, the ﬁeld points upwards; if Dρ “wins”, it points downwards.

Sounds good to me, so let’s simplify it down:

E =

σ −Dρ

2

0

ˆ z (above the sheet and slab)

Next up, we calculate the E-ﬁeld below everything.

Below both, the sheet’s E-ﬁeld will point downward, and the slab’s upward.

E = (

σ

2

0

(−ˆ z)) + (

Dρ

2

0

ˆ z)

E = (

Dρ

2

0

ˆ z) −(

σ

2

0

ˆ z)

E =

Dρ −σ

2

0

ˆ z (below the sheet and slab)

Again, we check to make sure that it makes sense. If the sheet wins, the net ﬁeld is now negative (down-

wards), and it is positive (upwards) if the slab wins. This indeed makes sense, given their charge polarities.

We note also that this is the opposite/negative of the E-ﬁeld above both, which also makes sense.

Almost there... We need to ﬁnd the combined E-ﬁeld inside the slab, as well. Well, let’s see.

(This is really a bit of overengineering: we don’t need this equation to solve it, we can just calculate it for

a particular location, since the answer should be a number, not an expression.)

There should be no sharp transitions when moving “through” the slab. At the very top, the E-ﬁeld should

be the sum of that of the sheet and that outside (above) the slab. At the center, the slab’s E-ﬁeld is zeroed

out, and only the sheet’s should remain.

At the very bottom, we should have the same value as below both. And this with a linear transisition.

Let’s have a look at this equation:

E =

rρ

0

(±ˆ z) (due to the slab alone, inside the slab)

r will go from +0.5D to −0.5D as we move from top to bottom. We need to express this as d, a distance

below the sheet (above the slab), which can then go from 0 at the top, to D at the bottom (and 0.5D in

the middle).

r = 0.5D −d seems to ﬁt nicely. Thus, we have

E =

(0.5D −d)ρ

0

(±ˆ z) (due to the slab alone, inside the slab)

We can now also take care of the direction properly. Since the slab is negatively charged, the direction

will be downwards above the center, and upwards below the center.

E =

(0.5D −d)ρ

0

(−ˆ z) (due to the slab alone, inside the slab)

We can ﬁnally calculate the net E-ﬁeld inside the slab, by simply adding to this the E-ﬁeld due to the

sheet, which is downwards here (below the sheet):

E =

(0.5D −d)ρ

0

(−ˆ z) +

σ

2

0

(−ˆ z)

259

E = −

(0.5D −d)ρ

0

(ˆ z) −

σ

2

0

ˆ z (inside the slab, total)

Again, a sanity check: for d = 0, the E-ﬁeld due to the slab is downwards, at it should be, as is the E-ﬁeld

due to the sheet. For d = D, at the bottom of the two, the slab’s ﬁeld turns positive:

E =

Dρ

2

0

(ˆ z)

... which is the same equation that we found earlier. So we ﬁnally have the full set of equations:

E =

σ −Dρ

2

0

ˆ z (above the sheet and slab)

E = −

(0.5D −d)ρ

0

(ˆ z) −

σ

2

0

ˆ z (inside the slab)

E =

Dρ −σ

2

0

ˆ z (below the sheet and slab)

We can now plug in our values, and enter the answers as the z components, keeping all other components

zero. Keep the signs in mind!

“(a) a distance h = 3 cm above (i.e. in the +zˆ direction) the positively charged sheet.”

The distance doesn’t matter, but we plug in the values and ﬁnd

E

z

= 22588.2 V/m

σ > Dρ so this makes sense. Also, with σ = Dρ the answer is zero, which again makes sense.

“(b) inside the slab at a distance d = 1 cm below (i.e. in the −ˆ z direction) the positively charged sheet.

Note that d < D so that this is also a distance 9 cm above the bottom of the slab.”

We plug it in again, and ﬁnd

E

z

= −185223 V/m

Both E-ﬁelds should be downward at this location, so a strong downwards value makes sense.

“(c) a distance H = 22 cm below (i.e. in the −ˆ z direction) the charged sheet. Note that H > D so that

this is also a distance 12 cm below the bottom of the slab.”

Again, the distance doesn’t matter, but we plug the values in:

E

z

= −22588.2 V/m

The answer is the negative of the one we found above the sheet, as it should be.

14.4.3 Problem 3: RLC circuit

“A circuit is composed of a capacitor C = 2µF, two resistors both with resistance R = 67 Ohm, an inductor

L = 0.03 H, a switch S, and a battery V = 5 V. The internal resistance of the battery can be ignored.

260

Initially, the switch S is open as in the ﬁgure above and there is no charge on the capacitor C and no

current ﬂowing through the inductor L. At t = 0 we close the switch.

Deﬁne the current through the inductor to be positive if it ﬂows through the inductor and then through

the resistor and therefore down in the drawing. Similarly, deﬁne the current through the capacitor to be

positive if it ﬂows down in the drawing.

What is the current through the inductor (in Amps) at t = 0 (i.e. just after the switch is closed)?”

There are 6 questions, the above is the ﬁrst; they want the current through both inductor and capacitor,

at t = 0, two times in between, and at t →∞, for a total of 6 questions.

Now, the ones for t = 0 and t →∞ are easy, but the others might just be quite hard, instead.

However, I noticed that for the inductor, they ask for t =

L

R

, and for the capacitor, for t = RC.

If we can treat the two as separate circuits, this would be almost trivial. Because they are in parallel with

the battery, which decides the voltage/EMF across L + R as V , and the voltage across C + R as V , I

believe that we indeed can treat them as separate RC and RL circuits.

Let’s do the calculations as if they were separate. Since they are in parallel, the voltage across L + R

needs to be the same as the one across the C + R, which has a few possible implications. However, they

are also in parallel with the battery, which will always decide the voltage even if separate. With that in

mind, let’s do the simple calculations for series RL and series RC circuits:

First, for the RC part:

I(t) =

V

R

exp

_

−

t

RC

_

Plugging in the values, we ﬁnd

I(t = 0) =

5

67

≈ 0.074627 A

I(t = 1.34 10

−4

) = 0.0274537 A

I(t →∞) = 0 A

The values make sense. The second answer should be about the ﬁrst times 1/e (as it has decayed over

exactly one time constant), and it is.

261

For the RL part:

I(t) =

V

R

_

1 −exp

_

−

tL

R

__

I(t = 0) = 0 A

I(t = 4.48 10

−4

) = 0.0471878 A

I(t →∞) =

5

67

A

In this case, the second answer should be (1 −1/e) times the ﬁnal one, and it is.

If these were two separate circuits, I would be very conﬁdent in these answers. As is, however, I’m only

fairly conﬁdent in them.

However, considering that the 12th question on the exam, which is slightly similar, is ungraded in part

due to its diﬃculty (it was included as a “special challenge”), I would assume that this one is easier, and

so I submitted these answers, and they were marked as correct.

14.4.4 Problem 4: Plane electromagnetic wave

“The electric and magnetic ﬁelds of a plane electromagnetic wave are given by the formulas below, where

z and λ are both in meters and t is in seconds. This wave is traveling through a medium whose index of

refraction is 1.2.

E = 8.6ˆ x sin(

2π

λ

z + 5.91 10

16

t) V/m

B =

B

0

sin(

2π

λ

z + 5.91 10

16

t) Tesla

(a) In what direction does the wave propagate?”

The direction of propagation is given by the sign inside the sin function. In this case, it is −ˆ z due to the

+z inside the sin.

“(b) What is the magnitude and direction of

B

0

(assuming B

0

is positive)?”

E

0

= B

0

v, where v is the propagation velocity. We can ﬁnd v using the refractive index, as the deﬁnition

of n (here 1.2) is that

1.2 =

c

v

1.2v = c

v =

c

1.2

Therefore, since E

0

= 8.6 V/m, and since we divide by v we ﬂip the fraction upside down:

B

0

= 8.6

1.2

c

≈ 3.44 10

−8

T

The direction must be such that

ˆ

E

ˆ

B = ˆ v, that is, ˆ x

ˆ

B = −ˆ z.

Via the right-hand rule, that means that

ˆ

B = −ˆ y.

“(c) What is the wavelength of the wave (in meters)?”

262

One way of ﬁnding the wavelength is by using λf = v. This means that λ =

v

f

.

f is the frequency, which can be found from ω using f =

ω

2π

. All in all, we have

λ =

2πv

f

≈ 2.65786 10

−8

m

14.4.5 Problem 5: Loop in a magnetic ﬁeld

“A rigid rectangular wire loop (above) of width W = 36.1 cm and length = 99 cm falls out of a region

with a magnetic ﬁeld. The dashed line in the ﬁgure above is at z = 0 and z is positive downward as shown.

The magnetic ﬁeld is constant with magnitude [

**B[ = 0.940 T out of the page for z < 0 (above the z = 0
**

line) and zero for z > 0 (below the z = 0 line). The loop has mass M = 0.810 kg and total resistance

R = 1.4 Ω. You may ignore any self-magnetic ﬁeld generated by the loop itself.

At t = 0, the rigid wire loop is at rest, the current I in the loop is 0, and the bottom of the loop is at

z = 0. At later times t, the loop carries current I(t) and is moving with a speed V (t) =

d

dz

z(t) downward,

where z(t) is the distance to the bottom edge of the loop as shown on the ﬁgure. Use g = 9.81 m/s

2

for

the acceleration due to gravity. (Note that downward acceleration is in the +ˆ z direction).

In all of these questions, assume that z(t) < so that part of the loop is still in the region with magnetic

ﬁeld.

(a) What is the total magnetic ﬂux through the loop (in Tesla m

2

) when z(t) is 83 cm? Include only

the magnetic ﬂux associated with the external ﬁeld

B (i.e. ignore the ﬂux associated with the magnetic

self-ﬁeld generated by the current in the wire loop). Note that you do not need to calculate or know at

what time the loop is at this location.”

Okay, let’s see... We have the gravitational force pulling the loop downwards at all times.

In addition, there will be a magnetic force on the loop, due to the induced current.

The magnetic ﬂux through the loop will constantly decrease, since it starts out 100% inside the magnetic

ﬁeld, and ends up outside it.

The ﬁeld is out of the page, so the induced current will be counterclockwise to attempt to keep the ﬂux

through the loop constant.

Let’s then look at the magnetic force on the three sides of the loop that are still in the magnetic ﬁeld.

The magnetic force on a current-carrying wire is given by I

L

B, where L is the directional vector along

which the current I ﬂows, and

B the external B-ﬁeld.

For the top segment, the force is upwards. For the left side, it is to the left, and for the right side, to the

right. Those two cancel out by symmetry, so the magnetic force is

263

F

B

= IWB(−ˆ z) N (upwards)

There is then the downwards force by gravity. Since

F = ma and a = 9.81ˆ z m/s,

F

g

= 9.81 m/s

2

0.81 kg = 7.95ˆ z N

We know W and B, but need to calculate I in order to be able to ﬁnd a numeric value for the upwards force.

First, let’s calculate the (external) ﬂux through the surface of the loop, which will also answer the ﬁrst

question.

The magnetic ﬂux Φ

B

is given by the area inside the B-ﬁeld, times the B-ﬁeld strength:

Φ

B

= BW( −z(t))

For z(t) = 83 cm, this is

Φ

B

= (0.940 T)(36.1 cm)(99 cm−83 cm) = 0.0542944 T m

2

“(b) Using Faraday’s Law and Ohm’s Law, ﬁnd the magnitude (in Amps) of the induced current I(t) in

the bar at the time when V = 9.00 m/sec. Note that you do not need to calculate or know at what time

the loop has this speed.”

We need to calculate the time derivative of the ﬂux, which via Faraday’s Law gives us the induced EMF.

We then divide that by the loop resistance, which will give us the magnituded of the current.

Φ

B

= BW( −z(t))

Φ

B

= BW −BWz(t)

dΦ

B

dt

= −BWV (t)

The negative of this is the induced EMF. We’re asked for the magnitude, so we don’t really care about

minus signs, but still. We divide this by the loop resistance to ﬁnd the current:

I(t) =

BWV (t)

R

≈ 2.18147 A

... where the approximation is for V (t) = 9 m/s, as they asked for in part (b).

“(c) Which way does the current ﬂow around the loop, clockwise or counterclockwise?”

Counterclockwise; we answered that long ago.

“(d) What is the total magnetic force (in Newtons) on the rigid wire loop when V=9.00 m/sec? Again,

ignore any eﬀects due to the self magnetic ﬁeld.”

Now that we know the current, we can calculate this.

[

F

B

[ = IWB = (2.18147 A)(36.1/100 m)(0.940 T) = 0.74026 N

The direction is upwards, as stated earlier.

“(e) What is the magnitude of the terminal speed (in m/sec) of the loop (i.e. the speed at which the loop

will be moving when it no longer accelerates)?”

264

It stops accelerating when the net force is zero. That happens when the magnetic force upwards equals

the gravitational force downwards, in other words when

I(t)WB = 7.95

BWV (t)

R

WB = 7.95

B

2

W

2

V (t)

R

= 7.95

V (t) =

7.95R

B

2

W

2

Plugging in the values on the right-hand side, we ﬁnd that V (t) = 96.6552 m/s.

That looks far from a possible value, since the net acceleration must be at most 9.81 m/s

2

(due to gravity)!

That is, it must have been accelerating for about 10 seconds or so, at which point it would clearly have

fallen out of the B-ﬁeld long ago!

Still, I checked using dimensional analysis, and the result seems both sensibly calculated and in the correct

units, so I decided to use one of my three attempts, and I got green checkmarks for everything, including

the last part. Phew!

(I still believe the result to be impossible in practice, but there was a similar question on the previous

exam, where the E-ﬁeld in a capacitor was way higher than possible in air without breakdown, due to the

random values assigned to each student.)

14.4.6 Problem 6: Charged particles in a magnetic ﬁeld

“Two charged particles initially are traveling in the positive x direction, each with the same speed v, and

enter a non-zero magnetic ﬁeld at the origin O. The magnetic ﬁeld for x > 0 is constant, uniform and

points out of the page. In the magnetic ﬁeld, their trajectories both curve in the same direction, but

describe semi-circles with diﬀerent radii. The radius R

2

of the semi-circle traced out by particle 2 is bigger

than the radius R

1

of the semi-circle traced out by particle 1, and

R

2

R

1

= 4.25. Note that the drawing is

not to scale, so the ratio of radii may not be represented accurately. Assume that the particles are sent

through at diﬀerent times so that they do not interact with each other.

265

(a) Assume that the two particles have the same mass m, but have diﬀerent charges, q

1

and q

2

. What is

the ratio

q

2

q

1

?

**The two particles must be positively charged, or the magnetic force of qv
**

B would have sent them in

the other direction. That wasn’t asked for, however!

The radius of a charged particle’s trajectory in a constant magnetic ﬁeld is given by

R =

mv

qB

Since we know that

R

2

R

1

= 4.25, and m, v and B are all the same for both particles, we can substitute in

the values for R. We get a 4-level equation, which I write as two levels instead:

R

2

R

1

=

mv

q

2

B

/

mv

q

1

B

R

2

R

1

=

1

q

2

/

1

q

1

R

2

R

1

=

q

1

q

2

4.25 =

q

1

q

2

q

2

q

1

=

1

4.25

Thus, q

2

is smaller than q

1

. That makes sense, because if it were larger, it would trace out a smaller radius

than R

1

, due to the then larger magnetic force on it.

“(b) How much energy did the particle with charge q

2

gain traversing the region with magnetic ﬁeld?”

Well, that’s an easy one. None whatsoever - the magnetic force can’t change its energy, so the answer is

zero.

“(c) Assume that instead of diﬀerent charges as shown in the ﬁgure, the two particles have the same charge

q, but have diﬀerent mass m

1

and m

2

. What is the ratio

m

2

m

1

?”

R

2

R

1

=

m

2

v

qB

/

m

1

v

qB

R

2

R

1

=

m

2

m

1

m

2

m

1

= 4.25

14.4.7 Problem 7: Diﬀraction pattern

“Light from a coherent monochromatic laser of wavelength λ = 4.30 10

−5

m is incident on two slits, both

of width a, separated by a distance d. The slits are placed a distance L away from a screen where L ¸d

and L ¸ a. The diﬀraction/interference intensity is plotted on the ﬁgure below as a function of sin(θ)

(i.e. the X axis is sin(θ) where θ varies from −90

◦

to +90

◦

).

266

“Based on the plot of intensity versus sin(θ) in the ﬁgure above,

(a) what is a in m?”

Let’s see... This combined diﬀraction+interference pattern might be the weakest point of my knowledge

of the entire 8.02x material.

I recall that the interference pattern is the one with many small peaks, while the diﬀraction pattern is

the envelope. That is, the diﬀraction pattern (not really drawn as-is) has one large peak, from about

−0.5 < sin θ < 0.5, with one secondary peak on each side of that.

For single-slit diﬀraction, we have the ﬁrst minima at

sin θ =

λ

a

(destructive interference, single-slit diﬀraction)

267

The ﬁrst maximum is at the center, sin θ = θ = 0, and has a width of sin(∆θ) ≈

λ

a

, which is the ﬁrst

minima.

For double-slit interference, we have one maximum at the center, as always, and other maxima at

sin θ

n

=

nλ

d

(constructive interference, double-slit interference)

sin θ

n

=

(2n + 1)λ

2d

(destructive interference, double-slit interference)

So the diﬀraction causes the envelope, which has a width of ∆θ (from 0 to the ﬁrst minima) which looks

to be about sin θ = 0.43 or something like that. So we have

0.43 =

λ

a

a =

λ

0.43

=

4.30 10

−5

0.43

= 10

−4

m

... which is incorrect! (The value for d below was correct, however.)

I tried again with sin θ ≈ 0.5, and got it correct! That’s a bit disappointing in a way, though: my method

was correct, but the estimation was oﬀ. Since it’s not marked explicitly on the graph, I’m sure several

students will get this one wrong twice (there are two tries for this question) based on estimation errors alone.

As for the interference part of it all, we have the ﬁrst-order maximum at approximately sin θ = 0.12 (I

hope the grader allows for a wide margin of error!), so we have

0.12 =

λ

d

d =

λ

0.12

=

4.30 10

−5

0.12

= 3.5833 10

−4

m

I had another quick look in the book (since this is an open book exam; I only use it to check smaller stuﬀ,

though), to ﬁnd the horrible equation for the intensity plot. It is

I = I

0

cos

2

(πd sin θ/λ)

_

sin(πa sin θ/λ)

πa sin θ/λ)

_

2

I plotted I/I

0

using this function, to see whether the plot was anything like this, and it looked fairly

similar... However I had θ as the x axis, while the book had sin θ, so an exact comparison wasn’t possible.

I’m not sure how to plot with sin θ as the x axis in Mathematica, so I skipped that.

14.4.8 Problem 8: Capacitor washers

“A capacitor consists of two identical metal washers of inner radius a = 1.4 mm and outer radius b = 5.1

mm, separated by a distance d = 0.19 mm (note that b ¸d). The capacitor is initially uncharged at t = 0

and we then begin to charge it using wires outside the plates that are not shown in the ﬁgure. Suppose

at time t the charge on the lower washer is Q(t) = st with s = 19µC/sec and that this charge is spread

uniformly over the area of the bottom washer.

The top washer has an identical, but negative, charge −Q(t), also distributed uniformly. Throughout

this problem you may assume that the electric ﬁeld is non-zero only inside the capacitor over the range

a < r < b, where r is the cylindrical radial distance.

You may also assume that, in the regions where the electric ﬁeld is non-zero, it points exactly perpendicular

to the surface of the washers (i.e. upward as shown) and has the same magnitude at all locations (but the

magnitude varies with time).”

268

(There is a note that there was an error in this problem up until 14:10 GMT, and that people who tried

to solve it prior to that, but failed, now need to use the new random values shown. This didn’t apply to

me, as I started on this problem at 17:20 GMT.)

“(a) What is the magnitude (in Volts/m) of the electric ﬁeld for a < r < b at time t = 5µsec?”

Interesting! I wonder how accurate the solutions will be given all the strictly incorrect assumptions of a

constant/non-fringing E-ﬁeld, etc. Still, without those assumptions, I wouldn’t have a clue how to solve

this - probably with a computer EM simulator. I digress; let’s look at the problem.

Given that the E-ﬁeld is constant between the plates, and the plates have no mentioned thickness, it’s

clear that we are to use the result for the E-ﬁeld due to a changed inﬁnite plane here (that we derived

earlier), only that we use two of them, just as inside a “regular” circular or rectangular capacitor.

That is,

E =

σ

0

We need to ﬁnd σ, though. First, let’s ﬁnd it in terms of Q, after which we will ﬁnd it as a function of

time.

σ =

Q

A

, as usual. What is a? The area of a ring is given by the area of a circle with radius b, minus the

area of a circle with radius a (the hole in the middle):

A = πb

2

−πa

2

So therefore,

σ =

Q

πb

2

−πa

2

and

E =

Q

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

As soon as we ﬁnd Q(t) at t = 5µs, we can calculate the answer to (a).

Q(t) = st = 19

µC

sec

t

Q = 9.5 10

−11

C at t = 5µs. We plug that in, and ﬁnd

E ≈ 142007 V/m

That sounds high, but it turns out to be less than 30 volts, given the small separation between the two

washers.

269

Oh, that was the next question!

“(b) What is the magnitude (in Volts) of the electrostatic potential diﬀerence between the washers at the

same time t = 5µsec?”

V = Ed

V = (142007 V/m)(0.19 10

−3

m) ≈ 26.981 V

“(c) What is the capacitance (in Farads) of this arrangement of conductors?”

By deﬁnition,

C =

Q

V

As a symbolic answer,

C =

s t

d s t

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

=

s t

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

d s t

C =

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

d

Very nice. Another deﬁnition of capacitance is

C =

A

0

d

... which is exactly what we found above!

We plug in the numbers, and ﬁnd

C ≈ 3.52095 10

−12

F

Very tiny, as expected with almost no area, and no dielectric.

“(d) What is the magnitude of the magnetic ﬁeld (in Tesla) inside the capacitor at a radius r = 3.4 mm

and at time t = 5µs?”

Ah, that’s a fairly painful calculation for a mere sub-question!

I could look back in my notes to ﬁnd an equation for the B-ﬁeld, but I will re-derive it as I have done with

most things so far.

We’ll need to use the Ampere-Maxwell law:

_

B

d = µ

0

_

I

pen

+

0

dΦ

E

dt

_

We choose our Amperean loop to be a circle, concentric with the washers, of course. We center it exactly

between the plates (though that should not matter), and attach a ﬂat surface to it.

Zero “real” current will penetrate that surface, since it is mid-air. There will however be a displacement

current, that is, a change in electric ﬂux, as the capacitor is being charged.

The left-hand side of the equation should be easy, since we will assume the B-ﬁeld to be constant along

the circle. We simplify the equation to

B(2πr) = µ

0

0

dΦ

E

dt

270

B =

µ

0

0

2πr

dΦ

E

dt

Next up, we calculate the electric ﬂux Φ

E

. Let’s not forget that there is a big hole in the center of the

capacitor, unlike previous times we’ve done a similar calculation!

Φ

E

= EA =

st

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

A

What is A here, then? Again, let’s be careful. We have a ring; the outer radius is r, the radius of the

Amperean loop, which is smaller than b (the outer radius of the capacitor) and larger than a (the inner

radius).

The inner radius is a. Thus A = πr

2

−πa

2

, and

Φ

E

=

st

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

(πr

2

−πa

2

)

Φ

E

=

st

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

π(r

2

−a

2

)

Φ

E

=

st(r

2

−a

2

)

0

(b

2

−a

2

)

Next, we take the time derivative. The charge is Q = st, so the time derivative of that is I = s. s is given

to us in microcoulombs per second, which is the same as microamperes.

Alternatively, we can just take the derivative with respect to t of the above expression, and we get the

same result. That is,

dΦ

E

dt

=

s(r

2

−a

2

)

0

(b

2

−a

2

)

We can then calculate the B-ﬁeld, since this term was the only thing missing:

B =

µ

0

0

2πr

s(r

2

−a

2

)

0

(b

2

−a

2

)

B =

µ

0

s

2πr

r

2

−a

2

b

2

−a

2

B ≈ 4.46129 10

−10

(for r = 3.4 mm)

Time for a sanity check! If we use this method to calculate the B-ﬁeld for r = b, and also use

B =

µ

0

I

2πr

(B-ﬁeld for an inﬁnite wire)

... the results should be identical. We don’t even need to put numbers in there, because when you set

r = b, it simpliﬁes down to that instantly! Awesome.

“(e) What is the magnitude of the Poynting vector (in Watts/m

2

) at radius r = b and at time t = 5µs?”

The Poynting vector

S is given by

S =

E

B

µ

0

Making the substitutions (also, keep in mind that I = s),

S =

1

µ

0

_

Q

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

__

µ

0

I

2πr

_

271

S =

s

2

t

2

0

π

2

r(b

2

−a

2

)

But r = b (for this sub-question):

S =

s

2

t

2

0

π

2

b(b

2

−a

2

)

We can plug the numbers in to ﬁnd

[

S[ ≈ 84.2003 W/m

2

Another sanity check: we have calculated values for E (constant) and B (at a diﬀerent location), so if we

multiply those together and divide by µ

0

, we should ﬁnd something not way far oﬀ. Doing that, we get

142007 4.46 10

−10

4π10

−7

≈ 50.4 W/m

2

. A bit oﬀ, but the B-ﬁeld is greater further out, and so the Poynting

vector will be greater there as well.

As for the direction, radially inward makes a lot of sense: energy is entering the capacitor.

We can show that mathematically, however. The direction is given by the

E

B term, which turns out

to be z ϕ = −r.

“(e) What is the magnitude of the total energy per second (in Watts) ﬂowing into or out of the outer side

of the capacitor (i.e. at a radius r = b) at time t = 5µs?”

We need to ﬁnd the “surface area” (of an imaginary surface) of the capacitor’s outside. That is, the side

of a cylinder with radius b and height d.

A = 2πbd

We multiply that by the Poynting vector, and ﬁnd

dU

dt

=

s

2

d t

0

π(b

2

−a

2

)

W (J/s)

As a number, we ﬁnd

dU

dt

≈ 5.12646 10

−4

W (J/s)

14.4.9 Problem 9: Circuit

“Two identical parallel plate capacitors ﬁlled with air, with capacitances C

1

= 4µF and C

2

= 5µF, are

connected to a battery of voltage V = 10 V (see the circuit below). The capacitor plates are separated by

a distance d

1

= 5 mm for C

1

and d

2

= 7 mm for C

2

. Note that the two plate separations may be diﬀerent

although shown as the same size in the drawing.

(a) What is the electric ﬁeld (magnitude and direction) between the plates of each capacitor?”

272

So they are “identical”, but diﬀer in capacitance and plate separation? Hmm... Strange wording.

In fact, if we solve for the area, they diﬀer in area too! How the heck are they identical, exactly?!

Ah well, I will assume that this is simply an oversight, and that the word “identical” should really be

removed...

Well then. We know that

E

1

=

σ

1

0

E

2

=

σ

2

0

... but we do not know the charge density, nor do we know the charge.

We can also ﬁnd it as

E

1

=

V

d

1

E

2

=

V

d

2

V is the same for both capacitors, as they are connected in parallel. Since there is a battery connected,

which decides V , we can just plug the numbers in at this point.

E

1

= 2000 V/m

E

2

≈ 1428.57 V/m

Both E-ﬁelds are pointed downward, since the positive plate is on top.

“We ﬁll the entire air gap of C

1

, the capacitor on the left, with a dielectric having κ = 4.0 while keeping

the battery connected.

(b) What now is the electric ﬁeld (direction and magnitude) between the plates of each capacitor?”

We must not forget (or miss) that the battery is still connected! The potential diﬀerence will still be V

across each capacitor; that simply cannot change!

The E-ﬁeld inside is constant at all places inside, with or without a dielectric. Some equations that always

apply are

C =

Q

V

V =

Q

C

V = Ed

C =

0

A

d

κ

Because d is ﬁxed and V is ﬁxed, E must be ﬁxed at

E =

V

d

for both capacitors. That is

E

1

=

V

d

1

= 2000 V/m

273

E

2

=

V

d

2

≈ 1428.57 V/m

... exactly as before. This is because the battery is connected, which forces V to stay unchanged.

“(c) Suppose that we disconnect the battery before ﬁlling the entire air gap of C

1

, the capacitor on

the left, with a dielectric having κ = 4.0. When disconnecting the battery, we leave the two capacitors

connected to each other as shown. After the dielectric is put in (and the battery remains discon-

nected), what would the electric ﬁeld be between the plates of each capacitor (direction and magnitude)?”

What happens now is that V can change (but must still be the same for both capacitors), while Q on the ca-

pacitors can vary. The total change must still equal the total change that was there to begin with, however.

We know that

Q = CV

So

Q

1

= C

1

V = 4 10

−5

C

Q

2

= C

2

V = 5 10

−5

C

... before the dielectric is inserted! Thus, Q

initial

= 9 10

−5

C; this is the total charge on both capacitors,

which must be held constant once the battery is removed.

A new set of equations that must hold true now:

Q

1

+ Q

2

= Q

initial

C

1new

=

Q

1

V

= κC

1

C

2

=

Q

2

V

Because of the inserted dielectric, C

1new

= κC

1

, where C

1

is the old, original capacitance.

We can combine the above equations, and solve for V :

V (C

1new

+ C

2

) = Q

initial

V =

Q

initial

C

1new

+ C

2

We now have that in terms of variables we know. Finally, the electric ﬁeld is given by

E =

V

d

so that

E =

Q

initial

d(C

1new

+ C

2

)

E =

Q

initial

d(κC

1

+ C

2

)

Plugging in the numbers, keeping in mind that d varies between the capacitors:

E

1

=

6000

7

≈ 857.143 V/m

274

E

2

=

30000

49

≈ 612.245 V/m

The potential diﬀerence between the plates is V ≈ 4.286 V after equilibrium has been reached.

14.4.10 Problem 10: An LC circuit

“(a) In the LC circuit shown in the ﬁgure, the current is in the direction shown and the charges on the

capacitor have the signs shown. At this time,

a) the current is increasing and the charge on the positive plate is increasing.

b) the current is increasing and the charge on the positive plate is decreasing.

c) the current is decreasing and the charge on the positive plate is increasing.

d) the current is decreasing and the charge on the positive plate is decreasing.

e) the current and the charge on the positive plate are constant in time.

f) none of the above”

Well, since I’m taking the time this exam (since these are probably the last physics problems I’ll solve in a

few months) to re-derive everything, let’s try to derive, with some help from Mathematica, the equations

governing the LC circuit.

Starting at the upper node, we go left (along the current) and apply Faraday’s law. First, the left-hand

side:

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

Q

C

= −

dΦ

B

dt

Q

C

is positive, because we moved along the direction of the electric ﬁeld. The inductor doesn’t have an

electric ﬁeld (we treat it as ideal), and only contributes to the right-hand side. Given that, by deﬁnition

Φ

B

= LI

Q

C

= −

d(LI)

dt

L is a constant, so we move it out:

275

Q

C

= −L

dI

dt

We can write it all in terms of Q, by making the substitution I =

dQ

dt

:

Q

C

= −L

d

2

Q

dt

2

That’s about all we can do. We could rewrite it to have all terms on the left side, but since I’m not going

to solve this diﬀerential equation manually, it hardly matters.

I solved it using the boundary conditions Q(0) = Q

0

and Q

**(0) = 0, that is: initial charge Q
**

0

on the

capacitor, and zero current at t = 0. The current through a capacitor is maximum while it is being

charged, but zero when the charge (and voltage across it) is at the maximum.

The solution is

Q(t) = Q

0

cos

_

t

√

LC

_

Based on the deﬁnition C =

Q

V

, V =

Q

C

:

V

C

(t) =

Q

0

C

cos

_

t

√

LC

_

Finally, the current is given by the time derivative of the charge:

I(t) = −

Q

0

√

LC

sin

_

t

√

LC

_

Using

I

0

=

Q

0

√

LC

I(t) = −I

0

sin

_

t

√

LC

_

Let’s think about signs for a second. I recall getting this backwards previously, and I had a quick look in

the book (this is an open-book exam after all); indeed, they use I = −

dQ

dt

here. Let’s see if that makes

more sense.

In our equations, when Q

0

has just reached its maximum and starts decreasing, that means that, using

the signs in the ﬁgure above, the current is clockwise, which is indeed negative as shown. I’ll stick with

the convention I just found, as that seems less confusing than ignoring the arrows as drawn.

OK, so with these equations in mind, is the ﬁrst question now easier to answer?

What do we know from the picture? The current is ﬂowing “into” the positive plate (counterclockwise).

This must mean that the charge is increasing, since that would “deposit” positive charge on the top plate.

That leaves options (a), (c) and (f), none of the above.

Is the current increasing or decreasing? We’ve established that the charge must be increasing (on the

positive plate). If we plot the two (just plot y = cos(x) for the charge and y = −sin(x) for the current)

we see that when the charge is increasing (that is, is above y = 0 and has positive slope), in such a plot

between x = π and x =

3π

2

, the current is decreasing.

That also makes intuitive sense, if we know how these circuits work. As the charge is zero and starts

increasing, the current is at a maximum. The charge keeps increasing, and the current decreasing, until

the charge reaches a maximum.

276

Thus, the answer is (c).

“For the following questions, assume that the inductance is 0.05 H, the capacitance is 4 µF, and the max-

imum magnitude of the current in the circuit is 90 milliAmps.

(b) How many times per second will the magnitude of the current have this maximum value?”

Let’s see. First, they ask about the magnitude of the current, so this maximum happens more than once

per cycle!

I(t) ∝ sin

_

t

√

LC

_

The term multiplying the sine doesn’t charge the period in any way, so we can ignore it for now. All we

want to know is how often this function is either +1 or −1, which is when the current’s magnitude is at a

maximum.

This is twice per period, so we can calculate the frequency, and just double that.

The angular oscillation frequency is

ω

0

=

1

√

LC

We can convert this to a “regular” frequency in hertz using f =

ω

2π

:

f =

ω

2π

=

1

2π

√

LC

We wanted twice this value though, so the answer is

# maxima per second = 2f =

1

π

√

LC

≈ 711.763 Hz

“(c) The energy stored in the capacitor oscillates up and down as a function of time. What is the magni-

tude of the diﬀerence (in Joules) between the largest and smallest amounts of energy ever stored in the

capacitor?”

I don’t like how that is phrased... It oscillates between 0 and a maximum, so I assume the answer is the

same as the maximum energy stored, then?

In an LC circuit, all energy sloshes back and forth between the inductor and capacitor. This means that

we don’t have to calculate the capacitor’s energy, but we can instead calculate the inductor’s and use that

as the answer.

Doing so is easier, because they gave us I

0

= 90 mA.

U

max

=

1

2

LI

0

2

≈ 2.025 10

−4

J

Let’s verify that, though - this is the ﬁnal exam!

We can calculate the maximum stored energy in the capacitor using U =

1

2

Q

2

C

.

The maximum charge can be found by using the given value of I

0

.

I

0

=

Q

0

√

LC

Q

0

= I

0

√

LC ≈ 4.02492 10

−5

C

Therefore,

277

U

max

=

1

2

(4.02492 10

−5

)

2

4 10

−6

≈ 2.025 10

−4

J

Looks good!

“(d) What is the time averaged power (in Watts) ﬂowing into or out of the self inductor over 3 full cycles?

Deﬁne power into the inductor as positive.”

In one cycle, a certain amount of energy will both enter and leave, which nets 0 energy per cycle. Thus

the time-average power over any amount of full cycles is zero.

14.4.11 Problem 11: Dielectric sphere

“Consider a dielectric spherical shell with inner radius 1 cm and outer radius R = 15 cm. The spherical

shell is ﬁlled with dielectric with electric permittivity κ = 4.0 and there is a point charge q = 2.3 µC

exactly at its center, which we consider the origin of our reference frame.

Calculate the direction and the magnitude of the electric ﬁeld for the following points:

(a) What is the direction [and magnitude] of the electric ﬁeld at the point whose distance from the origin

is 11 cm?”

To clarify, there is a (very thick) “shell” (almost “sphere”, but there is a spherical void in the center) made

of a dielectric with the given value of κ, and a small spherical hole in the center, with a radius of only 1 cm.

First, using Coulomb’s law, the E-ﬁeld due to the point change, in a vacuum, is

E =

q

4π

0

r

2

ˆ r (in vacuum)

... where ˆ r is the unit vector pointing radially outwards from the charge. The above equation is only valid

inside a vacuum, however. At the point where they ask for the E-ﬁeld, we are inside the dielectric.

A dielectric lowers the E-ﬁeld below that of the vacuum ﬁeld, by a factor κ. That is, inside the dielectric:

E =

q

4πκ

0

r

2

ˆ r (in the dielectric)

Plugging in the numbers, we ﬁnd

E ≈ 427094 ˆ r V/m

“(b) What is the direction [and magnitude] of the electric ﬁeld at the point whose distance from the origin

is 15 cm?”

Again, plugging in the numbers, we ﬁnd E ≈ 229682 V/m... IF this is still inside the dielectric, otherwise

κ times that! Ugh.

I tried submitting that answer, and it came back wrong. I tried again with κ times the value (E ≈ 918728

V/m), and that was correct, so the intention was that 15 cm is exactly outside the dielectric, not inside

exactly on the edge.

“(c) What is the total net charge (in Coulombs) contained in the dielectric (i.e. not counting the point

charge) inside a radius r of 11 cm?”

This is the only question I missed on this exam, so this answer is written after looking at the staﬀ’s

answers.

My ﬁrst try was zero, because charge can’t ﬂow freely inside the dielectric, but that was incorrect.

278

I then realized that induction occurs to create a negatively charged layer on the inside surface, and a

positive charged layer on the outside of the dielectric, so my second try was the negative of the charge at

the center, which was also incorrect, and left me with a wrong answer. D’oh!

The correct answer is that the dielectric constant matters, such that

Q

induced

= Q

center

_

1 −

1

κ

_

Since the centered charge is positive, the induced charge will, as mentioned above, be negative. In other

words,

Q

induced

≈ −1.725 10

−6

C

“(d) What is the total net charge (in Coulombs) contained in the dielectric (i.e. not counting the point

charge) inside a radius r of 15 cm?”

This one is zero; the induced charge cancels out in the dielectric (charge can’t come from nowhere; induced

negative charge means induced positive charge elsewhere).

14.4.12 Problem 12: Parallel RLC

“SPECIAL CHALLENGE: Note that this problem is NOT worth any points! This problem is included as

a special challenge to allow students to test their detailed understanding on Faraday’s Law as applied to

circuits. You will be able to see whether your answers are correct but this problem is not worth any points.

Consider the following RLC circuit.

At t = 0 there is a charge Q

0

on the capacitor.

(a) Faraday’s Law for the loop on the left side in the ﬁgure above can be written as

a

1

Q + b

1

I

1

+ c

1

I

2

= d

1

dI

1

dt

+ e

1

dI

2

dt

with a

1

negative, and for the loop on the right side

a

2

Q + b

2

I

1

+ c

2

I

2

= d

2

dI

1

dt

+ e

2

dI

2

dt

with b

2

negative, where Q is the charge on the capacitor.

279

Express all the coeﬃcients above (a

1

, b

1

, c

1

, d

1

, e

1

, a

2

, b

2

, c

2

, d

2

, e

2

in terms of R, L, C and natural

constants.”

This looks scary, but many of the coeﬃcients will be zero, from the looks of it.

Still, scored question or not, having solved the rest of the exam (expect for 11c which I missed), I will of

course give this a try.

To get a

1

negative, we go in the clockwise direction, as the arrow suggests. We ﬁnd

−

Q

C

+ I

1

R −I

2

R = 0

That is,

a

1

= −

1

C

b

1

= R

c

1

= −R

d

1

= 0

e

1

= 0

For the right loop, we need to use Faraday’s law, since there is an inductor present. We also want to get

b

2

negative, so we again go clockwise for that to happen. Starting at the bottom:

−I

1

R + I

2

R = −

dΦ

B

dt

The last term, the change in magnetic ﬂux, is given by the deﬁnition of inductance, and the current I

2

through the inductor:

−I

1

R + I

2

R = −L

dI

2

dt

To get this result in term of the coeﬃcients, we need

a

2

= 0

b

2

= −R

c

2

= R

d

2

= 0

e

2

= −L

“(b) What is

dQ

dt

equal to? Your answer can include only one or both of I

1

and I

2

and numbers.”

The change in charge of the capacitor is equal to the current through it - whether it is positive or negative

is the only thing we really need to consider.

Say

dQ

dt

> 0, so that the charge is increasing. The way I would see this is that the current is counterclock-

wise, so that charge increases on the top plate, here marked as positive.

Therefore, the answer should be −I

1

(it is opposite of the marked current).

“(c) The charge on the capacitor obeys the following diﬀerential equation:

d

2

Q

dt

2

+ a

dQ

dt

+ bQ = 0

280

Express a and b in terms of, if necessary, R, L and C.”

Let’s try to apply KCL for the top node, summing the current leaving (going downwards). Because the

voltage across all elements must be the same (they are in parallel), I call the voltage across each element

V

C

(t), i.e. the voltage across the capacitor.

C

dV

C

(t)

dt

+

V

C

(t)

R

+

1

L

_

t

0

V

C

(t)dt = 0

(assuming I

L

(0) = 0, or the integral needs to be from −∞)

Because V

C

(t) =

Q(t)

C

, we can rewrite this:

C

d

dt

_

Q(t)

C

_

+

Q(t)

RC

+

1

L

_

t

0

Q(t)

C

dt = 0

Q

(t) +

Q(t)

RC

+

1

LC

_

t

0

Q(t)dt = 0

The units of each term works out to be amperes, so it looks like we’re still on the right track. However,

we don’t want that integral, so we take the time derivative of both sides of the equation.

Q

(t) +

Q

(t)

RC

+

Q(t)

LC

= 0

Awesome, we now have the equation in the form we need! We can rewrite the derivatives using Leibniz’

notation to make it even more obvious what a and b are:

d

2

Q

dt

2

+

1

RC

dQ

dt

+

1

LC

Q(t) = 0

So

a =

1

RC

b =

1

LC

“(d) Now consider an RLC circuit built connecting in series a resistor R

**, a capacitor C and an inductor
**

L; and a RLC circuit built connecting in parallel a resistor R, a capacitor C and an inductor L. Find the

expression of the resistance R

**in terms of R, C, L such that the charge on the capacitor obeys the same
**

equation derived in (c).”

Okay, so ﬁrst oﬀ, we need to derive the diﬀerential equation for the charge on a capacitor in a series RLC

circuit.

I drew one on paper, in a simple rectangle with nothing on the left side, the resistor on top, capacitor on

the right, and inductor on the bottom - not that it matters, but knowing makes it easier to follow along.

I apply Faraday’s law, starting at the very left, going clockwise:

_

E

d = −

dΦ

B

dt

I(t)R

+

Q(t)

C

+ 0 = −L

dI

dt

We can rewrite I(t) as Q

**(t), which also goes for the right-hand side:
**

R

dQ

dt

+

1

C

Q(t) = −L

d

2

Q(t)

dt

2

281

R

dQ

dt

+

1

C

Q(t) + L

d

2

Q(t)

dt

2

= 0

Divide by L throughout and “sort”, higher-order derivatives ﬁrst:

d

2

Q(t)

dt

2

+

R

L

dQ

dt

+

1

LC

Q(t) = 0

So the two equations are, for the parallel and series RLC circuits, respectively:

d

2

Q(t)

dt

2

+

1

RC

dQ

dt

+

1

LC

Q(t) = 0

d

2

Q(t)

dt

2

+

R

L

dQ

dt

+

1

LC

Q(t) = 0

What we need to do is choose R

**such that we get
**

1

RC

multiplying the ﬁrst derivative. Looks easy enough:

R

=

L

RC

... which concludes this problem, this exam, and this entire course!

I hope you enjoyed the course as much as I did, and thanks for reading!

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