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Physics 15b Assignment #8

By Monday April 4, read Chapter 6 of Purcell

Q&A questions to be answered on the Physics 15b website before 11pm on Monday, April

8QA-1. Which is the best answer for the magnitude of the magnetic field in Problem 6.4 in
(2 +  )I
(2 )I
(1 +  )I
E : None of the above.

8QA-2. Which is the best answer for Problem 6.16 in Purcell? Assume that the current density
in the conductor is uniform. As discussed in problem 6.21, this is a good approximation for most
ordinary conductors.
A: 30 gauss to the right
B: 30 gauss to the left
C: 45 gauss to the right
D: 45 gauss to the left
E: None of the above.

In addition, there are some survey questions and feedback questions.

Problems due at the beginning of class on Thursday, April 7 —

8-1. Problem 6.8 in Purcell is the following:

A wire carrying current I runs down the y axis to the origin, thence out to infinity
along the positive x axis. Show that the magnetic field in the quadrant x > 0, y > 0
of the xy plane is given by
I 1 1 x y
Bz = + + p 2 2+ p 2 2 (8-1.1)
c x y y x +y x x +y

Here is a solution. The Biot-Savart law gives

~ I Z 0 (0; dY; 0)  (x; y Y; 0) I Z 1 (dX; 0; 0)  (x X; y; 0)

B (x; y; 0) = + (8-1.2)
c 1 x2 + (y Y )2 3=2 c 0 
(x X )2 + y 2

IZ0 dY IZ1 dX
= (0; 0; x) + (0; 0; y ) (8-1.3)
c 1 x2 + (y Y )2 3=2 c 0 ( x X )2 + y 2

The integral we need is Z

da 1 a
= 2 2 2 1=2 (8-1.4)
(a2 +b )
2 3=2 b (a + b )
This gives
0 1

I Y y I X x
B~ (x; y; 0) = (0; 0; 1=x) 
1=2 + (0; 0; 1=y ) 
c x2 + ( y Y ) 2 c (x X ) +
2 y2
1 0
0 1 0 1 (8-1.5)
I y I x
= (0; 0; 1=x) B
@ 1=2 1C B
A + (0; 0; 1=y ) @1 
1=2 A (8-1.6)
c x2 + y 2 c x2 + y 2
which is the desired result. Notice that nothing in the calculation depends on what quadrant we are
in (I am not sure why Purcell added that restriction) so the result is valid in the whole z = 0 plane
except where it blows up at points on the wire.

a. Plot the result for Bz (a; a; 0) for a = 2 to a = 2. Give a qualitative explanation for the
difference between positive and negative a.

b. Find the magnetic field everywhere, that is for arbitrary (x; y; z ). Hint: This is really no
harder than the calculation shown above of the magnetic field in the plane (though you may have
to fill in a couple of steps that I skipped). See if you can understand how to modify the result above
to the full answer without doing a lot of new work.

c. Check your result in the following way. Call your result

B~ (x; y; z ) (8-1.7)

and simplify the function
B~ (x; y; z ) B~ ( x; y; z ) (8-1.8)
then explain why the result for this combination must be what you have found.

8-2. Do problem 6.14 in Purcell.

A coil is wound evenly on a torus of rectangular cross section. There are N turns
of wire in all. Only a few are shown in the figure. With so many turns, we shall
assume that the current on the surface of the torus flows exactly radially on the annular
end faces, and exactly longitudinally on the inner and outer cylindrical surfaces. First
convince yourself that on this assumption symmetry requires that the magnetic field
everywhere should point in the “circumferential” directions, that is, that all field lines
are circles about the axis of the torus. Second, prove that the field is zero at all points
outside the torus, including the interior of the central hole. Third, find the magnitude
of the field inside the torus, as a function of radius.

8-3. Do problem 6.32 in Purcell.

Consider two electrons in a cathode ray tube which are moving on parallel paths, side
by side, at the same speed v . The distance between them, a distance measured at right
angles to their velocity, is r. What is the force that acts on one of them, owing to
the presence of the other, as observed in the laboratory frame? If v were very small
compared to c, you could answer e2 =r2 and let it go at that. But v isn’t small, so you
have to be careful.
(a) The easiest way to get the answer is this: Go to a frame of reference moving
with the electrons. In that frame the two electrons are at rest, the distance between

them is still r (why?), and the force is just e2 =r2 . Now transform the force into the
laboratory frame, using the force transformation law, Eq. 14 of Chapter 5. (Be careful
about which is the primed system; is the force in the lab frame greater or lass than the
force in the electron frame?)
(b) It should be possible to get the same answer working entirely in the lab frame.
In the lab frame, at the instantaneous position of electron 1, there are both electric and
magnetic fields arising from electron 2 (See Fig. 6.26). Calculate the net force on
electron 1, which is moving through these fields with speed v , and show that you get
the same result as in (a). Make a diagram to show the directions of the fields and
(c) In the light of this, what can you say about the force between two side-by-side
moving electrons, in the limit v ! c?

8-4. Do problem 6.20 in Purcell.

Suppose we had a situation in which the component of the magnetic field parallel to
the plane of a sheet had the same magnitude on both sides, but changed direction by
90 in going through the sheet. What is going on here? Would there be a force on the
sheet? Should our formula for the force on a current sheet apply to cases like this?