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Electrolytic Tank Experiment (Mapping electric fields

This method has been widely used for decades. Equipotential boundaries are represented in the tank by
specially formed sheets of metal. For example, a single dielectric problem such as a three-core cable
may be represented using a flat tank different permittivities are represented by electrolytes of
different conductivities separated by special partitions. Otherwise, the tank base can be specially
shaped. The conductance of the entire model is a scale model of the capacitance of the system
being represented, care being taken to minimize the errors.
An electric field, E, exists anywhere a stationary test charge, qo, experiences an electric force, F. E and F
are vector quantities and the relationship between them is given by
E = F qo
qo is assumed to be positive and very small. E and F are always in the same direction. Electric field lines
are imaginary lines used to visualize electric fields. The lines always leave positive charges and enter
negative charges. They are closer together where the field is stronger and they never cross. The lines
indicated the direction of the force acting on a test charge placed at that point. If a positive test charge
is released in an electric field it will move away from the positive side of the field toward the negative
side. The field will do work on the charge as is moves from point A to point B according to

Since the electric force is a conservative force, there will also be a change in potential energy,
ΔU = -W
The change in potential energy per unit charge is a scalar quantity called the electric potential, V. Electric
potential is always measured between two points. In any field there exists a set of points between which
there is no potential difference. A set of such points will make up an equipotential surface. This surface
is always perpendicular to the electric field. In other words, when F and ds are perpendicular, θ equals
π/2 and cosθ equals zero. No work is done moving a charge along such a surface.
Electric potential, or voltage, is easily measured. This phenomenon can be used to map an electric field.
In this experiment, the analogy between static electric field and stationary current field is used.
Static electric field

Stationary current field

⃗ = 𝜀𝐸⃗ 𝐷 𝐽

= 𝜅𝐸⃗

⃗ 𝑑𝑠 𝑄
= ∮𝐷

⃗ 𝑑𝑠 𝐼
= ∮𝐷 𝐶

= 𝑄 𝑈 𝐺


1 𝐼

= 𝑅

electric field lines can be determined by using electric field lines and equipotential lines are orthogonal (always perpendicular).e. equipotential lines will remain the same. therefore current density. current density and electric field lines overlap. Thus. D (in static electric field) will be in the same direction. Experimental setup To voltage source Model electrodes Electrolitic liquid (?) Principle: static electric field has an analogy with current field. E and electric flux density. by electrolytic tank method. For that reason. equipotential lines are determined after that current density lines i. Current lines Flux lines analogy Model electrodes R1 ~ U A A A R2 Ammeter Probe . This means. in an electrode system. J (in stationary current field). and electric field.If the environment between electrodes is isotropic. if a conducting material is placed instead of dielectric between electrodes. self-conductivity and dielectric coefficient are constant.

no light. 5. How is a multilayered electrode system represented by using this method? briefly explain. the system is balanced (no current. Why AC is preferred to DC in this method of plotting equipotential curves? 4. 2. Place scaled model of electrode system to be analyzed in electrolytic tank. .Bridge measurement R3 𝐼= R1 A VA R2 rA 𝑉𝐴 − 𝑉𝐵 𝑟𝐴 Current through ampermeter VB In case of balance: R4 𝑉𝐴 = 𝑉𝐴 → 𝐼 = 0 U 𝐼= R1 𝑈 𝑅1 + 𝑅2 A R2 𝑈2 = 𝐼𝑅2 = 𝑅2 𝑈 = 𝑈𝐴 𝑅1 + 𝑅2 Experiment 1. 5. 2. Record at least 10 points for each potential value on to your graph paper. Set the potential of the probe by changing resistors from 10% U to 90% U by 10% steps while keeping total resistance 100 kΩ. 3. 6. When you have the same voltage at the point A and the probe. That is a point on the equipotential line. Determine maximum electric field strength and total capacitance of your electrode system experimentally (refer to next page for equations) and theoretically. no sound. What other liquids could be used instead of tap water? Give examples. Put electrolytic liquid (tap water is conductive because of chlorine) in the tank. Draw equipotential lines and electric field lines for your electrode system. Draw the electrodes on a graph paper. Questions 1. … ). 3. 4.

Electric field and equipotential lines with two different electrodes configuration Equations related to experiment 𝐸𝑚𝑎𝑥 = 𝐶=       𝑄 𝑈 ∆∅ 𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑛 =𝜀×𝑑× ∆∅ = 𝑈 𝑚+1 𝑛 𝑏 × 𝑚+1 𝑎 d: the thickness of the electrode [d = 1 cm] m: number of equipotential lines n: number of electric field lines b: width of one cell a: height of one cell [create square cells when drawing the mesh b/a = 1] insulation between electrodes is air .