chapter 02 - Chapter 2 COORDINATE SYSTEMS AND...

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Chapter 2 COORDINATE SYSTEMS AND TRANSFORMATION Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave. —HENRY P. BROUGHAM 2.1 INTRODUCTION In general, the physical quantities we shall be dealing with in EM are functions of space and time. In order to describe the spatial variations of the quantities, we must be able to define all points uniquely in space in a suitable manner. This requires using an appropriate coordinate system. A point or vector can be represented in any curvilinear coordinate system, which may be orthogonal or nonorthogonal. An orthogonal system is one in which the coordinates arc mutually perpendicular. Nonorthogonal systems are hard to work with and they are of little or no practical use. Examples of orthogonal coordinate systems include the Cartesian (or rectangular), the cir- cular cylindrical, the spherical, the elliptic cylindrical, the parabolic cylindrical, the conical, the prolate spheroidal, the oblate spheroidal, and the ellipsoidal. 1 A considerable amount of work and time may be saved by choosing a coordinate system that best fits a given problem. A hard problem in one coordi nate system may turn out to be easy in another system. In this text, we shall restrict ourselves to the three best-known coordinate systems: the Cartesian, the circular cylindrical, and the spherical. Although we have considered the Cartesian system in Chapter 1, we shall consider it in detail in this chapter. We should bear in mind that the concepts covered in Chapter 1 and demonstrated in Cartesian coordinates are equally applicable to other systems of coordinates. For example, the procedure for 'For an introductory treatment of these coordinate systems, see M. R. Spigel, Mathematical Hand- book of Formulas and Tables. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968, pp. 124-130. 28
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2.3 CIRCULAR CYLINDRICAL COORDINATES (R, F, Z) 29 finding dot or cross product of two vectors in a cylindrical system is the same as that used in the Cartesian system in Chapter 1. Sometimes, it is necessary to transform points and vectors from one coordinate system to another. The techniques for doing this will be presented and illustrated with examples. 2.2 CARTESIAN COORDINATES (X, Y, Z) As mentioned in Chapter 1, a point P can be represented as (x, y, z) as illustrated in Figure 1.1. The ranges of the coordinate variables x, y, and z are -00 < X < 00 -00<-y<o> (2.1) — 00 < I < A vector A in Cartesian (otherwise known as rectangular) coordinates can be written as (A x ,A y ,AJ or A A + A y a y + A z a z (2.2) where a x , a y , and a z are unit vectors along the x-, y-, and z-directions as shown in Figure 1.1. 2.3 CIRCULAR CYLINDRICAL COORDINATES (p, cj>, z) The circular cylindrical coordinate system is very convenient whenever we are dealing with problems having cylindrical symmetry.
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chapter 02 - Chapter 2 COORDINATE SYSTEMS AND...

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