lab_28 - Mapping the Electric Potential and the Electric...

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Mapping the Electric Potential and the Electric Field. Introduction: The objective of this experiment is to study the potentials, equipotential curves and electric fields produced by various two dimensional electrostatic charge distributions. Note, however, that the conditions in this experiment are not truly electrostatic. Electrostatic charge configurations are difficult to setup and control. We will therefore simulate electrostatic charge distributions using a small current flowing through conducting paper and carefully shaped electrodes. The resulting potentials, equipotential curves and electric fields will be identical to the electrostatic case. Figure 1: Setup for the Mapping the Electric Potential and Electric Field experiment showing the Pasco® field mapping board, voltage meter, D.C. power supply, conducting paper (here shown with the "Parallel Plate" electrode configuration). Equipment: Pasco® field mapping board, digital voltage meter with point probes, D.C. power supply, several sheets of conducting paper with different electrode configurations, push pins. PC computer with Excel software package. Theory: Coulomb’s Law gives us the electric force between two point charges. We can invoke the principle of superposition when there are more than two point charges present. However, sometimes we are interested in the influence a particular distribution of charges, call them source
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charges, on other charges, call them test charges, which may be in their vicinity. There are times when it would be much more convenient to be able to describe this influence without having to describe the test charges explicitly. In these cases we talk about the force per unit charge produced at a point in space by the source charges. This is called the electric field of the source charges. In this experiment we wish to map out the electric fields for a number of source charge configurations. However, direct measurement of the electric field would be quite difficult. Instead we exploit the fact that the electric force is a conservative force, so we can define an electric potential energy. We actually use the electric potential energy per unit charge, or just called the electric potential which is more directly related the electric field, to help use map out the electric filed. Components of the electric field vector are given by the rate of change of the electric field in a
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This note was uploaded on 03/25/2011 for the course PHYS 1062 taught by Professor Hiyishi during the Spring '11 term at Temple College.

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lab_28 - Mapping the Electric Potential and the Electric...

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