Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle \[\vec{A}(\vec{r}) =\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\int\frac{\vec{J}(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert}\, d\tau^{\prime}\] to find an integral expression for the magnetic vector potential, \(\vec{A}(\vec{r})\), due to a spinning ring of charge.
In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for \(\vec{A}(\vec{r})\) either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.
1. << Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge | Power Series Sequence (E&M) | Magnetic Field Due to a Spinning Ring of Charge >>
2. << Acting Out Current Density | Ring Cycle Sequence | Magnetic Field Due to a Spinning Ring of Charge >>
The Magnetic Vector Potential Due to a Spinning Ring of Charge
- Use the superposition principle for the magnetic vector potential due to a continuous current distribution: \begin{align} \vec{A}(\vec{r})=\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi} \int \frac{\vec{J}'(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})}{\left| \vec{r}-\vec{r}'\right|}\, d\tau', \end{align} to find the magnetic vector potential everywhere in space due to a spinning charged ring with radius \(R\), total charge \(Q\), and period \(T\).
- Evaluate your expression for the special case that \(\vec{r}\) is on the \(z\)-axis.
- Evaluate your expression for the special case that \(\vec{r}\) is on the \(x\)-axis.
- Find a series expansion for the electrostatic potential at these special locations:
- Near the center of the ring, in the plane of the ring;
- Near the center of the ring, on the axis of the ring;
- Far from the ring on the axis of symmetry;
- Far from the ring, in the plane of the ring.
Students should be assigned to work in small groups given the following instructions using the visual of a hula hoop or other large ring:
Prompt: "This is a ring with radius \(R\) and total charge \(Q\) and spinning with period \(T\). Find a formula for the magnetic vector potential \(\vec{A}\) due to this ring that is valid everywhere in space".
This activity is part of a sequence (the Ring Cycle Sequence) of four electrostatics activities involving a ring of charge: \(V\), \(\vec{E}\), \(\vec{A}\), \(\vec{B}\). They are arranged so that the mathematical complexity of the problems increases in a natural way. If you are doing this activity as a standalone, please see the Student Conversations section of the previous activities (Electrostatic Potential Due to a Ring of Charge, Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge) for further advice.
Part I - Finding the potential everywhere in space
The new idea in the magnetic vector potential case is to find the linear current density (current) in the ring. Many students will have learned that current is “charge per time” or the derivative of charge with respect to time. Neither of these resources about current will be helpful to them here. They will need to know that current density is charge density times velocity: \begin{align} \vec{I}&=\lambda \vec{v}\\ &=\frac{Q}{2\pi R}\, \frac{2 \pi R}{T} \hat{\phi} \end{align} Be watchful. Many students will get the correct answer on dimensional grounds, but will not be able to justify their answer in a way that will extend to other problems.
Part II - Evaluate on the \(z\)-axis and on the \(x\)-axis
(See solution.)
Part III (Optional) - Series expansions
If you are doing this activity as a standalone, please see the Wrap-Up section of the previous activities (Electrostatic Potential Due to a Ring of Charge, Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge) for further advice.
group Small Group Activity
30 min.
magnetic fields current Biot-Savart law vector field symmetry
Students work in small groups to use the Biot-Savart law \[\vec{B}(\vec{r}) =\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\int\frac{\vec{J}(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})\times \left(\vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\right)}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert^3} \, d\tau^{\prime}\] to find an integral expression for the magnetic field, \(\vec{B}(\vec{r})\), due to a spinning ring of charge.
In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for \(\vec{B}(\vec{r})\) either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.
group Small Group Activity
30 min.
electrostatic potential charge linear charge density taylor series power series scalar field superposition symmetry distance formula
Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle \[V(\vec{r}) =\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\int\frac{\rho(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert} \, d\tau^{\prime}\] to find an integral expression for the electrostatic potential, \(V(\vec{r})\), everywhere in space, due to a ring of charge.
In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for \(V(\vec{r})\) either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.
group Small Group Activity
30 min.
coulomb's law electric field charge ring symmetry integral power series superposition
Students work in small groups to use Coulomb's Law \[\vec{E}(\vec{r}) =\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\int\frac{\rho(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})\left(\vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\right)}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert^3} \, d\tau^{\prime}\] to find an integral expression for the electric field, \(\vec{E}(\vec{r})\), everywhere in space, due to a ring of charge.
In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for \(\vec{E}(\vec{r})\) either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.
assignment Homework
For each case below, find the total charge.
assignment Homework
Determine the total mass of each of the slabs below.
keyboard Computational Activity
120 min.
group Small Group Activity
30 min.
central forces quantum mechanics eigenstates eigenvalues quantum measurements angular momentum hermitian operators probability superposition
Students calculate probabilities for a particle on a ring whose wavefunction is not easily separated into eigenstates by inspection. To find the energy, angular momentum, and position probabilities, students perform integrations with the wavefunction or decompose the wavefunction into a superposition of eigenfunctions.format_list_numbered Sequence
group Small Group Activity
30 min.
central forces quantum mechanics eigenstates eigenvalues angular momentum time dependence hermitian operators probability degeneracy quantum measurements
Students calculate probabilities for energy, angular momentum, and position as a function of time for an initial state that is a linear combination of energy/angular momentum eigenstates for a particle confined to a ring written in bra-ket notation. This activity helps students build an understanding of when they can expect a quantity to depend on time and to give them more practice moving between representations.