assignment Homework

Current in a Wire
Static Fields 2022 (3 years) The current density in a cylindrical wire of radius \(R\) is given by \(\vec{J}(\vec{r})=\alpha s^3\cos^2\phi\,\hat{z}\). Find the total current in the wire.

assignment Homework

Total Current, Square Cross-Section

Integration Sequence

Static Fields 2022 (4 years)
  1. Current \(I\) flows down a wire with square cross-section. The length of the square side is \(L\). If the current is uniformly distributed over the entire area, find the current density .
  2. If the current is uniformly distributed over the outer surface only, find the current density .

assignment Homework

Current from a Spinning Cylinder
A solid cylinder with radius \(R\) and height \(H\) has its base on the \(x,y\)-plane and is symmetric around the \(z\)-axis. There is a fixed volume charge density on the cylinder \(\rho=\alpha z\). If the cylinder is spinning with period \(T\):
  1. Find the volume current density.
  2. Find the total current.

format_list_numbered Sequence

Ring Cycle Sequence
Students calculate electrostatic fields (\(V\), \(\vec{E}\)) and magnetostatic fields (\(\vec{A}\), \(\vec{B}\)) from charge and current sources with a common geometry. The sequence of activities is arranged so that the mathematical complexity of the formulas students encounter increases with each activity. Several auxiliary activities allow students to focus on the geometric/physical meaning of the distance formula, charge densities, and steady currents. A meta goal of the entire sequence is that students gain confidence in their ability to parse and manipulate complicated equations.

assignment Homework

Total Current, Circular Cross Section

Integration Sequence

Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

A current \(I\) flows down a cylindrical wire of radius \(R\).

  1. If it is uniformly distributed over the surface, give a formula for the surface current density \(\vec K\).
  2. If it is distributed in such a way that the volume current density, \(|\vec J|\), is inversely proportional to the distance from the axis, give a formula for \(\vec J\).

assignment Homework

Magnetic Field and Current
Static Fields 2022 (3 years) Consider the magnetic field \[ \vec{B}(s,\phi,z)= \begin{cases} 0&0\le s<a\\ \alpha \frac{1}{s}(s^4-a^4)\, \hat{\phi}&a<s<b\\ 0&s>b \end{cases} \]
  1. Use step and/or delta functions to write this magnetic field as a single expression valid everywhere in space.
  2. Find a formula for the current density that creates this magnetic field.
  3. Interpret your formula for the current density, i.e. explain briefly in words where the current is.

assignment Homework

The puddle
differentials Static Fields 2022 (3 years) The depth of a puddle in millimeters is given by \[h=\frac{1}{10} \bigl(1+\sin(\pi xy)\bigr)\] Your path through the puddle is given by \[x=3t \qquad y=4t\] and your current position is \(x=3\), \(y=4\), with \(x\) and \(y\) also in millimeters, and \(t\) in seconds.
  1. At your current position, how fast is the depth of water through which you are walking changing per unit time?
  2. At your current position, how fast is the depth of water through which you are walking changing per unit distance?
  3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT (optional)
    There is a walkway over the puddle at \(x=10\). At your current position, how fast is the depth of water through which you are walking changing per unit distance towards the walkway.

accessibility_new Kinesthetic

10 min.

Acting Out Current Density
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Steady current current density magnetic field idealization

Ring Cycle Sequence

Integration Sequence

Students, pretending they are point charges, move around the room so as to make an imaginary magnetic field meter register a constant magnetic field, introducing the concept of steady current. Students act out linear \(\vec{I}\), surface \(\vec{K}\), and volume \(\vec{J}\) current densities. The instructor demonstrates what it means to measure these quantities by counting how many students pass through a gate.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Magnetic Vector Potential Due to a Spinning Charged Ring
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

compare and contrast mathematica magnetic vector potential magnetic fields vector field symmetry

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Ring Cycle Sequence

Students work in groups of three 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.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Number of Paths

E&M Conservative Fields Surfaces

Student discuss how many paths can be found on a map of the vector fields \(\vec{F}\) for which the integral \(\int \vec{F}\cdot d\vec{r}\) is positive, negative, or zero. \(\vec{F}\) is conservative. They do a similar activity for the vector field \(\vec{G}\) which is not conservative.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Magnetic Field Due to a Spinning Ring of Charge
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

magnetic fields current Biot-Savart law vector field symmetry

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Ring Cycle Sequence

Students work in groups of three 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.

computer Mathematica Activity

30 min.

Using Technology to Visualize Potentials
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

electrostatic potential visualization

Begin by prompting the students to brainstorm different ways to represent a three dimensional scalar field on a 2-D surface (like their paper or a whiteboard). The students use a pre-made Sage code or a Mathematica worksheet to visualize the electrostatic potential of several distributions of charges. The computer algebra systems demonstrates several different ways of plotting the potential.

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

Ice Calorimetry Lab

heat entropy water ice

The students will set up a Styrofoam cup with heating element and a thermometer in it. They will measure the temperature as a function of time, and thus the energy transferred from the power supply, from which they compute changes in entropy.

assignment Homework

Directional Derivative
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

You are on a hike. The altitude nearby is described by the function \(f(x, y)= k x^{2}y\), where \(k=20 \mathrm{\frac{m}{km^3}}\) is a constant, \(x\) and \(y\) are east and north coordinates, respectively, with units of kilometers. You're standing at the spot \((3~\mathrm{km},2~\mathrm{km})\) and there is a cottage located at \((1~\mathrm{km}, 2~\mathrm{km})\). You drop your water bottle and the water spills out.

  1. Plot the function \(f(x, y)\) and also its level curves in your favorite plotting software. Include images of these graphs. Special note: If you use a computer program written by someone else, you must reference that appropriately.
  2. In which direction in space does the water flow?
  3. At the spot you're standing, what is the slope of the ground in the direction of the cottage?
  4. Does your result to part (c) make sense from the graph?

biotech Experiment

60 min.

Microwave oven Ice Calorimetry Lab
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

heat entropy water ice thermodynamics

In this remote-friendly activity, students use a microwave oven (and optionally a thermometer) to measure the latent heat of melting for water (and optionally the heat capacity). From these they compute changes in entropy. See also Ice Calorimetry Lab.

face Lecture

30 min.

Energy and heat and entropy
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

latent heat heat capacity internal energy entropy

This short lecture introduces the ideas required for Ice Calorimetry Lab or Microwave oven Ice Calorimetry Lab.

face Lecture

120 min.

Phase transformations
Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

phase transformation Clausius-Clapeyron mean field theory thermodynamics

These lecture notes from the ninth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover phase transformations, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, mean field theory and more. They include a number of small group activities.