accessibility_new Kinesthetic

10 min.

Acting Out the Gradient
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

gradient vector fields electrostatics

Students are shown a topographic map of an oval hill and imagine that the classroom is on the hill. They are asked to point in the direction of the gradient vector appropriate to the point on the hill where they are "standing".

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Navigating a Hill
Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

assignment Homework

Gradient Practice
Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

Find the gradient of each of the following functions:

  1. \begin{equation} f(x,y,z)=e^{(x+y)}+x^2 y^3 \ln \frac{x}{z} \end{equation}
  2. \begin{equation} \sigma(\theta,\phi)=\cos\theta \sin^2\phi \end{equation}
  3. \begin{equation} \rho(s,\phi,z)=(s+3z)^2\cos\phi \end{equation}

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.

assignment Homework

Contours
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Shown below is a contour plot of a scalar field, \(\mu(x,y)\). Assume that \(x\) and \(y\) are measured in meters and that \(\mu\) is measured in kilograms. Four points are indicated on the plot.

  1. Determine \(\frac{\partial\mu}{\partial x}\) and \(\frac{\partial\mu}{\partial y}\) at each of the four points.
  2. On a printout of the figure, draw a qualitatively accurate vector at each point corresponding to the gradient of \(\mu(x,y)\) using your answers to part a above. How did you choose a scale for your vectors? Describe how the direction of the gradient vector is related to the contours on the plot and what property of the contour map is related to the magnitude of the gradient vector.
  3. Evaluate the gradient of \(h(x,y)=(x+1)^2\left(\frac{x}{2}-\frac{y}{3}\right)^3\) at the point \((x,y)=(3,-2)\).

assignment Homework

The Gradient for a Point Charge
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

The electrostatic potential due to a point charge at the origin is given by: \begin{equation} V=\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \frac{q}{r} \end{equation}

  1. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in rectangular coordinates.
  2. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in spherical coordinates.
  3. Find the electric field due to a point charge at the origin as a gradient in cylindrical coordinates.

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?

assignment Homework

Electric Field of a Finite Line

Consider the finite line with a uniform charge density from class.

  1. Write an integral expression for the electric field at any point in space due to the finite line. In addition to your usual physics sense-making, you must include a clearly labeled figure and discuss what happens to the direction of the unit vectors as you integrate.Consider the finite line with a uniform charge density from class.
  2. Perform the integral to find the \(z\)-component of the electric field. In addition to your usual physics sense-making, you must compare your result to the gradient of the electric potential we found in class. (If you want to challenge yourself, do the \(s\)-component as well!)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Work By An Electric Field (Contour Map)

E&M Path integrals

Students will estimate the work done by a given electric field. They will connect the work done to the height of a plastic surface graph of the electric potential.

assignment Homework

Line Sources Using the Gradient
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)
  1. Find the electric field around an infinite, uniformly charged, straight wire, starting from the following expression for the electrostatic potential: \begin{equation} V(\vec r)=\frac{2\lambda}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\, \ln\left( \frac{ s_0}{s} \right) \end{equation}

assignment Homework

Power from the Ocean
heat engine efficiency Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

It has been proposed to use the thermal gradient of the ocean to drive a heat engine. Suppose that at a certain location the water temperature is \(22^\circ\)C at the ocean surface and \(4^{o}\)C at the ocean floor.

  1. What is the maximum possible efficiency of an engine operating between these two temperatures?

  2. If the engine is to produce 1 GW of electrical power, what minimum volume of water must be processed every second? Note that the specific heat capacity of water \(c_p = 4.2\) Jg\(^{-1}\)K\(^{-1}\) and the density of water is 1 g cm\(^{-3}\), and both are roughly constant over this temperature range.

assignment Homework

Nucleus in a Magnetic Field
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

Nuclei of a particular isotope species contained in a crystal have spin \(I=1\), and thus, \(m = \{+1,0,-1\}\). The interaction between the nuclear quadrupole moment and the gradient of the crystalline electric field produces a situation where the nucleus has the same energy, \(E=\varepsilon\), in the state \(m=+1\) and the state \(m=-1\), compared with an energy \(E=0\) in the state \(m=0\), i.e. each nucleus can be in one of 3 states, two of which have energy \(E=\varepsilon\) and one has energy \(E=0\).

  1. Find the Helmholtz free energy \(F = U-TS\) for a crystal containing \(N\) nuclei which do not interact with each other.

  2. Find an expression for the entropy as a function of temperature for this system. (Hint: use results of part a.)

  3. Indicate what your results predict for the entropy at the extremes of very high temperature and very low temperature.

assignment Homework

Linear Quadrupole (w/ series)

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Consider a collection of three charges arranged in a line along the \(z\)-axis: charges \(+Q\) at \(z=\pm D\) and charge \(-2Q\) at \(z=0\).

  1. Find the electrostatic potential at a point \(\vec{r}\) in the \(xy\)-plane at a distance \(s\) from the center of the quadrupole. The formula for the electrostatic potential \(V\) at a point \(\vec{r}\) due to a charge \(Q\) at the point \(\vec{r'}\) is given by: \[ V(\vec{r})=\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \frac{Q}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r'}\vert} \] Electrostatic potentials satisfy the superposition principle.
  2. Assume \(s\gg D\). Find the first two non-zero terms of a power series expansion to the electrostatic potential you found in the first part of this problem.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge
Static Fields 2022 (6 years)

coulomb's law electric field charge ring symmetry integral power series superposition

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Ring Cycle Sequence

Students work in groups of three 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.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Charged Sphere

E&M Introductory Physics Electric Potential Electric Field

Students use a plastic surface representing the potential due to a charged sphere to explore the electrostatic potential, equipotential lines, and the relationship between potential and electric field.