Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Fiels linesMagnetic Flux**Field lines**

Is the magnetic force instantaneous? And, are all field lines established simultaneously? Otherwise, for example, the field line marked 'L' will take longer time to propagate than the ones above it, so there will be a net outward flux in the time when L is out and not yet in into the surface.What happens to Gauss Law then?

Are all the field lines established simultaneously, like 'L',that stretches out so far, and the straight one? If not, then the force between the magnets must increase with time.

share|improve this question
3  
Changes in magnetic field (and hence magnetic field itself) travel with speed of light. Bar magnet picture could be confusing. Think of a wire. When you switch on current through it then it is clear that magnetic field will expand out in circles (rather than directed lines), and so Gauss's law would be fine. –  user10001 Jul 26 '12 at 17:19
    
The question is not clear. What's the imagined violation? The field lines are produced in many closed loops that grow and leave behind the static field at long times, so that Gauss's law is never violated. –  Ron Maimon Jul 27 '12 at 6:40
    
@Ron Maimon : I've actually imagined field lines as "snakes", each with a head and a tail. –  Swapnanil Saha Aug 7 '12 at 16:38
1  
@SwapnanilSaha: well, stop doing that. Imagine them as rings. Only E fields are snakes. –  Ron Maimon Aug 8 '12 at 16:40
    
@Ron Maimon : Also the G ones, right? –  Swapnanil Saha Aug 9 '12 at 12:58
show 1 more comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+25

The magnetic force propagates at the speed of light. If a magnetic dipole were suddenly created the magnetic field lines would be established simultaneously but not in their equilibrium positions. Instead the field lines would bend and oscillate in a similar manar as in an oscillating magnetic dipole. Since magnetic field lines are always loops, even when they are bent they will return so the magnetic flux through any closed surface will be zero as is required by Gauss's law for magnetism. Or in other words, even if the magnetic field lines are bent or slowed, they never start anywhere. There is no divergence of magnetic field lines since there are no magnetic monopoles. Gauss's law is alive and well.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.