The classical theory of electric and magnetic fields, both in the static and dynamic case. Also covers general questions about magnets, electric attraction/repulsion etc. Distinct from electrical-engineering.

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21
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1k views

Why do we need 12 atoms to store 1 bit of data?

Recent research at IBM has found a way to store 1 bit of data in 12 atoms. While that is a big accomplishment compared to what we have today, it does seem like a waste to a non-physics eye like me. ...
6
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4answers
6k views

Understanding the diagrams of electromagnetic waves

I'm having trouble understanding the diagrams of elctromagnetic waves. I have no problem with any concept in classical mechanics, and I think this can be answered without any relativity (which I ...
6
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4answers
830 views

What is the physical definition of causality?

Maxwell's equations give a physical relationship between the electric and magnetic fields $\vec E$, $\vec B$ at the same time, which some interpret as changes in one causes changes in the other etc. I ...
0
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1answer
2k views

What happens if I crush a neodymium magnet into powder?

There are a couple questions here. Will it retain its magnetism? Can I add the powder to the iron powder currently in my "magnetic" silly putty to make it truly magnetic? And finally, how best do I ...
2
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1answer
295 views

Complex Potentials, Potentials and Fields

Suppose an electric field $E=-\nabla \psi$ where $\psi=-Q\ln r$ where $Q$ is just some constant and I have found its harmonic conjugate to be $-Q\theta+c$ where $c$ is some constant. What does it say ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Why can't electromagnetic radiation from magnets be used for apparent perpetual motion?

If electromagnetic radiation represents a transfer of energy, then does a permanent magnet represent unlimited energy, and if so, why can't magnets be used for perpetual motion? Even if permanent ...
1
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2answers
1k views

How to calculate the force acting on a magnet placed in a magnetic field?

The force on a small element (of length dl) of a current carrying wire, place in a magnetic field B can be calculated using the following equation (which is simply an application of the Lorentz force ...
2
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1answer
9k views

What is the difference between a Rodin coil and a Rodin starship?

I've seen various designs for Rodin coil and a 'Rodin starship'? Are these just regular electromagnets? Or something different? How do they differ from regular electromagnets?
1
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2answers
302 views

Is there a readily available (or at least not theoretical) material that reflects only infrared light?

By way of context, please picture those little motion capture lights that are put over an actors body. I am interested in finding out if there is some kind of material that can do the same thing but ...
0
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2answers
1k views

How to calculate the electric field at a point in space

Let's say I have a uniformly-charged wire bent into a semi-circle around the origin. How can I find the electric field (magnitude and direction) I'm not even sure if I should use Coulomb's or Gauss' ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Where does the energy come from when a current heats a wire (resistor)?

I'm trying to figure out an example from a textbook (Demtröder -- Experimentalphysik 2, pg. 198) where the energy transport caused by a current is depicted: Assume you have a wire (with some ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Does a charging capacitor emit an electromagnetic wave?

Assume you charge a (parallel plate) capacitor. This establishes an electric field (the $\mathbf E$ vector points from one plate to the other) and a circular magnetic field (the $\mathbf B$ vector ...
-2
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1answer
8k views

Electric field due to nonconducting plastic sheets [closed]

Two very large, nonconducting plastic sheets, each 10.0 cm thick, carry uniform charge densities $\sigma_1, \sigma_2, \sigma_3$ and $\sigma_4$ on their surfaces (the four surfaces are in the ...
38
votes
8answers
3k views

Do Maxwell's Equations overdetermine the electric and magnetic fields?

Maxwell's equations specify two vector and two scalar (differential) equations. That implies 8 components in the equations. But between vector fields $\vec{E}=(E_x,E_y,E_z)$ and ...
1
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0answers
307 views

How to find the electric field at a point based on a uniformly charged surface

What is the general solution to finding the electric field at a point based on some (or multiple) charged surfaces. I know that we can perform a line/surface integral if a charge is close to a wire or ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Relation between wavenumber and propagation constant

What is the exact difference between wavenumber and propagation constant in an electromagnetic wave propagating in a medium such as a transmission line, cause i am a bit confused. Does it have to do ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Close electric field lines in wave guides

In a wave guide, graphics of propagation of Transversal Magnetic modes show closed field lines for the electric field. For example, for a rectangular guide: $E_x (x,y,z) = \frac {-j\beta m \pi}{a ...
2
votes
1answer
194 views

For someone who only studied electromagnetism, what is the modern way to explain electromagnetic fields?

After reading most of the electromagnetism chapters of Feynman's lectures on physics, I would like to understand in more detail, at least an idea, of what causes the electromagnetic fields. Not sure ...
3
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3answers
17k views

Using A.C or D.C to create an electromagnet

Does it matter if I use A.C or D.C as a source to create an electromagnet? Or Does it depend on the voltage of current? For example: I have a coil which has about 50 turns. If I use same amount of ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

How can there be a path to ground with thick shoes and a carpet?

I'm connecting a test light to one pin of an halogen lamp. When I touch the metallic part on the back of the test light, the light glows, as it is supposed to. However, I have thick shoes and I am ...
1
vote
1answer
165 views

Where does the photon's energy come from in X-ray bremsstrahlung?

In an X-ray tube, bremsstrahlung is generated by accelerating electrons toward a target metal. As a photon is emitted, something loses energy. I suppose that the target metal remains fixed and is ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Gauge invariance and Bohm-Aharonov effect

I am confused with the Bohm-Aharonov effect: though quantum mechanics is said to be gauge invariant, the presence of a solenoid imposes a gauge. I used to think that a phase shift did not change ...
2
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4answers
627 views

How is this classical “paradox” resolved in electromagnetism?

A magnet and a coil move relative to each other. In the frame of reference of the magnet, there is a magnetic field and consequently a force acting on the charges in the coil according to the Lorentz ...
1
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1answer
273 views

Do Maxwell’s Equations contain the Ideal Gas Law?

Maxwell’s Equations contain some other Laws as special cases. Does it possibly include the Ideal Gas Law as well? – the idea being that material substances can be modeled by appropriate subsets of the ...
3
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1answer
65 views

generation of arbitrary potentials

Suppose you have as many electrically charged particles as needed (even countably many) and consider the open unit ball centered at some point in space. For every continuous real valued function on ...
3
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2answers
630 views

Will Gauss's law still hold in case of deviation from inverse square law?

Assume a spherical metallic shell over which a charge $Q$ is distributed uniformly. Applying Gauss's law $\displaystyle\oint\textbf{E}\cdot d\textbf{a}=\frac{Q_{\text{enc.}}}{\epsilon_0}$ by ...
8
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2answers
149 views

Torsion and gauge invariant EM kinetic term

Everytime I hear about adding torsion to GR, something struggles me: how do you create a kinetic term for the electromagnetic field that is still gauge-invariant? One of the consequences of torsion is ...
1
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1answer
725 views

Would the north poles of two magnets repel each other if a weaker south pole was inserted between them?

My son asked me this question and I was stumped - my intuition says that is the south pole was strong enough the attraction between the north and south poles would outweigh the repulsion between the ...
1
vote
1answer
671 views

Magnetization of coin on a railway track

The rumor was you could make a magnet by leaving a piece of iron on a train track. The train going over it would magnetize it. Is it true?
4
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3answers
235 views

How does one determine whether an object will make an EM wave refract in a qualitative way?

for example, i have a vague notion that the actual answer is that the permittivity and permisivity are different in each different material, so all waves refract at every boundary, but we only call it ...
0
votes
1answer
208 views

Violation of conservation of energy and potential energy between objects

I would like to clarify my question. I have numbered them to be independent questions For any conservative fields, $\vec{F} = -\nabla U$. Which means the restoring force is opposite to the ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Physical meaning of the energy density of an electrostatic field

I understand the physical meaning of electrostatic energy of a system of charges (or a distribution with given density) as the energy stored in the system while working to carry the charges from ...
2
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2answers
221 views

Why, intuitively, must a solution in physics be unique?

When solving Laplace's equation or Poisson's equation say, we require that the solution must be unique, which can be shown. In general, what is the physics behind seeking a unique solution? Are ...
3
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4answers
8k views

Understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism

I keep on hearing that magnetism is just another form of electricity and vice versa. If that's the case why can't we use magnets as batteries, and why aren't my batteries magnetic?
2
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2answers
446 views

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux?

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux (e.g., in electromagnetism)? For example, when working with Gauss's law in electromagnetism, net flux through an arbitrary volume element ...
0
votes
3answers
237 views

What is the physical reason a $+5V$ equipotential coutour cannot intersect a $-5V$ equipotential coutour?

Now I've been told that equipotential contours with different values can never intersect. That is, if one level is 5V and one is -5V, they can't intersect. This make sense to me mathematically (one ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Is one way glass possible?

I am not talking about mirrors, just a plain window made of glass like material. Would it be possible to allow light pass only in one direction but not the other?
5
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2answers
506 views

Why do physicists believe protons and electrons are present in equal numbers?

I tended to consider that negative and positive charges are present in equal numbers in the universe to be a known, obvious fact. But is it so? How can we rule out the possibility that there is some ...
0
votes
1answer
385 views

Gauss's Law vs Newton's Law

This is thought experiment. I couldn't get a good answer because I keep getting negative mass. Gauss's Law say that eletric field is proportional to charge, how much charged is enclosed. Newton's ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

How to debunk 'The Electric Universe'?

My father is a generally intelligent person, however he has latched onto a theory which I believe to be completely incorrect. He doesn't believe in gravity, but rather subscribes to an 'Electrical ...
1
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2answers
264 views

Power Generation from Axial and Transverse Emf

We consider a flat rectangular plate moving horizontally in a vertical magnetic field,motion being in a direction perpendicular to the length of the plate. We have an emf=BLV between the tips,in the ...
5
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2answers
771 views

On Electromagnetic Self Energy

In the process of pair annihilation an electron and a positron annihilate each other to produce a pair of photons, conserving momentum and energy. As the oppositely charged particles approach each ...
1
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1answer
212 views

Quantum Locking and gravity

Can a device be constructed of a super conducting disk connected to a electromagnet that generates a field such that the disc locks "in" the field generated by the electromagnet such that the device ...
2
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0answers
176 views

Energy loss rate for periodic movement

How to prove that if a particle performs cyclical motion then its energy loss rate averaged over the period equals averaged radiation intensity? The energy loss rate is the quantity of energy that ...
10
votes
1answer
320 views

Effect of introducing magnetic charge on use of vector potential

It is well known that Maxwell equations can be made symmetric w.r.t. $E$ and $B$ by introducing non-zero magnetic charge density/flux. In this case we have $div B = \rho_m$, where $\rho_m$ is a ...
2
votes
3answers
264 views

Can the field generated by a magnet domain extend to infinity?

As a thought experiment let us assume that we have isolated a magnetic domain. This domain is of finite size and we know its dimensions. Assuming that we can measure an infinitesimal field, will there ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Can microwaves affect wifi - and can they harm us?

I listen to the radio via my iPad with wifi. When I switch the microwave oven on, the radio cuts out. When the microwave oven is finished, the radio comes back on. (This is 100% reproducible!) So - ...
4
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2answers
393 views

Is there a magnetic field that satisfies $\nabla \times B = 0$?

In electrostatics Maxwell's equations for the magnetic field are $\nabla \cdot B = 0$ and $\nabla \times B = \mu_0 J$ Now, take $B = xi-yj$, where $i$ and $j$ are the usual unit vectors, then one ...
2
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1answer
563 views

Counting the number of modes

The exercise is the following Show that the number $N(\lambda) \, \mathrm d \lambda$ of standing electromagnetic waves (modes) in a large cube of volume $V$ with wavelengts within the interval ...
2
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2answers
745 views

Do Positrons Bend The Same Direction As Electrons In A Magnetic Field?

Electrons obey the right hand rule when a magnetic field bends their path. According to the right-hand rule, will positrons bend in the same direction?