# Are the electric and magnetic fields conservative vector fields?

I have read that magnetic and electric fields have both a direction and a magnitude but I am somewhat confused as to whether they are conservative , the curl being zero.

Electrostatic fields are said to be conservative now is this the same concept at "electric field" ?

I have read says the concept of conservative does not apply to magnetic fields but there I am a bit confused if "does not apply" means "no the curl is 0" or it maybe means something else altogether. I did not see any specific questions on this under either "Similar Questions" nor "Questions that may already have your answer".

• Electrostatic fields are conservative. But a general electric field(in presence of a time-varying) field need not be conservative. Look at Maxwell's equations. – Abhikumbale Jan 14 '18 at 16:58
• – dmckee Jan 14 '18 at 17:20
• In one sense magnetic fields are trivially conservative: as magnetic force on a charge is always perpendicular to its velocity, no work is done by the magnetic force. So the integrated work done by the magnetic field on a charge as it moves from A to B is path independent: it's always zero. – Ben51 Jan 15 '18 at 1:17
• Sounds like the Lorentz force you are thinking of . ..nice insight....I need to think about it. ...slow learner It would be nice to have a summary of some kind of all forces that can be represented by vector fields and then decide if they are conservative or not. , including the fundamental forces – Sedumjoy Jan 16 '18 at 4:00