SCI214 – Integrated Science
Lab: Electric Fields (40 Points)
One way to deal with electric forces is to calculate explicitly the force in Newtons between pairs of particles using Coulomb’s Law. That works fine when there are just two particles, but what happens when there are three, or four, or a thousand? In that case, it often helps to consider an electric field: a vector quantity that has a magnitude of strength and direction at all points in space. The field describes the force that a particle with one Coulomb of charge would feel at that point. A cousin of the electric field is the electric potential: a scalar quantity which describes the amount of energy it would take to move a particle with one Coulomb of charge from an infinite distance to any particular location in space.
The purpose of this interactive is to give you a feeling for how electric charges create electric fields and electric potentials.
You can place unmovable (or Fixed) charges of varying strengths and movable (or Test) charges of specified strengths and observe the effect of the fixed on the test charges. Define the strength and location of the fixed charge(s) and then place the test charge(s) on the test grid and watch what happens.
Data Analysis (3 questions-4 points per question)
How would you interpret the above results in light of the following questions? Make sure to use the data to make your point.
Question 1: Based upon your data, what happens to potential and the electric field as you move the test charges closer to the fixed charge?
Question 2: Based upon your data, what kinds of changes do you see in the velocities, kinetic energies, potential energies and total energies of the test particles once you start the simulations?
Question 3: Is there relationship between the charge of the test particle and its velocity as it moves away from or toward the fixed charge?