Electric field from Finite line segment, Infinite line segment

Note : when the lines are red - the applet is calculating the electric field .. wait a second for it to finish.

Introduction : This applet illustrates the Electric field for a line segment of positive charge. We can increase the length of the line segment (basically, we are approximating the charged line segment by a series of discrete charges, close together .. the more charges, the longer the line). As we approach an infinite length, we will get the electric field pattern from an infinite charged wire.

Note : The simulation starts with just one charge - the smaller the finite line segment is (or the further away you are), the more it approaches the Electric field of a point charge.

Set the starting values :
      Length (decimeters) =    

We can also calculate the electric field at three places (P1, P2, P3).

Let's compare the electric fields above with the values we would have it was a single point charge, or if it was an infinite line charge. (Notice that initially, the tiny line segment approximates a point charge - but as it gets much longer, it starts to look like an infinite line charge.)

Calculate Electric fields if we assume Point Charge or Infinite Line Charge :
   Point charge :           P1=    P2=    P3=
   Infinite line charge :   P1=    P2=    P3=

Return to Physlets Main page

53 visitors.