Electric Fields and Potentials

By: Alexis Huddleston

Introduction:

            The purpose of this experiment was to gain an understanding of electric fields and their potentials by using volts and point strategies. The electric potential as stated in this activity is created by the distribution of charges, which is a scalar quantity, determined by the different locations of voltage charges. Furthermore, potential charges are decreased when the points measured are farthest away from the equipotential base. Therefore, V is the electric potential difference, while E is the electric field, and the d is the distance between the two points. The equation for this concept is V=Ed and V=kq/r, where the k is the electrostatic constant, the q is the charge, and the r is the distance between a point from the charge. These calculations allowed the students to gain an understanding of the kinetic relationship of the overall subject.

Conclusions and Discussion:

During the lab, I learned that the electric potential of an object depends upon the way the charges are distributed amongst it. I also learned that electric potential is a scalar quantity that is measured by the difference of location of one charge from another charge. I learned that voltage is the measurement of the difference of potential between two points and is given in the units of volts or (V). The further a point moves away from a given charge, the more the potential of the point decreases. Alternatively, the closer the point moves to a given charge, the more potential the point will have. Additionally, I learned that the electric potential of an object affects the electric field of an object in that electric potential difference is directly proportional to the electric field of an object multiplied by the distance between two points. Yet, the difference between the electric potential and the electric field of an object is that the electric field is a vector quantity while electric potential is a scalar quantity.

Additionally, I learned that when determining the electric field of an object, the electric field lines will either be dense or rare. When there are a lot of electric field lines on an object, the lines are considered to be dense; the electric field is strong, which yields a strong voltage on the object. When there are a few electric field lines on an object, the lines are considered to be rare and the electric field is weak; therefore, there is a weak voltage on the object. I learned that electric field lines must start at the positive charge on an object and end on the object’s negative charge. I also learned that the electric field of an object is strong when its electric field lines are packed closely together. Importantly, I learned that the field lines of an object can never cross.

While doing the experiment, I learned that when two points have a potential difference of zero, the points are equal potential points; I also learned that a group of equal potential points along a line is called an equipotential line. When performing the experiment, I was able to determine the location of equipotential lines and their equal potential points by using a multimeter. When probing sheets of paper on a cork board to determine the location of various equal potential points, I found that the equal potential points had roughly the same voltage and were all on the same line, the equipotential line. When drawing the electric field lines on the graphs of the equipotential lines I found, I learned that electric field lines are always perpendicular to the equipotential lines. I noticed that the parts of the electric fields are closer together when they are nearer to the positive or negative charge since there are more electric field lines when the electric potential of an object is strong.  Additionally, I learned that the potential difference between equipotential lines is not dependent upon the distance between them; the potential difference of each line is the equal.