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Hayley Geis

on 10 February 2016

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Transcript of Equipotentials

Data Analysis
Results Cont.
Background Information
Error Analysis:
Δx (distance) = 1 mm
ΔV (voltage) = 0.001 V

- ΔV/ Δx = 0.001/1mm

Procedure Cont.
Equipotential: an area in which every point in it is of equal potentials, specifically electric potentials

Electrode: a typically metal conductor that passes an electrical current from a power source through one medium to another

This lab gives students an opportunity to determine the equipotential contours of an electric field so that the geometric shape of that field can be understood for different types of charges. This lab demonstrates that determining the voltage between two different conductors depends on the shape of the conductors and distance between them.
Materials Needed: 4 graph papers, a glass pan, 2 point sources, 2 straight electrodes, 1 metallic movable probe, wire leads, 6 Voltage battery, and a multimeter.
Graph 1: Five equipotential contours for two probe points with electrical field lines.

Graph 2: Five equipotential contours for one probe point and one parallel plate with electrical field lines.

Graph 3: Five equipotential contours for two parallel plates with electrical field lines.

Graph 4: Voltage vs. Distance (cm) of ten points on the x-axis.


By: Hayley Geis
The equipotential lines differ in the patterns they make for different geometries. It is typical that points along the equipotential lines are equidistant to the nearest source of charge. For point charges, the equipotential lines form curves in partial circles around the point charge, whereas a line of charge causes the equipotential lines to form straight lines that run parallel to the line of charge. Equipotential lines match the geometry of the charges.
The water in the pan serves as a conductor for the electric current to flow from one electrode to the other. It is not very likely that air could be used in this experiment because if one were to place the probe in the air between the conductors, we would not read any potential because air is a very effective insulator and so electrons don’t flow through it.
It is important to note the ways in which electricity functions around us.

We made a comparison of the relationship between the equipotentials and the electrical field lines and their geometries.

Our measured equipotential lines were very close to the shape at least of predicted equipotential lines.

It is important to note that electric field lines never cross and they point in the direction going from a higher voltage to a lower voltage.

Error is evident in the experiment because some equipotential lines were not always equidistant from the source charge. This can be seen in the graphs where the curves do not form smooth contours or straight lines for the point charges and the line charges respectively.
Impurities in the water
The different electrodes and inconsistent placement of the electrodes c

Understanding of electric field and equipotential surfaces helps us to better understand the concept of materials conducting electricity. Gaining a better understanding of how charge and electric current moves through a conductor and works in the world around us, we can develop better methods for using electricity.

Nave, R. "Equipotential Lines." Hyper Physics. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

"Equipotential and Electric Field Mapping." MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. Michigan State University, 13 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
Equipotential lines are perpendicular to the electric field lines.

They are perpendicular to the contours of constant potential because it would cause the charges to move if it was parallel to the surface.

This means that all points along an equipotential line perpendicular to the electric field must have an equal potential.

Background Information
The electric field lines of a positive charge source point radially outward while the lines point radially inward for a negative charge and the magnitude of the field decreases as the radius increases. The perpendicular equipotential lines slightly change curvature based on if the charge source is a point charge or a plate charge.
The movable probe was placed in the center between the two point sources to measure the potential and then was moved vertically toward one or the other electrode until the meter displayed the uncertainty; the distance was the error in the position. After the error analysis a graph was made for the two straight electrodes by plotting the potential versus distance along the line that connects the midpoint of the electrodes.
Two metallic point sources were placed in the pan opposite of each other so that there was one centimeter gap between the edge of the pan and the point source.
The jumper connected from the battery to the electrodes
The shape of the probe was recorded on a piece of graph paper
The multi meter was connected to the negative battery terminal with a negative lead while the positive lead was connected to the movable probe
*The meter was set to read DC voltages*
The probe was then placed in the water to find places with the same potential
Five equipotential lines were found based on previous knowledge of how the electric field lines should appear
These steps were repeated again for a point charge and a plate electrode, and then two straight electrodes
An error analysis was performed to test the uncertainty in the measurement process.
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