The method of images constitutes one of the most powerful methods to solve electrostatics problems involving electric charges in presence of conducting bodies, as for example that of a charge in front of a conducting sphere, either grounded or insulated. This method, besides its elegance and power, is didactically important as it constitutes a very good example of how “analogical considerations” may be employed to bring back a complex physical problem (a point charge in front of a conducting sphere) to another problem much easier to be solved (two simple point charges). Due to its importance, the method of images is presented in many physics textbooks, while it is almost absent in the educational multimedia world. In this connection we present here an interactive tutorial on the electrostatics method of images, visually illustrating its main features. In this tutorial the two cases of a point charge in front of an infinite conducting plane and a conducting sphere are treated, and for both conductors the situations in which they are either insulated or grounded are analyzed. In particular, the location and size of the image charge are interactively shown, together with the surface distribution of polarization charge.

A JAVA TUTORIAL ON THE ELECTROSTATIC METHOD OF IMAGES

Abstract

The method of images constitutes one of the most powerful methods to solve electrostatics problems involving electric charges in presence of conducting bodies, as for example that of a charge in front of a conducting sphere, either grounded or insulated. This method, besides its elegance and power, is didactically important as it constitutes a very good example of how “analogical considerations” may be employed to bring back a complex physical problem (a point charge in front of a conducting sphere) to another problem much easier to be solved (two simple point charges). Due to its importance, the method of images is presented in many physics textbooks, while it is almost absent in the educational multimedia world. In this connection we present here an interactive tutorial on the electrostatics method of images, visually illustrating its main features. In this tutorial the two cases of a point charge in front of an infinite conducting plane and a conducting sphere are treated, and for both conductors the situations in which they are either insulated or grounded are analyzed. In particular, the location and size of the image charge are interactively shown, together with the surface distribution of polarization charge.
Scheda breve Scheda completa Scheda completa (DC)
2010
978-84-613-5538-9
Physics education, multimedia, virtual laboratory, method of images, electrostatics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: `https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/186302`
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