Electric Field and Potential Applet -- 3D View
In this beautiful high-resolution applet, the student selects from a wide variety of charge distributions and displays the resulting electric field and electric potential surfaces. The potential can be represented in 3D topographical map form. The effect of the resulting electrical force on charged particles in the vicinity is animated. This applet is most appropriate for more advanced physics students. The electric field produced by a fixed, or static, charge distribution is an abstract concept, and students have a hard time visualizing it. Equi- or isopotential surfaces and how they are linked to the electric field are also difficult to visualize. Some students understand the concept better when the electric potential is represented as a third dimension, analogous to a 3D topographical map. This simulation also allows students to see the effect of electrostatic force on charged particles in the region of the static charge distribution.
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