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Plotting equipotential lines of electric field

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Title:                Plotting equipotential lines of electric


Date of Experiment:           2007/4/17  


Plot the equipotential lines patterns of electric fields set up by electrodes of different shapes.




The experimental results were get by setting up the apparatus as shown below first.

  • A paper was placed under the conducting plate.
  • Three electrodes were dipped into the conducting plate
  • One of the electrodes and a flying probe were connected to a galvanometer
  • A 3V battery box was connect to the other two terminals of the equipotential plotting kit.


Then, the flying probe was move on the plate slowly until at a point where the reading of the galvanometer was zero. The position of the point was marked.

...read more.



  1. Two parallel linesimage02.png



  1. The role of the conducting plate

The conducting plate has nearly zero resistance. When the plate is connected to the power supply by using electrodes, the plate then conducts electricity and has electric field. It provides a surface for us to test the potential difference within the plate by using flying probe. So the equipotential line could be found easily.

  1. Comparing the equipotential line patterns with the electric field patterns in Part A of Experiment C3

Experiment C3 is sprinkling semolina powder onto the non-conducting oil in an electric field. The powders then form lines, which are electric field lines.

The direction shown on an electric field line is the direction of the force acting on a free positive test charge. Therefore, electric field lines are directed from the positive charge to the negative charge.

In this experiment, the lines potted are equipotential lines for two oppositely electrode.

...read more.


  1. Poor set up

It is difficult to set up the apparatus as same as those in lab menu. For example, in set C, the two linear electrodes were not parallel. As a result, the lines drawn contain error.

The only way to solve the problem is setting up the apparatus more carefully.

  1. Human Error

The scales on the galvanometers were observed by the human naked eyes. The records were inaccurate. Using a hand lens when reading, Reading the scale when the pointer is directly on top of its image in the mirror behind was important to lower the error. Apart from these, the scale was read by several people repeatedly could help the accuracy too.



Through the experiment, The equipotential line patterns of electric fields set up by electrodes of (A) two point, (B) point and line, (C) Two parallel lines were found. And the equipotential lines are always perpendicular to electric field lines.

S.6 Physics TAS Experiment 12            Chan Man Lok 6C (16)              P.

...read more.

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