Physics Video Tuesday April 19, 2016
Visualizing the Electric Field by James Lincoln
For as long as I have been a Physics Teacher, I have been interested in making the Electric Field visible to my students. This is IMPOSSIBLE because it is literally imaginary. Despite this challenge, I have researched and demonstrated the best ways to display it. What follows is a collection of videos I have created to demonstrate and describe the Electric Field.
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate it is with Potassium Permanganate crystals which dissolve slowly on a damp saline cloth.
ELECTRIC FIELD Visualized with Crystals
For AAPT Films, I created a two-part documentary on all of the best ways I know to demonstrate the electric field:
Ten Ways to SEE the Electric Field - Part 1
Ten Ways to SEE the Electric Field - Part 2
It is not enough that we simply show the effects of the electric field, but we must also know the rules of how it behaves. Here are two videos I made for UCLA Physics on the Rules of Drawing Electric Field Lines and Rules regarding the behavior of Conductors:
5 Rules of the Electric Field
5 Rules for Conductors
In my research, I did create an original contribution to these demonstrations that I think makes a classic work much better. In this video, I have some more of my lettuce seed demonstrations. I have written an article about making this yourself from a coat hanger and Styrofoam cups:
Lettuce Seed Demonstrations
This demonstration is typically performed using grass seeds:
Grass Seeds Electric Field Demos