Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Physics Video Tuesday - Electric Field Demos!

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