Physics 201- Introduction to Electricity & Magnetism
November 8- Calculating Magnetic Fields






  Remember way back to when we first started to calculate electric fields due to static charges?  We used:

(We often wrote the constants in front as k.)

By summing up all of the chunks of charge we could find the total electric field at a specific point.  Doing it this way wasn't always easy, and we eventaully found Guass' Law useful for situations which had sufficient symmetry.

For magnetic fields, there is a similar expression:

This is the Biot-Savart law.  The contant in front is the permeability of free space 4p x 10-7 T m/A.  We can rewrite this with the Coulomb's contant, k.

We will use the Biot-Savart law to calculate the magnitude of the field at a location, and the right hand rule to find the direction.


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Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University
Fall 2002