Beyond the Point Charge: Equipotential Surfaces and Electric Fields of Various Charge Configurations
A laboratory experiment often performed in an introductory electricity and magnetism course involves the mapping of equipotential lines on a conductive sheet between two objects at different potentials. In this article, we describe how we have expanded this experiment so that it can be used to illustrate the electrostatic properties of conductors. Different configurations of electrodes can be used to show that the electric field is zero inside a conductor as well as within a cavity, the electric field is perpendicular to conducting surfaces, and the charge distribution on conducting surfaces can vary.
Permission has been granted by The Physics Teacher to supply this article [http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4974113] for educational and research purposes. More info can be found at http://aapt.scitation.org/journal/pte. © 2017 American Association of Physics Teachers.
J.A. Phillips, J. Sanny, D. Berube, and A. Hoemke, The Physics Teacher 55, 71 (2017); doi: 10.1119/1.4974113