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Thread: An Explaination Needed: Charges, Fields, Potentials etc.

  1. #1 An Explaination Needed: Charges, Fields, Potentials etc. 
    Relative Newbie
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    So, after reviewing everything i had been taught in Physics in the general subject of Electricity, fields, charges etc., It was found that i was taught badly.
    The teacher seemed more interested in giving me a barely functional understanding of the concepts, rather than a proper understanding.
    I know it is a big ask, but could someone explain the basics to me?
    e.g. What a field actually is, Potential charges, etc.
    Also, i understand the conventional electricity model ( Positive to negative movement), but i have a hard time understanding when one must be conscious of its existence.
    Any Help would be gladly appreciated, I am mortified at my lack of understanding in this topic.


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    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    The teacher seemed more interested in giving me a barely functional understanding of the concepts, rather than a proper understanding.
    That would be because many introductory courses in physics are sadly lacking in time and resources; or perhaps you just did not have a good teacher.

    e.g. What a field actually is, Potential charges, etc.
    A field is an entity which assigns a value to each point in space. It is that simple.
    Examples : an electric field assigns a force to each point in space.
    A magnetic field assigns a magnetic flux density to each point in space.
    A gravitational field might assign a gravitational potential, or a geometric curvature, to each point in space.
    And so on. I think you get the idea.

    A potential can be thought of as a measure of energy, and the ultimate and underlying source from which other entities can be derived.
    Examples : electric potential gives rise to electric fields. Gravitational potential gives rise to gravitational forces, and so on. A potential is assigned to each point in space.
    It is important to realize that the choice of numerical value for potentials is arbitrary, meaning you can choose the "zero point" anywhere you like. All that can be physically measured is differences in potential, not the potential itself.

    Charges are simply the sources of electric fields.

    but i have a hard time understanding when one must be conscious of its existence.
    It is important in all those scenarios where the direction of the electric field ( i.e. the direction of the force ) is considered, as opposed to just its magnitude.


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