Biot–Savart law

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In physics, specifically electromagnetism, the Biot–Savart law ( /ˈbsəˈvɑːr/ or /ˈbjsəˈvɑːr/ ) [1] is an equation describing the magnetic field generated by a constant electric current. It relates the magnetic field to the magnitude, direction, length, and proximity of the electric current. The Biot–Savart law is fundamental to magnetostatics, playing a role similar to that of Coulomb's law in electrostatics. When magnetostatics does not apply, the Biot–Savart law should be replaced by Jefimenko's equations. The law is valid in the magnetostatic approximation, and is consistent with both Ampère's circuital law and Gauss's law for magnetism. [2] It is named after Jean-Baptiste Biot and Félix Savart, who discovered this relationship in 1820.

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Electromagnetism branch of science concerned with the phenomena of electricity and magnetism

Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force usually exhibits electromagnetic fields such as electric fields, magnetic fields, and light, and is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three fundamental interactions are the strong interaction, the weak interaction, and gravitation. At high energy the weak force and electromagnetic force are unified as a single electroweak force.

Magnetic field spatial distribution of vectors allowing the calculation of the magnetic force on a test particle

A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence of electrical currents and magnetized materials. In everyday life, the effects of magnetic fields are often seen in permanent magnets, which pull on magnetic materials and attract or repel other magnets. Magnetic fields surround and are created by magnetized material and by moving electric charges such as those used in electromagnets. Magnetic fields exert forces on nearby moving electrical charges and torques on nearby magnets. In addition, a magnetic field that varies with location exerts a force on magnetic materials. Both the strength and direction of a magnetic field varies with location. As such, it is an example of a vector field.

Contents

Equation

Electric currents (along a closed curve/wire)

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, and the value of
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{\displaystyle |\mathbf {r'} |} Magnetic field element (Biot-Savart Law) PRIME.svg
Shown are the directions of , , and the value of

The Biot–Savart law is used for computing the resultant magnetic field B at position r in 3D-space generated by a steady current I (for example due to a wire). A steady (or stationary) current is a continual flow of charges which does not change with time and the charge neither accumulates nor depletes at any point. The law is a physical example of a line integral, being evaluated over the path C in which the electric currents flow (e.g. the wire). The equation in SI units is [3]

Electric current flow of electric charge

An electric current is a flow of electric charge. In electric circuits this charge is often carried by electrons moving through a wire. It can also be carried by ions in an electrolyte, or by both ions and electrons such as in an ionized gas (plasma).

Electric charge physical property that quantifies an objects interaction with electric fields

Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. There are two types of electric charges; positive and negative. Like charges repel and unlike attract. An object with an absence of net charge is referred to as neutral. Early knowledge of how charged substances interact is now called classical electrodynamics, and is still accurate for problems that do not require consideration of quantum effects.

In mathematics, a line integral is an integral where the function to be integrated is evaluated along a curve. The terms path integral, curve integral, and curvilinear integral are also used; contour integral as well, although that is typically reserved for line integrals in the complex plane.

where is a vector along the path whose magnitude is the length of the differential element of the wire in the direction of conventional current . is the full displacement vector from the wire element () to the point at which the field is being computed (), and μ0 is the magnetic constant. Alternatively:

Infinitesimal extremely small quantity in calculus; thing so small that there is no way to measure them

In mathematics, infinitesimals are things so small that there is no way to measure them. The insight with exploiting infinitesimals was that entities could still retain certain specific properties, such as angle or slope, even though these entities were quantitatively small. The word infinitesimal comes from a 17th-century Modern Latin coinage infinitesimus, which originally referred to the "infinite-th" item in a sequence. Infinitesimals are a basic ingredient in the procedures of infinitesimal calculus as developed by Leibniz, including the law of continuity and the transcendental law of homogeneity. In common speech, an infinitesimal object is an object that is smaller than any feasible measurement, but not zero in size—or, so small that it cannot be distinguished from zero by any available means. Hence, when used as an adjective, "infinitesimal" means "extremely small". To give it a meaning, it usually must be compared to another infinitesimal object in the same context. Infinitely many infinitesimals are summed to produce an integral.

where is the unit vector of . The symbols in boldface denote vector quantities.

Unit vector vector of length one

In mathematics, a unit vector in a normed vector space is a vector of length 1. A unit vector is often denoted by a lowercase letter with a circumflex, or "hat": . The term direction vector is used to describe a unit vector being used to represent spatial direction, and such quantities are commonly denoted as d. Two 2D direction vectors, d1 and d2 are illustrated. 2D spatial directions represented this way are numerically equivalent to points on the unit circle.


The integral is usually around a closed curve, since stationary electric currents can only flow around closed paths when they are bounded. However, the law also applies to infinitely long wires (as used in the definition of the SI unit of electric current - the Ampere).

Ampere SI base unit of electric current

The ampere, often shortened to "amp", is the base unit of electric current in the International System of Units (SI). It is named after André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836), French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics.

To apply the equation, the point in space where the magnetic field is to be calculated is arbitrarily chosen (). Holding that point fixed, the line integral over the path of the electric current is calculated to find the total magnetic field at that point. The application of this law implicitly relies on the superposition principle for magnetic fields, i.e. the fact that the magnetic field is a vector sum of the field created by each infinitesimal section of the wire individually. [4]

Superposition principle fundamental physics principle stating that physical solutions of linear systems are linear

The superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net response caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually. So that if input A produces response X and input B produces response Y then input produces response.

There is also a 2D version of the Biot-Savart equation, used when the sources are invariant in one direction. In general, the current need not flow only in a plane normal to the invariant direction and it is given by (current density). The resulting formula is:

Electric current density (throughout conductor volume)

The formulations given above work well when the current can be approximated as running through an infinitely-narrow wire. If the conductor has some thickness, the proper formulation of the Biot–Savart law (again in SI units) is:

or, alternatively:

where is the volume element and is the current density vector in that volume (in SI in units of A/m2).

Constant uniform current

In the special case of a steady constant current I, the magnetic field is

i.e. the current can be taken out of the integral.

Point charge at constant velocity

In the case of a point charged particle q moving at a constant velocity v, Maxwell's equations give the following expression for the electric field and magnetic field: [5]

or

where is the unit vector pointing from the current (non-retarded) position of the particle to the point at which the field is being measured, and θ is the angle between and .

When v2c2, the electric field and magnetic field can be approximated as [5]

These equations are called the "Biot–Savart law for a point charge" [6] due to its closely analogous form to the "standard" Biot–Savart law given previously. These equations were first derived by Oliver Heaviside in 1888.

Magnetic responses applications

The Biot–Savart law can be used in the calculation of magnetic responses even at the atomic or molecular level, e.g. chemical shieldings or magnetic susceptibilities, provided that the current density can be obtained from a quantum mechanical calculation or theory.

Aerodynamics applications

The figure shows the velocity (
d
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) induced at a point P by an element of vortex filament (
d
l
{\displaystyle dl}
) of strength
G
{\displaystyle \Gamma }
. Vortex filament (Biot-Savart law illustration).png
The figure shows the velocity () induced at a point P by an element of vortex filament () of strength .

The Biot–Savart law is also used in aerodynamic theory to calculate the velocity induced by vortex lines.

In the aerodynamic application, the roles of vorticity and current are reversed in comparison to the magnetic application.

In Maxwell's 1861 paper 'On Physical Lines of Force', [7] magnetic field strength H was directly equated with pure vorticity (spin), whereas B was a weighted vorticity that was weighted for the density of the vortex sea. Maxwell considered magnetic permeability μ to be a measure of the density of the vortex sea. Hence the relationship,

  1. Magnetic induction current
    was essentially a rotational analogy to the linear electric current relationship,
  2. Electric convection current
    where ρ is electric charge density. B was seen as a kind of magnetic current of vortices aligned in their axial planes, with H being the circumferential velocity of the vortices.

The electric current equation can be viewed as a convective current of electric charge that involves linear motion. By analogy, the magnetic equation is an inductive current involving spin. There is no linear motion in the inductive current along the direction of the B vector. The magnetic inductive current represents lines of force. In particular, it represents lines of inverse square law force.

In aerodynamics the induced air currents form solenoidal rings around a vortex axis. Analogy can be made that the vortex axis is playing the role that electric current plays in magnetism. This puts the air currents of aerodynamics (fluid velocity field) into the equivalent role of the magnetic induction vector B in electromagnetism.

In electromagnetism the B lines form solenoidal rings around the source electric current, whereas in aerodynamics, the air currents (velocity) form solenoidal rings around the source vortex axis.

Hence in electromagnetism, the vortex plays the role of 'effect' whereas in aerodynamics, the vortex plays the role of 'cause'. Yet when we look at the B lines in isolation, we see exactly the aerodynamic scenario in so much as that B is the vortex axis and H is the circumferential velocity as in Maxwell's 1861 paper.

In two dimensions, for a vortex line of infinite length, the induced velocity at a point is given by

where Γ is the strength of the vortex and r is the perpendicular distance between the point and the vortex line. This is similar to the magnetic field produced on a plane by an infinitely long straight thin wire normal to the plane.

This is a limiting case of the formula for vortex segments of finite length (similar to a finite wire):

where A and B are the (signed) angles between the line and the two ends of the segment.

The Biot–Savart law, Ampère's circuital law, and Gauss's law for magnetism

In a magnetostatic situation, the magnetic field B as calculated from the Biot–Savart law will always satisfy Gauss's law for magnetism and Ampère's law: [8]

In a non-magnetostatic situation, the Biot–Savart law ceases to be true (it is superseded by Jefimenko's equations), while Gauss's law for magnetism and the Maxwell–Ampère law are still true.

See also

People

Electromagnetism

Notes

  1. "Biot-Savart law". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. Jackson, John David (1999). Classical Electrodynamics (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley. Chapter 5. ISBN   0-471-30932-X.
  3. Electromagnetism (2nd Edition), I.S. Grant, W.R. Phillips, Manchester Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2008, ISBN   978-0-471-92712-9
  4. The superposition principle holds for the electric and magnetic fields because they are the solution to a set of linear differential equations, namely Maxwell's equations, where the current is one of the "source terms".
  5. 1 2 Griffiths, David J. (1998). Introduction to Electrodynamics (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall. pp. 222–224, 435–440. ISBN   0-13-805326-X.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2009-09-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. Maxwell, J. C. "On Physical Lines of Force" (PDF). Wikimedia commons. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 See Jackson, page 178–79 or Griffiths p. 222–24. The presentation in Griffiths is particularly thorough, with all the details spelled out.

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References

Further reading