Physics 15b - Final Exam - Take-home portion

Here is the final version of the takehome exam, along with the old problems which I will follow
up on the inclass exam on Saturday morning.
You may work on the take-home problems in study groups, as usual, but you should write
them up individually and pay special attention to the coherence and clarity of your solutions. You
should also list the students with whom you have discussed the problems. The in-class portion of
the exam will follow up on some of these problems (probably not all of them) so they will also
serve as a study guide for the exam. We strongly recommend that you think about possible
follow-up questions these problems. Some of the followups will be conceptual or calculational
true-false questions, but one or two may be a more conventional calculation. We hope that many of
the followups will be obvious if you have understood the problems. Obviously, the more you have
thought about these problems, the easier it will be for you to complete the inclass exam in the time
you are given. We strongly urge you to explore them. Ask yourself whether you know what the
fields look like. Are there concepts from later chapters that are relevant to problems from earlier
chapters? Think about it.
At the beginning of exam, you will get a packet containing the questions from the take-home,
our solutions, and the follow-up questions. You may consult your take-home solutions during the
follow-up process. At the end of class, you will hand in the packet and your problem set together
with your take-home inserted into the in-class packet.
Because our solutions will be in the packet, you may not modify your take-home solutions
once you get to the exam. However, there will be a place in the exam packet where you can
make comments on your take-home solutions if you wish to add anything once you have seen our
solutions.
Because you can consult your take-home solutions during the exam, you may want to include
in your solutions any notes that you think may be helpful to you on the exam, even if they are not
a part of your solutions to the take-home problems. This is allowed. You can include anything
that you produce by your own intellectual effort. You may not simply copy something or print
a version of someone else’s LATEX file or anything like that. But if you want to write your own
physics textbook and include it with your solutions, that is fine (though we think that this will not
be an efficient use of your time). You may put your notes in a separate section at the end of your
take-home, and you must hand them in along with the rest of your take-home at the end of the
in-class exam.
Calculators are allowed for the exam, but should not be essential.

1

take-home-1. One can make a “2-dimensional dipole” by putting an infinite charged rod with
uniform linear charge density q/² along the z axis and another with linear charge density −q/²
parallel to the z axis at y = −². As ² → 0 for fixed q, this produces an interesting electric field,
independent of z and with no z component.
take-home-1.a.

Show explicitly that the resulting electric field has the form
(2xy, y 2 − x2 , 0)
~
E(x,
y, z) = 2q
(x2 + y 2 )2

2

(1.1)

These 2-dimensional dipoles have properties similar to those of 3-dimensional dipoles. The
particular analogy we will explore in this problem is to the uniformly polarized sphere, which as
you saw in Purcell, has a constant electric field inside and a dipole field outside. An analogous
argument yields the result that an infinite cylinder with radius R centered on the z axis with polarization P0 yˆ in the y direction has an electric field that is uniform and in the −y direction inside
the cylinder for x2 + y 2 < R2 and has the form (1.1) for x2 + y 2 > R2 . You can prove this by
analogy with the argument illustrated in Purcell’s figure 10.22 by considering the uniformly polarized cylinder to be built out two oppositely uniformly charged cylinders slightly displaced from
one another in the y direction.
take-home-1.b.
Assuming this to be correct, find q and the magnitude of the field inside the
cylinder in terms of P0 .

3

You can use the result of the previous parts to solve the following problem. Find the electric
field around an infinite conducting cylinder of radius R, centered on the z axis in an external
electric field E0 yˆ. The field lines for the resulting field in the x-y plane look something like those
shown in the figure below.

The thick lines in the figure represent the boundary between the field lines that intersect the surface
of the cylinder and those that do not.
take-home-1.c.
you know?

What are the asymptotic values of x of the thick lines as y → ±∞ and how do

4

Comments on your solution to take-home-1:

5

take-home-2.

Consider the following electric and magnetic fields:
~
E(x,
y, z, t) = E0 yˆ cos[k(x − ct)] − E0 yˆ cos[k(x + ct)]
~
B(x,
y, z, t) = E0 zˆ cos[k(x − ct)] + E0 zˆ cos[k(x + ct)]
~
~
E(x,
y, z, t) = B(x,
y, z, t) = 0

for x > 0

(2.1)

for x < 0

(2.1) describes a plane electromagnetic wave for x > 0 being reflected from a stationary perfectly
conducting plane at x = 0. Describe these fields in terms of the coordinates, (x0 , y 0 , z 0 , t0 ), of a
frame of reference moving with velocity βc in the +x direction. Choose the origin of the moving
frame so that it coincides with origin of the fixed frame at time t0 = t. Find the transformed electric
and magnetic fields,
~ 0 (x0 , y 0 , z 0 , t0 ) and B
~ 0 (x0 , y 0 , z 0 , t0 )
E
(2.2)

6

Comments on your solution to take-home-2:

7

take-home-3. A magnetic dipole with dipole moment m
~ is fixed at the point (0, 0, `) for ` > 0.
All the region for z ≤ 0 is filled with the ultimate diamagnetic material with µ = 0. Find the
~ inside the material and the boundary condition on
magnetic field for z ≥ 0. Hint: Think about B
the surface. Then find an appropriate “image” for z < 0 to give the right field at the boundary.
Another Hint: You have actually seen this material in a lecture demonstration, but that was before
we knew about diamagetism, so we didn’t mention that µ = 0 and we talked about it in a different
way.

8

Comments on your solution to take-home-3:

9

Below are the problems from previous problem sets that will be followed up on the exam.
1.3.
Do Problem 1.33 in Purcell.
Imagine a sphere of radius a filled with negative charge of uniform density, the total
charge being equivalent to that of two electrons. Imbed in this jelly of negative charge
two protons and assume that in spite of their presence the negative charge distribution
remains uniform. Where must the protons be located so that the force on each of them
is zero? (This is a surprisingly realistic caricature of a hydrogen molecule; the magic
that keeps the electron cloud in the molecule from collapsing around the protons is
explained by quantum mechanics!)
Answer:
You are asked to find the position of two protons, each with charge e, inside
a uniformly charge sphere with radius a and charge −2e, such that the force on each of the
protons vanishes. First note that two protons must lie on a line through the center of the
sphere. Otherwise the force on one proton from the electron cloud would not be parallel
to the force from the other proton, and the two could not cancel. Also, by symmetry, they
are the same distance from the center. Call it x. Thus the system looks like this:
...............................................
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The force on the right proton from the other proton is repulsive with magnitude
e2
4x2

(3.1)

The force from the electron cloud is (for example from lecture) attractive with magnitude
2e2 x
a3

(3.2)

x = a/2

(3.3)

Thus

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4.3.

..............................................

x

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Shown above is a top view of a parallel plate capacitor in the form of a square with side ` and plate
separation s (which you can’s see of course). A solid rectangular conductor with thickness s/3 and
c might
width w is covered on the top and bottom with a frictionless non-conducting skin (Teflon °
work) of thickness s/3 so that the whole sandwich just fits between the plates, and slides smoothly
touching both, but without making electrical contact. This is shown in the side view below.
upper plate
..
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frictionless nonconductor
conductor

s

frictionless nonconductor

........
...

lower plate
Suppose that the top and bottom capacitor plates have charge ±Q and that the conductor is slid in
a distance x as shown. Making appropriate assumptions and approximations (which you should
explain in detail) find the force on conductor.
Answer:
Probably the simplest way to get the answer is to consider the capacitior as
two capacitors connected in parallel, one with area `2 − xw in which there is no conductor
between the plates, and another with are xw in which there is conductor between the
plates. The capacitance of the first, in the parallel plate capacitor approximation, is
C1 =

`2 − xw
4π s

(3.4)

C2 =

xw
4π 2s/3

(3.5)

The capacitance of the second is

because the conductor does not contribute to the gap between the two plates. There are
various ways to see this — for example consider this system to be two capacitors each
with gap s/3 connected in series. The total capacitance of the system is then
C = C1 + C2 =
11

2`2 + xw
8π s

(3.6)

and the energy of the charged capacitor is
U=

Q2
4π s Q2
= 2
2C
2` + xw

(3.7)

The external force required to increase x is then
F =

dU
4π w s Q2
=− 2
dx
(2` + xw)2

(3.8)

Because the external force required to increase x is negative, this means that the conductor is being pulled into the capacitor by the electric force. This is similar to the force
between the plates of the variable capacitor discussed in the Tuesday lecture. The force
arises from the fringe fields around the edges of the boundary of the conductor.
Meanwhile note that the units of the answer are esu2 /cm2 , which is right. It seems
a bit odd that the result vanishes as s. But this is also a bit misleading, because the
capacitance blows up in this limit.
8.2.

Do problem 6.14 in Purcell.

A coil is wound evenly on a torus of rectangular cross section. There are N turns
of wire in all. Only a few are shown in the figure. With so many turns, we shall
assume that the current on the surface of the torus flows exactly radially on the annular
end faces, and exactly longitudinally on the inner and outer cylindrical surfaces. First
convince yourself that on this assumption symmetry requires that the magnetic field
everywhere should point in the “circumferential” directions, that is, that all field lines
are circles about the axis of the torus. Second, prove that the field is zero at all points
outside the torus, including the interior of the central hole. Third, find the magnitude
of the field inside the torus, as a function of radius.
12

Answer:
Let us begin by understanding the direction of the magnetic field. The system
looks like this
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where the current runs up along the inner cylinder, radially out along the top, down along
the outer cylinder, and radially in along the bottom. The system is symmetrical with respect to reflections in any plane through the axis. Under this transformation, points on
the plane go into themselves. The magnetic field at a point on the plane has a component perpendicular to the plane that goes into itself. But its components parallel to the
plane change sign and therefore they must vanish. This shows that the magnetic field is
azimuthal anywhere that it is non-zero. More formally, if we take the axis of the torus to
be the z axis, the magnetic field at a point ~r can be written as
~
B(r)
= zˆ × rˆ⊥ b(r⊥ )

(3.9)

where r⊥ is the distance from the z axis to ~r, and rˆ⊥ is a unit vector from the z axis towards
~r:
~r⊥ ≡ ~r − zˆ(ˆ
z · ~r) , r⊥ ≡ |~r⊥ | , rˆ⊥ = ~r⊥ /r⊥
(3.10)
The rotation symmetry about the axis guarantees that the magnitude is constant on
circles centered on the axis in perpendicular planes. The magnetic field lines are therefore
circles, as shown:
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..........................................
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We can use these field lines as the closed curve for the line integral in Ampere’s law. The
line integral of the magnetic field around the curve is
2π r⊥ b(r⊥ )

(3.11)

If the field line is inside the torus, the current flowing through the surface bounded by the
field line is N I where I is the current in the wire. Thus
2π r⊥ b(r⊥ ) = 4π N I/c
13

(3.12)

and the magnetic field inside the torus is
2N I
~
B(r)
= zˆ × rˆ⊥
c r⊥

14

(3.13)

9.1.

Do problem 7.14 in Purcell.
A metal crossbar of mass m slides without friction on two long parallel conducting
rails a distance b apart. A resistor R is connected across the rails at one end; compared
~ perwith R, the resistance of bar and rails is negligible. There is a uniform field B
pendicular to the plane of the figure. At time t = 0 the crossbar is given a velocity v0
toward the right. What happens then?
(a) Does the rod ever stop moving? If so when?
(b) How far does it go?
(c) How about conservation of energy?



.............................................................................................................................................. ..... ..... ..... .....
...................................................................................•




..
....

...

..

...

...


...

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m •
~
R
b
B


...

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...

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...

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..

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...

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.........
...................................................................................•
.•..................................................................................................................................... ..... ..... ..... .....



.
...........
........
......

−→

Answer:
Call v the velocity of the bar at some time. The rate of change of flux is then
Bvb, and the EMF is therefore Bvb/c. The current is then
I=

Bvb
cR

This current produces a force on the bar
F =−

IbB
B 2 vb2
=− 2
c
cR

Lenz’s law assures us that this is a frictional force - opposing the change in the flux - and
thus opposing the motion of the bar into the magnetic field! The rest is mechanics.
F =−

B 2 b2
dv
v = ma = m
2
cR
dt

v(t) = v0 e−t/T
where

mc2 R
T = 2 2
B b

If the rod starts at x = 0, then
³

x(t) = v0 T 1 − e−t/T
So
(a) The rod never stops moving.
15

´

(b) But it goes a finite distance v0 T in an infinite time.
The power that goes into slowing down the bar is F v
Fv = −

B 2 b2 2
v
c2 R

The current flowing through the circuit causes an I 2 R power loss in the reisitor
Ã
2

Power lost in the resistor = I R =

Bvb
cR

!2

R

Thus
(c) Conservation of energy is satisfied because
F v + I 2R = 0
The kinetic energy that is lost by the bar goes into heat in the resistor.
In addition, answer the following question.
9.1-d. Work is being done to slow down the bar. What force is producing this work? Explain
your answer in detail.
Answer:
The force slowing down the bar is the electrical force of the current-carrying
electrons on the rigid lattice of the bar. This is equal and opposite by Newton’s third law
to the electrical force of the positive lattice on the electrons which is the force responsible
for keeping the moving electrons in the bar. The magnetic force cannot produce any
work on the moving charged particles, either the positive lattice of the bar or negative
electrons, because it acts perpendicular to the direction of motion. But what it can do is
~ field in the figure is up out of the
to change the direction of the electron’s motion. If the B
page, a current is produced downwards in the bar, which means that the current-carrying
electrons are moving up through the bar as it moves to the right. But the magnetic field
then curves the paths of the electrons to the left. Because of this curving of their motion,
the electrons fall behind the positive lattice and pile up on the left side of the bar. The
electrons then pull the bar to left, slowing it down. The positive lattice of the bar is losing
energy because it must do work on the electrons to keep them in the bar. The magnetic
field does no work, but what it does do is to maintain the peculiar charge distribution within
the bar that allows the electrical forces to do work.

16

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