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Lecture 7

Curl and Laplacian Operators


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Mathematic Operators in EM study
Gradient
Divergence
Curl
Laplacian
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Highlights
Concept of Circulation
Derivation of V x B
Stokes theorem
Definition of V
2
V
Definition of V
2
E
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What is Curl?
The curl of a vector is a measure of the circulation of
the vector field per unit area As, with the orientation
of the unit area As chosen such that the circulation is
maximum.
The curl of a vector field B describes the rotational
property.
For a closed contour C, circulation=
The curl is defined as
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C
d
}
B l
0
max
1

curl lim
C s
d
s
A
(
V =

A
}
B B n B l
The direction of the unit vector n is along the
thumb when the other 4 fingers of the right
hand follow dl
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Right-hand rule:
Curl In Cartesian Coordinate
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x y z
x y z
xB yB zB
x y z
x y z
B B B
= + +
c c c
V
c c c
B
B =
For Vector B,
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Curl is zero for uniform field
since there is no circulation.








Curl is non-zero for the
azimuthal field
Properties of the Curl
Vx(A + B) =Vx A+Vx B ; A and B are vectors
V(V x A) = 0, the divergence of the curl of a
vector field vanishes.
Vx(VV) = 0, the curl of the gradient of a scalar
field vanishes.

The curl of a vector field is another vector field;
The curl of a scalar filed V, makes no sense.



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Stokess Theorem
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(
s c
d d V =
} }
s B l x ) B
If V X B = 0, the field B is conservative, or
irrotational (as its circulation = 0)
Example 3-4: Verification of Stokes Theorem
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(
s c
d d V =
} }
s B l x ) B
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What is a Laplacian?

Laplacian of a scalar function is defined as the
divergence of the gradient of that function.
Or we also can say: The divergence of the
gradient of a scalar function is called the
Laplacian.
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Laplacian Operator
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2 2 2
2 2 2
2 2 2
2
2 2 2



( )
( )
x y z
y
x z
V V V
V grad V x y z
x y z
A A A
x y z
A
A A
V
x y z
V V V
x y z
V V V
V V
x y z
c c c
V = + +
c c c
= + + =
c c c
V + +
c c c
c
c c
V V = V + +
c c c
c c c
= + +
c c c
c c c
V V V = + +
c c c
x y z A
x y z
A =
Recall the
gradient



And


Now take a
divergence








Laplacian is
defined as
Laplacian of a scalar function is defined as the
divergence of the gradient of that function.
For a vector field E
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2 2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2
2

x y z
E E E
x y z
| | c c c
V + + V + V + V
|
c c c
\ .
V V V V V
E = E = x y z
E = ( E) - ( E)
With identity:
The definition of a scalar Laplacian can be used to
define a Laplacian of a vector filed
V
2

can also write as A, call del square
or Laplacian.
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