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supported by the National Science Foundation
written by John Belcher
designer: Michael Danziger
This is an animation that shows the electric dipole field that is created when two opposite charges of equal magnitude are pulled apart. As it begins, the positive point charge is sitting directly on top of the negative charge, so that the total charge exactly cancels out (there is no electric field).  The two charges are then pulled apart, resulting in the classic dipole field pattern. As the distance between the charges increases, the strength of field decreases.

This item is part of a larger collection of visualizations developed by the MIT TEAL/Studio Physics Project to support an introductory course in electricity and magnetism.

For lecture notes that accompany this specific animation, click below:
MIT Open Courseware: Capacitance and Dielectrics Lecture Notes (pdf)

Please note that this resource requires Quicktime.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
- Electrostatics
= Coulomb's Law
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Format:
video/quicktime
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
MIT Open Courseware (OCW): http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/terms/terms/index.htm
Keywords:
Coulomb, animation, dipole, dipole field, electric dipole, field lines, pith ball
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 12, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
April 15, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 24, 2008
Other Collections:

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Field

How is electric field created and how does it come to fill up space? This animation from MIT's TEAL Physics Project starts with two opposite point charges being separated to form a classic electric dipole field configuration. It will help students see that electric fields do not appear instantly in space when there is unbalanced charge. They propagate outward from a source in a predictable way.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Belcher, (2004), WWW Document, (http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Belcher, MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole, (2004), <http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm>.
APA Format
Belcher, J. (2008, May 24). MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole. Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm
Chicago Format
Belcher, John. MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole. May 24, 2008. http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm (accessed 20 November 2014).
MLA Format
Belcher, John. MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole. 2004. 24 May 2008. National Science Foundation. 20 Nov. 2014 <http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "John Belcher", Title = {MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {20 November 2014}, Month = {May 24, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A John Belcher
%T MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole
%D May 24, 2008
%U http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm
%O video/quicktime

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Belcher, John
%D May 24, 2008
%T MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole
%V 2014
%N 20 November 2014
%8 May 24, 2008
%9 video/quicktime
%U http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/PithBallsCreate/PithBallsCreate.htm


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MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creation of an Electric Dipole:

Covers the Same Topic As MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Electric Field of a Dipole

A 3D interactive simulation of the electric field of two equal and opposite charges, depicted in a "grass seeds" representation. The observation point may be moved in positive or negative directions along x, y, or z.

relation by Caroline Hall
Covers the Same Topic As MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Creating an Electric Field

A related animation by the same authors that shows charge separation and creation of an electric field. In this model, five negative and five positive charges of equal magnitude are shown. The positive charges are separated one-by-one at constant velocity. It clearly depicts how the electric field grows as each positive charge is moved into place.

relation by Caroline Hall

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