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supported by the National Science Foundation
educational validator: John Belcher
technical implementer: Andrew McKinney
published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This Java simulation shows the field pattern created by two point charges with opposite charge. Students can change the position and magnitude of charge and watch the field configuration update automatically. Three field visualizations can be applied to the simulation: vector field, electric potential lines, and "grass seeds".

This item is part of a collection of visualizations developed by the MIT TEAL project to supplement an introductory course in calculus-based electricity and magnetism.
For lecture notes that accompany this specific animation, click below:
MIT Open Courseware: Coulomb's Law Lecture Notes (pdf)

Please note that this resource requires Java Applet Plug-in.
Editor's Note: We recommend this simulation to help beginning students gain understanding of the Coulomb interaction between charges. It also helps them visualize electric force as a vector with both magnitude and direction.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electrostatic Potential and Potential Energy
- Electrostatics
= Coulomb's Law
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Formats:
application/java
text/html
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:
dipole, electric dipole, electric field, electric potential, interactive simulations, point charges, representations, vector field, vector field simulation, vectors, visualization
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 14, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 3, 2012 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 2, 2008
Other Collections:

This resource is part of 4 Physics Front Topical Units.


Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Field

An outstanding, yet simple, simulation to help students visualize electric force as a vector with magnitude and direction. It features two particles with opposite charge. Change the position and magnitude of either charge and watch the electric field respond. The field can be viewed as "grass seeds", electric potential lines, or vector field.

Link to Unit:

Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Field

Sometimes students ask, "So what happens when one negative charge interacts with one positive charge?" This simulation uses two oppositely-charged "point charges" to address this question. Just move them around on the screen. The electric field changes shape depending on the distance separating the two particles and also on the magnitude of their charge. A point charge is an idealized model of a particle that has electric charge. It is represented here as a mathematical point with no dimensions.

Link to Unit:

Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Force

An outstanding, yet simple, simulation to help students visualize electric force as a vector with magnitude and direction. It features two particles with opposite charge. Change the position and magnitude of either charge and watch the electric field respond. The field can be viewed as "grass seeds", electric potential lines, or vector field.

Link to Unit:

Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Charge

An outstanding, yet simple, simulation to help students visualize electric force as a vector with magnitude and direction. It features two particles with opposite charge. Change the position and magnitude of either charge and watch the electric field respond. The field can be viewed as "grass seeds", electric potential lines, or vector field.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 2004), WWW Document, (http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm).
AJP/PRST-PER
MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 2004), <http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm>.
APA Format
MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges. (2008, May 2). Retrieved November 28, 2014, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology: http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm
Chicago Format
National Science Foundation. MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2, 2008. http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm (accessed 28 November 2014).
MLA Format
MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004. 2 May 2008. National Science Foundation. 28 Nov. 2014 <http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges}, Publisher = {Massachusetts Institute of Technology}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {28 November 2014}, Month = {May 2, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%T MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges
%D May 2, 2008
%I Massachusetts Institute of Technology
%C Cambridge
%U http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D May 2, 2008
%T MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges
%I Massachusetts Institute of Technology
%V 2014
%N 28 November 2014
%8 May 2, 2008
%9 application/java
%U http://web.mit.edu/8.02t/www/802TEAL3D/visualizations/electrostatics/pcharges/pcharges.htm


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MIT Physics 8.02: Electrostatics - Two Point Charges:

Covers the Same Topic As MIT Phyics 8.02: Vector Fields - Mapping Fields Applet

This simulation is designed for learners who have mastered the basics of point charge interaction. It allows them to map their own electric fields, given choices of two-point charges, dipole in constant or no field, two-line currents, radiating dipole, and more.

relation by Caroline Hall

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