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Problem 26.7: Which capacitor with dielectric is connected to a battery?

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

The animations show a parallel-plate capacitor with a movable dielectric while the plots show the electric potential (left plot) and charge (right plot) as a function of the (x, y) position (position is given in meters and the electric field strength is given in newtons/coulomb). You can click-drag your mouse in a graph to rotate a plot and see it from a different angle. You can move the dielectric into and out of the region between the two plates by clicking and dragging the middle of the dielectric. Restart.

  1. In one of the animations a capacitor is connected to a battery, and in the other one a charged capacitor is not connected to the battery. Which is which?
  2. Describe the changes you see on the plots in the two animations and explain what is happening as the dielectric is dragged between the plates (i.e., why do you see the increases or decreases in potential or charge?).

Note: If the animation says "Did not converge" after you move the dielectric (especially if you move it from one end to another), simply click on the dielectric again to have the animation recalculate.

Problem authored by Anne J. Cox.
Script authored by Morten Brydensholt.

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