A not so long time ago in a classroom not too far away, we arrived eagerly for our 9am, (in fact me and my friend Ivan, check him out at ivanbegic.wordpress.com, got there at 6am, back to the story), we arrived eagerly for our next encounter with the one and only Csaba. We watched as he walked into the classroom and set up his computer with the projector, then watched as the 30 second sleep timer on his laptop shut the projector down, we then pondered why he never bothered to change his sleep settings, a mystery fit for such a mysterious man. We finally watched him stare at us and ask, “does anyone have any questions?.” Of course, no one did the pre-reading so it was just silence for a solid minute. Csaba unprepared for such a scenario, proceeds to whip out some of the most beautiful physics you have probably ever seen. It’s a shame that if you wanted to understand anything he was saying, you’d have to already know and understand all the content of what he was saying. So obviously, I understood none of it, and so here I am, attempting to orate to you the physics he unleashed upon us. Welcome to Csaba Wars: The Csaba strikes back.
Energy of a System
The energy of a system will be the total worked required to assemble it. For example, if you wanted to make a system of two protons separated by a distance of 5cm (assuming you bring them in from infinity) the energy of the system will be the amount of work you do to push the two protons together against their repulsive electrostatic force.
Now, for any electrostatic system, the work is simply
Now this is paralleled for the energy in magnetic fields. The formula we know from electrodynamics,
Where is the magnetic vector potential, analogous to the potential in electric fields , however, it is defined as .
We note that this can’t be applied to a magnetostatic field, since magnetic fields don’t do any work. But why does building up a magnetic field from scratch require work? This is because we start from no field to some field, this involves a changing magnetic field, which induces an electric field, which in turn does work, and so we need to battle against that to “assemble” our magnetic field, (by maybe increasing a current or something).
Combining the previous two results, we get that the total energy in an electromagnetic field is given by
In a dielectric filled system, as you build up the free charges around your dielectric, the bound charge in the dielectric exerts a force on it, and so we have to take this into account when calculating the work, and so in a dielectric system the work becomes
In a magnetisable material, the energy is given by
Now this is all well good to find energy, but, there is an easier way to calculate these quantities without performing integrals, and that is through using something called Inductance. Let’s first define what it is. Say we have two loops side by side, but not touching.
If there is a a changing current flowing in loop 1, the changing magnetic field induced will pass through loop 2, causing a change in flux in loop 2. By Faraday’s Law, the changing flux through loop 2 will create in electric field and so a current will now flow through loop 2. But we said that the two loops are not connected, they don’t even touch! How on earth does one affect the other? The energy stored in the magnetic field of loop 1 is transferred to loop 2 causing the current in loop 2. By Lenz’s law, the current will flow to oppose the changing the magnetic field that caused it. This is known as mutual inductance.
Now let’s do some math with this. What is the magnetic flux through loop two? Well we first need to figure out the magnetic field from loop 1. This is given by the Biot-Savart Law:
where is the current through loop 1.
The flux through loop 2 will be given by
As you can see, the flux is going to be proportional to the current through loop 1 and so we can write
Is the mutual inductance between loop 1 and loop 2. We note that since it doesn’t matter which loop we consider, . Secodnly, is purely geometric, it only relies on the shape of the loops.
However, more often than not, we won’t be dealing with mutual inductance between two circuits or systems, we will usually just have the one loop. In this case, we note that the same phenomenon will occur, Lenz’s states that a current will flow to oppose the change in magnetic field that caused it. But where will this current flow if we don’t have another loop? You guessed it, loop 1 itself, the source loop! This is called self inductance, and the current induced will be opposed to the changing current that caused it. You can think of this induced current as fighting the change you are trying to make to the current in loop 1, and so, it is called the back EMF. Now as before, the flux through loop 1 will be given by
where L is the self inductance of the loop.
In this case of self inductance, we can think of the inductance L as analogous to mass, in that it is what you have to fight against in order to cause a change. The relation is clear if you think about this: if you have a larger mass, it is harder to move it, and similarly if you have a large self-inductance L, the harder it is to change the current. is sad to measure the magnetic inertia of a system.
The energy stored in the magnetic field for a given current is then given by
Now this formula works for the magnetic energy in or not in a magnetisable system, all you need to do is find the inductance first!
You may be asked somewhere along the line of your life to find capacitance. What is capacitance? A better question could be, why doesn’t Csaba teach this if he’s going to ask questions about it? The answer to that question is probably because it’s so simple!
Capacitance tells you how the potential of a system V changes with charge, Q, specifically, free charge, as we are only interested in the charge held by the capacitor. So capacitance is given by
That’s pretty much all you need to know. This is true for self capacitance of some conductor or the mutual capacitance between two conductors where the net charge is zero, e.g. a parallel plate capacitor.
Now, the energy stored in the capacitor can be found with a new equation, namely,
That’s pretty much all you need to know to find energy in the electrodynamic system Csaba throws at you.
May the force be with you!