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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the electric and magnetic waves as they move out from a source, such as an AC generator.
  • Explain the mathematical relationship between the magnetic field strength and the electrical field strength.
  • Calculate the maximum strength of the magnetic field in an electromagnetic wave, given the maximum electric field strength.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 6.A.1.1 The student is able to use a visual representation to construct an explanation of the distinction between transverse and longitudinal waves by focusing on the vibration that generates the wave. (S.P. 6.2)
  • 6.A.1.2 The student is able to describe representations of transverse and longitudinal waves. (S.P. 1.2)
  • 6.A.2.2 The student is able to contrast mechanical and electromagnetic waves in terms of the need for a medium in wave propagation. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 6.B.3.1 The student is able to construct an equation relating the wavelength and amplitude of a wave from a graphical representation of the electric or magnetic field value as a function of position at a given time instant and vice versa, or construct an equation relating the frequency or period and amplitude of a wave from a graphical representation of the electric or magnetic field value at a given position as a function of time and vice versa. (S.P. 1.4)
  • 6.F.2.1 The student is able to describe representations and models of electromagnetic waves that explain the transmission of energy when no medium is present. (S.P. 1.1)

We can get a good understanding of electromagnetic waves    (EM) by considering how they are produced. Whenever a current varies, associated electric and magnetic fields vary, moving out from the source like waves. Perhaps the easiest situation to visualize is a varying current in a long straight wire, produced by an AC generator at its center, as illustrated in [link] .

A long straight gray wire with an A C generator at its center, functioning as a broadcast antenna for electromagnetic waves, is shown. The wave distributions at four different times are shown in four different parts. Part a of the diagram shows a long straight gray wire with an A C generator at its center. The time is marked t equals zero. The bottom part of the antenna is positive and the upper end of the antenna is negative. An electric field E acting upward is shown by an upward arrow. Part b of the diagram shows a long straight gray wire with an A C generator at its center. The time is marked t equals capital T divided by four. The antenna has no polarity marked and a wave is shown to emerge from the A C source. An electric field E acting upward as shown by an upward arrow. The electric field E propagates away from the antenna at the speed of light, forming part of the electromagnetic wave from the A C source. A quarter portion of the wave is shown above the horizontal axis. Part c of the diagram shows a long straight gray wire with an A C generator at its center. The time is marked t equals capital T divided by two. The bottom part of the antenna is negative and the upper end of the antenna is positive and a wave is shown to emerge from the A C source. The electric field E propagates away from the antenna at the speed of light, forming part of the electromagnetic wave from the A C source. A quarter portion of the wave is shown below the horizontal axis and a quarter portion of the wave is above the horizontal axis. Part d of the diagram shows a long straight gray wire with an AC generator at its center. The time is marked t equals capital T. The bottom part of the antenna is positive and the upper end of the antenna is negative. A wave is shown to emerge from the A C source. The electric field E propagates away from the antenna at the speed of light, forming part of the electromagnetic wave from the A C source. A quarter portion of the wave is shown above the horizontal axis followed by a half wave below the horizontal axis and then again a quarter of a wave above the horizontal axis.
This long straight gray wire with an AC generator at its center becomes a broadcast antenna for electromagnetic waves. Shown here are the charge distributions at four different times. The electric field ( E size 12{E} {} ) propagates away from the antenna at the speed of light, forming part of an electromagnetic wave.

The electric field    ( E size 12{E} {} ) shown surrounding the wire is produced by the charge distribution on the wire. Both the E size 12{E} {} and the charge distribution vary as the current changes. The changing field propagates outward at the speed of light.

There is an associated magnetic field    ( B size 12{B} {} ) which propagates outward as well (see [link] ). The electric and magnetic fields are closely related and propagate as an electromagnetic wave. This is what happens in broadcast antennae such as those in radio and TV stations.

Closer examination of the one complete cycle shown in [link] reveals the periodic nature of the generator-driven charges oscillating up and down in the antenna and the electric field produced. At time t = 0 size 12{t=0} {} , there is the maximum separation of charge, with negative charges at the top and positive charges at the bottom, producing the maximum magnitude of the electric field (or E size 12{E} {} -field) in the upward direction. One-fourth of a cycle later, there is no charge separation and the field next to the antenna is zero, while the maximum E size 12{E} {} -field has moved away at speed c size 12{c} {} .

Questions & Answers

What is meant by dielectric charge?
It's Reply
what happens to the size of charge if the dielectric is changed?
Brhanu Reply
omega= omega not +alpha t derivation
Provakar Reply
u have to derivate it respected to time ...and as w is the angular velocity uu will relace it with "thita × time""
Abrar
do to be peaceful with any body
Brhanu Reply
the angle subtended at the center of sphere of radius r in steradian is equal to 4 pi how?
Saeed Reply
if for diatonic gas Cv =5R/2 then gamma is equal to 7/5 how?
Saeed
define variable velocity
Ali Reply
displacement in easy way.
Mubashir Reply
binding energy per nucleon
Poonam Reply
why God created humanity
Manuel Reply
Because HE needs someone to dominate the earth (Gen. 1:26)
Olorunfemi
why god made humenity
Ali
Is the object in a conductor or an insulator? Justify your answer. whats the answer to this question? pls need help figure is given above
Jun Reply
ok we can say body is electrically neutral ...conductor this quality is given to most metalls who have free electron in orbital d ...but human doesn't have ...so we re made from insulator or dielectric material ... furthermore, the menirals in our body like k, Fe , cu , zn
Abrar
when we face electric shock these elements work as a conductor that's why we got this shock
Abrar
how do i calculate the pressure on the base of a deposit if the deposit is moving with a linear aceleration
ximena Reply
why electromagnetic induction is not used in room heater ?
Gopi Reply
room?
Abrar
What is position?
Amoah Reply
What is law of gravition
sushil Reply
what is magnetism
Sandeep Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
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