## Differences Between Magnetic Field and Magnetic Wave?

Hi

I have some confusions about Electric and Magnetic fields and waves basics.

First of all, Is that diagram fully correct?

Are electric field and electric wave the same thing?

And are magnetic wave and magnetic field the same thing? I mean every magnetic field is a part of a wave?

If not what are the differences?

I have read lots of thing, one says, dc generates electric and magnetic field, but ac generates electric and magnetic wave, is that right?

And one more confusion, Is the electric current( I mean while DC current is flowing) itself generates magnetic field/wave or the voltage differences(I mean the distance of the positive and negative poles)?

Thanks...
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor People do make a distinction between an oscillating / changing magnetic field and the field due to DC currents. However, no DC current has been flowing around a circuit for ever so it is arguable that switch-on generated a radiated (electro) magnetic field which is still spreading out over the Universe in the 50 years since the circuit was activated. When a magnetic field varies, then there is also an electric field, due to that change so you have an em wave. In practice, however, we tend to treat the two situations differently. It will make the sums easier when em radiation does not need to be accounted for. Dammit, the simple circuit laws are hard enough!

Mentor
 Quote by sawer First of all, Is that diagram fully correct?
It is a correct depiction of the electric and magnetic fields along a line perpendicular to a linearly polarized plane wave.

 Quote by sawer Are electric field and electric wave the same thing? And are magnetic wave and magnetic field the same thing?
No, they are not the same thing. First, there is no such thing as an electric wave or a magnetic wave, there are electromagnetic waves. I.e. all EM waves consist of both an E field and a B field. Furthermore, an EM wave is an EM field which behaves according to the wave equation. So, all EM waves are EM fields, but not all EM fields are EM waves.

 Quote by sawer I mean every magnetic field is a part of a wave? If not what are the differences? I have read lots of thing, one says, dc generates electric and magnetic field, but ac generates electric and magnetic wave, is that right?
Usually when you have an arbitrary source and you are looking at the fields you would speak of the "near field" and the "far field", with the far field being a wave, and the "near field" being the part that doesn't propagate like a wave. A completely DC current has no far field. An AC current generates both near and far fields.

 Quote by sawer And one more confusion, Is the electric current( I mean while DC current is flowing) itself generates magnetic field/wave or the voltage differences(I mean the distance of the positive and negative poles)?
I didn't understand your question, can you please re-word it more carefully?

## Differences Between Magnetic Field and Magnetic Wave?

Thank you sophiecentaur and DaleSpam great explanations...

 Quote by DaleSpam So, all EM waves are EM fields, but not all EM fields are EM waves.
What makes them(EM Fields) EM waves?

 Quote by DaleSpam I didn't understand your question, can you please re-word it more carefully?
I was just trying to ask, Does a "current" generate EM Field/Wave or "Voltage difference"? even current can't find a way to flow(like in parallel plates of capacitance).

I think both of them generates EM field/wave. So even DC current generates EM field/wave. I still can't figure out what makes an EM field an EM wave if not all EM fields are EM waves

 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor A 'Wave' involves quantities changing in time and over distance. A field that is not changing does not constitute a wave. It might be a good idea to think of waves other than EM waves (waves on strings. sound etc) which are a bit more 'physical' and get their general properties first. Then move on to EM waves, which are harder to grasp.
 A quick question on the same topic: on the x axis there is usually time or distance, but what is on the y-axis? Is it the force a charged particle would feel at that spot/time? Is it true that any time a charged particle moves it creates a EM wave? So basically an EM wave is nothing more than the information of a changed EM field spreading around, because if the particle moves closer or further away, the EM force also changes? And if the wave oscillates back and forth, it meas somewhere a charged particle is oscillating? When you have DC on, you don't have an EM wave, because there is a constant EM field and an EM wave is just a representation of a changing em field, but where the information of the changed EM field has not yet arrived an EM wavefront is heading, is this correct?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor The y (and z) axis usually depict the 'displacement' (non-specific) for all waves. This is precisely what I wrote about 100 years back on this thread. every DC circuit was switched on at some time and that information is propagating outwards into space for ever, as a wave front. But is that relevant to basic electrical theory?
 Why do all the diagrams show electric field (and magnetic field) as a 2 dimensional vector ? Doesn't really electric field (and magnetic field) have "width" as seen in the diagram?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor You have to remember that diagrams are like graphs. They show a relationship and are not a 'picture' of what something looks like. Correct interpretation is essential.

 Quote by sophiecentaur The y (and z) axis usually depict the 'displacement' (non-specific) for all waves.
In case of an EM wave, displacement of what? Is it not the strength of the EM field at that point?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor You guys don't seem to do much reading around when you want to learn something. If you did then you would realise that the term 'displacement' refers to WHATEVER happens to be varying. For EM waves it refers to the values of the two fields at a given position and time.
 Thanks sophiecentaur; I have one last question about that topic, if someone can verify it, I will be very glad. I don't know what "field" is, I think it's solid definition is related with quantum physics. I have been searching differences between electric "field" and magnetic "field". I expected to read something like that: " Electric and magnetic fields are the same thing. The only difference between them is, one of the field is created by static electric charges but the same field that we call magnetic field's field is generated by moving electric charges. But they are same thing." But still I haven't read such a thing on websites that google showed me. Is my statement fully correct? Thanks...
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Did you ever look up the word "field"? There are many ways of stating the definition. One way of defining it is to sat that a field is a region in which a force acts on an object with appropriate properties. E.g. mass charge, current. Bringing QM into it at this stage can't particularly help.

Mentor
 Quote by sawer I don't know what "field" is, I think it's solid definition is related with quantum physics. I have been searching differences between electric "field" and magnetic "field
Here is a good place to start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_field

I agree with sophiecentaur, stick with classical EM at this point. QM will just add confusion.
 OK. Thank you. But can you please give me one sample about that information: "So, all EM waves are EM fields, but not all EM fields are EM waves" How can not an EM field be an EM wave? DC voltage is related with Electric field, DC current is related with Magnetic field, I am assuming DC can't generate EM field, either Electric field or Magnetic field but not both of them. AC current changes Magnetic field that means it generates Electric field. Ac always generates EM field. So now we have an EM field. So, now, at this point how can not an EM field be an EM wave?

Mentor
 Quote by sawer How can not an EM field be an EM wave? DC voltage is related with Electric field, DC current is related with Magnetic field, I am assuming DC can't generate EM field, either Electric field or Magnetic field but not both of them.
That is a bad assumption, if DC can do one or the other then you can just combine circuits to do both.

You can easily build a DC circuit that has an electric field due to a steady state voltage (e.g. across a capacitor) and a magnetic field due to a steady state current (e.g. through a resistive inductor). You can even mount the capacitor inside the inductor so that the E and B fields overlap.

There are lots of ways that you can make non-propagating EM fields.

Recognitions:
Gold Member