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Can magnetic dipoles have potential energy?

by averin
Tags: dipoles, energy, magnetic, potential
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averin
#1
Jun7-09, 01:20 PM
P: 1
People say U for a magnetic dipole is -m . B
But why can magnetic dipoles have potential energy, if magnetic forces are not conservative?

Thanks!
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Bob_for_short
#2
Jun7-09, 01:39 PM
P: 1,160
Quote Quote by averin View Post
People say U for a magnetic dipole is -m . B
But why can magnetic dipoles have potential energy, if magnetic forces are not conservative?
Not being conservative for B does not mean violation of the energy conservation law. In case of a single charge, its kinetic energy is conserved. In case of magnetic dipole, the external non uniform magnetic field can accelerate the dipole thus increase its kinetic energy. The corresponding potential energy change is delta mB.

Bob_for_short.


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