# Curl of an electric dipole field

1. ### Identity

150
Is the field of an electric dipole conservative?

Initially I thought it would be, for no particular reason but that's just what my high school intuition thought. (haha I thought everything would be conservative apart from friction)

But I was reading up on some vector calculus and discovered

$$\mbox{curl}(\nabla f) = \mathbf{0}$$

If you put a positively charged rod in an electric dipole field, and fix it at the right orientation, it will rotate. Does that mean that the field is not conservative?

EDIT: I just realised it would also rotate in an electric monopole field lol

thanks

2. ### clem

1,276
It just means you have to include rotational as well as translational energy in applying conservation of energy.