Homework Help: Current in Seawater (Purcell 7.12)

1. Nov 1, 2012

NullSpace0

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
This is Purcell 7.12. Seawater moves at 1 meter/second, there is a vertical B-field of .35 gauss, and the conductivity of water is .04 (1/ohm*cm). What is the current in Amps/meter/meter? If you moved water in a bottle at this speed, would there be a current induced?

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution
I used E=(v/c)B since I know that the induced electric field comes from velocity and B-field which are perpendicular to one another... can you talk of induced electric fields like this?

Then I get E=(35/c) esu/cm^2. J=σE, so J=42.4 esu/sec/cm^2. This converts to 1.4e-4 Amps/m^2. Is that the right number?

I'm not sure how to answer the second part... why would it matter is the water is in a bottle or in a large body of water? All that matters it the conductivity and relative motion, so the current would flow, yes?

2. Nov 1, 2012

haruspex

A current requires a circuit. Where's the return path in each case?

3. Nov 1, 2012

NullSpace0

Presumably the current in the ocean would return at some point on the surface of the water or maybe below the surface of the water?

I guess for a bottle of water there would be no path for the current to return on, though.

4. Nov 2, 2012

haruspex

Or even through the ocean floor.