1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Electromagnetism vectors

  1. Mar 19, 2003 #1
    I can understand what the electric field vector E and the magnetic flux density vector B mean, but what exactly are the meanings of the two other vectors, the electric displacement vector D and the magnetic intensity vector H? What are their physical explanations?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2003 #2


    User Avatar

    When mattter is present Maxwell's equations take on a more simple form when E is replaced by D and B replaced by H - a form similar to the vaccuum equations. The premitivity represents the polarization of the material and the permeability represents the magnitization of the material.

  4. Mar 19, 2003 #3
    To elaborate a little:
    Most types of matter have a tendency to align themselves with or against magnetic and electric fields in their vicinity, thus increasing or decreasing those fields. To a good approximation, you can often use D and H to represent the "imposed" or "external" fields, and E and B to be the real fields which will include the contributions from the matter.
  5. Mar 21, 2003 #4
    Thanks for the replies! Things you told sound sensible, and I think I'm having a bit better understanding now.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook