# Interesting Magnetism Problem

http://www.geocities.com/bridgestein/Bffield.jpg

In fact I know the answers of this problem, but I have a question.

Here's the question.
A charge +q moving with constant velocity v enters into a uniform magnetic field region as shown. The magnetic flux density is B.
a) What is the direction of the force F experienced by q?
b) What is the work done by F?
c) What kind of motion it is performing?
d) Express the radius of curvature r of the change in terms of B, v, m and q. Where m is the mass of the charge.

ans:
a) Direction of force is always perpendicular to the direction of q. The point charge will go upward.

From the part (d), I know it is performing circular motion and that the work done by F is 0 J!

d) r = mv/(Bq)

Why it is performing circular motion? Can't it be an elliptical motion?

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Tom Mattson
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by KL Kam
Why it is performing circular motion? Can't it be an elliptical motion?
When you have a constant magnitude force that is always perpendicular to the velocity, uniform circular motion is the only possible result. To show this, you can use Newton's second law for the radial component of the force (that is the only nonzero component in this problem):

&Sigma;Fr=qvxB=mar

where v=vi and B=-Bk. You would then solve the differential equation for the trajectory, using the initial conditions, to see that the path is necessarily circular.

Claude Bile