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!

Magnetic field created by a long wire

  1. Aug 8, 2015 #1
    The magnetic field created by an electric current in a long straight wire is conservative or not conservative?

    A field is conservative when its circulation closed path is zero.

    For amperiana curve that surrounds the wire circulation is non-zero, but to a curve which does not involve the wire circulation is zero. And now?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well, the magnetic field created by an electric current in a long straight wire will always surround/include the wire.
  4. Aug 8, 2015 #3
    But I can choose amperiana curve so as not to move the wire and thus the movement is not null unlike the curve surrounding the wire. Then the magnetic field is conservative or not?
  5. Aug 8, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    The path integral of a conservative vector field is independent of the path. It just depends on the end points. So if it is zero for some closed paths and not for others then it is not conservative.
  6. Aug 13, 2015 #5
    The line integral is not over a simply connected space. The z-axis is not included. Things get a little tricky. This can get into some very abstract things involving cohomology groups that I would like to know more of besides the buzz-word.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  7. Aug 13, 2015 #6
    The scalar field about the wire is ##f= \frac{\mu_0 I}{2 \pi} [ log(r) + c ] ##.

    ##B = df = \frac{\mu_0 I}{2 \pi r}d\phi##. B first appears to be a conservative field.

    ##B = B_\phi d\phi ##

    But ##\oint B_\phi d\phi = \frac{\mu_0 I}{2 \pi r} 2 \pi n ##, where n is the winding number.

    ##B## is locally conservative everywhere but at ##r=0##, though not globally conservative.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook