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Mapping an Equal Potential Field

  1. Feb 4, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

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    For this lab, we have one wire hooked up to the positive terminal of a battery pack and another hooked up to the negative terminal. Each of those is attached to a weight and placed in salt water. Another wire is hooked up to a voltmeter which is then attached to the negatively charged weight, while another wire acts as a positive test probe.

    What my group and I had to do, was move the positive test probe and find five to six points in the field that had the same voltage. Those points would be one equipotential line. We then had to plot five more of those lines to complete one map.

    So, after we completed that, we had follow-up questions that were not very difficult, but there was one that did make my head hurt.

    If lightening strikes a tree 20 m away, would it be better to stand facing the tree, your back to the tree, or your side to the tree? Assume your feet are a comfortable shoulder width apart. Explain your answer.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm not really sure on how to answer this. Actually, my logic is that both facing the tree and having your back to the tree is essentially the same thing, so the only answer that differs is the side to the tree -- which would be my guess.

    But I'm not really sure how to explain why.
     
  2. jcsd
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