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Homework Help: Plots of B•dl as a function of position along the closed path

  1. Oct 24, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Two infinitely long current carrying wires run into the page as indicated. Consider a closed triangular path that runs from point 1 to point 2 to point 3 and back to point 1 as shown.
    Which of the following plots best shows B•dl as a function of position along the closed path?



    2. Relevant equations

    miu*I= B•dl

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I used RHR.I am confused about when should it is positive and when is negative.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2011 #2


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    Ampère's law states that:

    [tex] \oint _P \vec B \cdot \vec{dl} = \mu_0 I_{enc} [/tex]
    The left is a closed path integral. In other words, assuming that the path is closed, the total area under the curve of [itex] \vec B \cdot \vec{dl} [/itex] is proportional to the current enclosed within the path. How much current is enclosed within the path? That should rule out one of the choices right there.

    Pick a path component and note the direction of [itex] \vec{dl} [/itex] (the corresponding arrow in the figure will show you the direction of [itex] \vec{dl} [/itex]). Use the right hand rule to determine the direction of [itex] \vec B [/itex]. For that path, is the direction of [itex] \vec B [/itex] in the same general direction of [itex] \vec{dl} [/itex] (making [itex] \vec B \cdot \vec{dl} [/itex] positive)? Or are they generally in the opposite direction (making [itex] \vec B \cdot \vec{dl} [/itex] negative)? As a sanity check, repeat for the other path components.
  4. Oct 25, 2011 #3
    So the direction of path is same as direction of current?
  5. Oct 26, 2011 #4


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    Um no. :uhh: The direction of the current is into the board/paper, as indicated by the 'x's on the wires. The direction of [itex] \vec{dl} [/itex] of each path segment is shown by the arrows on each path segment. (All of that is given to you in the problem statement.) You can determine the direction of [itex] \vec{B} [/itex] by using the right hand rule. (Hint: the direction of [itex] \vec{B} [/itex] is perpendicular to the current in the infinitely long wires. But you need to think in three dimensions.)
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