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Problem on divergence and curl

  1. Jan 25, 2005 #1
    Hi Guys,,

    i have just started to study Divergence and curl but this is not at all enetering into my mind......Pls help me out understand this....This also has Divergence and Stokes theorm ..pls help me grasp it....Thx in advance...

    The Divergence Theorem and Stokes's Theorem provide the interpretation of the divergence and curl that we have given above.
    The integral, over a surface S, measures the flux of v through the surface, which is proportional to the number of arrows of v that cross S.
    By the divergence theorem if we take a tiny region V, the integral of div v over this region (which is the average value of div v in it times the volume of V), is the net outflux of v over the surface of V. Thus this outflux, which for V centered on the point r' is a measure of the number of v arrows originating from around the point r' is directly proportional to the average divergence of v around r'.
    An exactly analogous interpretation of Stokes's Theorem on a surface S including the point r' provides our interpretation of the curl. The circulation integral of v around a small cycle encircling r can be interpreted as the difference between the path integral of v going around r' on one side and the other. By Stokes' Theorem, this is proportional to the area of the region between the paths times the average value of the component of curl v normal to S in that area. Thus Stokes' Theorem means that the average component of curl v normal to S around r' is directly proportional to the amount of path dependence of v in S produced in the neighborhood of r'.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2005 #2
    54 ppls have seen but no one willing to help.....
  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3


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    It is somewhat unclear what you're after:
    Do you want some "wordy" explanation; is that it?
  5. Jan 27, 2005 #4
    The essay above is very clear already... if you don't point out what you don't understand more specifily, even we type a millions words here you still won't understand...
    Why dont you tell us which part you don't understand so that we can help you...
    usually ppls don't reply for 2 reason... unclear question and stupid question.... yours is the former
  6. Jan 27, 2005 #5
    Thx actually i am not getting what does divergence and curl mean...i mean to say not their formulae but their significance ,,what does they wanna speak..
  7. Jan 27, 2005 #6
    The divergence is a measurement of the change in density of something, like a field in a given area.

    The curl, is just the measurement of the curvature of a field.


    Checkout mathworld.wolfram.com for both mathematical and a decent, if not complicated, description of what they represent.
  8. Jan 27, 2005 #7
    I can't make sense out of that. It sounds like you quoted part of a book and without the context (there is a lot that isn't said that there which is probably made clear in diagrams and previous paragraphs and shown equations etc) and as such it gave me a headache reading it. :tongue:

    The divergence of a vector field is simply this - Suppose there is a vector field E. Choose a point r in that field and construct a closed surface, e.g. a sphere, around that point. Take the surface integral of the normal component of E over the closed surface and divide the result by the volume enclosed by that surface. Now let the radius of the spherical surface go to zero. That result is called the "divergence of E."

    The curl is kind of like that - Take a point in space and pass a plane through it whose surface normal is parallel to the z-axis. In that plane construct a cirlce whose center is the point of interest. Take the line integral of the vector field around that circle. Let the sense of the line integral be consistent with the right hand rule with the +direction of the z-axis (if you grab the z-axis and your thumb is pointing in the +direction then the direction of the integration around the cirlce will be in the direction your fingers are curling). Now divide the result of that integral by the surface area of the circle. Take the limit and let the radius of the circle go to zero. That gives a number which is called the "z-component of the curl of the vector field E at the point." Do that with two other planes whose surface normals are in the +x and +y direction and you have the components of the curl vector.

  9. Jan 27, 2005 #8
    change in density.....like density increase n decrease..its rate..

    actually again comes basic problem..i know what is formula of curvature but not thorough what they represent..emphasis...i am checking it.thx
  10. Jan 27, 2005 #9
    thx Pete and Healey but what purpose they solve...in which way are they useful to us.....can u explain with the help of example....
  11. Jan 27, 2005 #10
    example? here you go...
    electromagnetic, fluid dynamics, continuity equation, heat transfer......
  12. Jan 27, 2005 #11
    in what way ....they find their application here i agree..but how do they make the problem simple..i mean to say is there were no divergence and curl .....what could have been there //
  13. Jan 27, 2005 #12
    if you don't use the div and curl notation, the 4 maxwell equations for EM will become a 20 variable, 20 equations monster
  14. Jan 27, 2005 #13
    can i ask how ,,i am getting this but i read that in a static situation, the curl of the electric field is zero, and the divergence of the electric field is a multiple of the electric charge density c(x,y):

    div(E(x,y)) = c(x,y) and curl(E(x,y)) = 0

    how does this evolve...
  15. Jan 27, 2005 #14
    do you prefer me answering this question verbally or mathematically?
  16. Jan 27, 2005 #15
    thx...verbally and may be if some maths is necessary
  17. Jan 27, 2005 #16


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    24 equations with 22 unknowns...Yet 22 equations are independent...

  18. Jan 27, 2005 #17
    for the divergence, it came from the coulomb's law.... imagine you have a box. if you see a net electric flux goes in/ come out the box, coulomb's law tells you that there is a net charge in the box.. as the #7 post said, divergence is define as the net flux goes out the box divided by its volume,
    [tex] \nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \lim_{\Delta V \rightarrow 0} \frac{\int \vec{E} \cdot d \vec {S}} {\Delta V} [/tex]

    applied the coulomb law to the right hand side

    [tex] \nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \lim_{\Delta V \rightarrow 0} \frac {q/\epsilon}{\Delta V}= \frac{\rho}{\epsilon} [/tex]

    the curl E = 0 came from conservation of energy... we know any line integral of a closed loop is zero for E field otherwise a charge run along the loop will gain energy every lap its finish... again, go back to the definition in post #7
    [tex] (\nabla \times \vec{E}) \cdot \hat{n} = \lim_{\Delta S \rightarrow 0}\frac{\int \vec{E} \cdot d \vec{l}} {\Delta S} [/tex]
    n hat is the normal vector for the area delta S

    the integral at the right hand side is zero because the conservation of energy, therefore..
    [tex] \nabla \times \vec{E} = 0[/tex]
    PS. the mathematical definition for the curl makes sense here because if the E field does not have a rotational tendency, its line integral for a loop will not be zero... you really need to picture it in your mind... hard to explain
  19. Jan 27, 2005 #18


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    What???Where did u get that one??? :grumpy:


    P.S.I noticed you edited your post... :tongue2:
  20. Jan 27, 2005 #19
  21. Jan 27, 2005 #20
    which one?

    don't argue with me which definition for div E and curl E is more fundemantal again... this definition can derive any of your difinition in 3D space... and you can really visuallize what's going on physically

    yes i edited my post coz i forgot the dot n hat in the curl E
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
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