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Homework Help: What determines the shape and spacing of equipotential lines?

  1. May 6, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    What determines the shape and spacing of equipotential lines?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I think the fact that equipotential lines have to be perpendicular to the surface determine the shape of the lines. I'm not sure what determines the spacing. Is it just the change in potential energy that determines the spacing?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Not the surface. They must be ⊥ to the flux lines of the E-field.

    Spacing? Whatever works for the scale to visualize it I'd say. In relative terms the closer together the stronger the field gradient in that region.
  4. May 6, 2009 #3
    That is also true, however there usually is no numerical relationship between the spacing unless otherwise denoted along the lines. The distance should decrease between the lines linearly as the electric potential is given by kQ/r.
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