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low voltage power supply, electrodes (at least 2 plate or point electrodes), teledeltos (conducting)
paper, voltmeter with probes
The electrodes are connected to the positive and negative terminals of the power supply and a sheet of
teledeltos paper is placed over the electrodes.
One probe of the voltmeter should be connected to or held against a chosen reference point, for
example one of the electrodes. The other probe is moved around the surface of the paper to find points of
equipotential. The students should map out several lines of equipotential. They can then sketch the
equipotential lines for the arrangement of electrodes and use these to draw field lines.
If other electrodes are available, for example plate electrodes, the students can investigate the
potential between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor and other arrangements.
The Physics
Equipotentials are surfaces which have the same value of electric potential. Some examples are
shown below. Field lines represent the magnitude and direction of forces. Field lines are perpendicular to
equipotentials, so you can use equipotentials to draw field lines.
parallel plate capacitor
+ve point charge
field line
equipotential line
Accompanying sheet
Use the probes to find lines which have the same potential all the way along them.
These are called equipotential lines.
How can you use these lines to draw field lines?