TEACHING ELECTRIC FIELD TOPIC WITH COMPUTER VISUALIZATION

S. Talele

University of Waikato (NEW ZEALAND)
Electromagnetic fields is undoubtedly one of the most difficult subject in the undergraduate courses for electronics/physics degrees. The difficulty arises from the fact that electromagnetic fields are not visible unlike some other concepts in mechanical engineering where one deals with concrete objects. Students generally find it hard to grasp the ideas as these ideas are abstract and their learning cannot be supported through simple experiments in which they can handle objects and see what is happening.

Visualisation of electric field lines and equipotential contours in several different scenarios can be demanding to imagine. There are mathematical ways to calculate however these methods can be equally or more challenging.

For the first instance before the mathematics of the electric fields is introduced if the electric field lines can be viewed as an output of a simple computer model it can be very beneficial to students for their understanding and retaining/creating their interest and enthusiasm in the subject. Since several parameters in the model can be changed very easily, effects of those parameters on electric field lines can be viewed. The main objective of this article is to demonstrate some such simple modelling possibilities using the available software package.