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7.1: Comparison of Electrostatics and Magnetostatics

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    Students encountering magnetostatics for the first time have usually been exposed to electrostatics already. Electrostatics and magnetostatics exhibit many similarities. These are summarized in Table \(\PageIndex{1}\). The elements of magnetostatics presented in this table are all formally introduced in other sections; the sole purpose of this table is to point out the similarities. The technical term for these similarities is duality. Duality also exists between voltage and current in electrical circuit theory.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): A summary of the duality between electrostatics and magnetostatics
    electrostatics magnetostatics
    Sources static charge steady current, magnetizable material
    Field intensity \({\bf E}\) (V/m) \({\bf H}\) (A/m)
    Flux density \({\bf D}\) (C/m\(^2\)) \({\bf B}\) (Wb/m\(^2\)=T)
    Material relations \({\bf D}=\epsilon{\bf E}\) \({\bf B}=\mu{\bf H}\)
    \({\bf J}=\sigma{\bf E}\)
    Force on charge \(q\) \({\bf F}=q{\bf E}\) \({\bf F}=q{\bf v} \times {\bf B}\)
    Maxwell’s Eqs.
    \(\oint_{\mathcal S}{\bf D}\cdot d{\bf s} = Q_{encl}\) \(\oint_{\mathcal S}{\bf B}\cdot d{\bf s} = 0\)
    \(\oint_{\mathcal C}{\bf E}\cdot d{\bf l} = 0\) \(\oint_{\mathcal C}{\bf H}\cdot d{\bf l} = I_{encl}\)
    Maxwell’s Eqs.
    \(\nabla\cdot{\bf D}=\rho_v\) \(\nabla\cdot{\bf B}=0\)
    \(\nabla\times{\bf E}=0\) \(\nabla\times{\bf H}={\bf J}\)
    Boundary Conditions \(\hat{\bf n} \times \left[{\bf E}_1-{\bf E}_2\right] = 0\) \(\hat{\bf n} \times \left[{\bf H}_1-{\bf H}_2\right] = {\bf J}_s\)
    \(\hat{\bf n} \cdot \left[{\bf D}_1-{\bf D}_2\right] = \rho_s\) \(\hat{\bf n} \cdot \left[{\bf B}_1-{\bf B}_2\right] = 0\)
    Energy storage Capacitance Inductance
    Energy density \(w_e=\frac{1}{2}\epsilon E^2\) \(w_m=\frac{1}{2}\mu H^2\)
    Energy dissipation Resistance

    Contributors and Attributions

    7.1: Comparison of Electrostatics and Magnetostatics is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Steven W. Ellingson (Virginia Tech Libraries' Open Education Initiative) via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.