What are electric field lines and equipotential lines?


Quick Answer

Electric field lines are drawn around charges to represent the direction as well as the strength of the field around the charges. Equipotential lines are drawn perpendicular to each electric field line and connect the electric field lines at points where their field strengths or potential difference are equal.

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Full Answer

All charges exert a force on other charges present in close proximity to them. When two charges are separated, the force between them decreases with increase in distance. Stronger charges can exert a force over greater distances. The influence of a charge is represented as the electric field of the charge and can be drawn diagrammatically as electric field lines. The field lines give information on the direction of the field and the intensity of the field at any given point. Electric field lines are drawn such that they originate from the positive charge and end at a negative charge. Strong electric fields are represented by field lines drawn close together. Uniform electric fields have parallel electric field lines.

Equipotential lines connect the various points near a charge that have equal intensity. This is measured as the potential difference or voltage. Equipotential lines are drawn perpendicular to the electric field lines and tend to curve around a single charge. Uniform electric fields have equipotential lines which are parallel to each other and the electric plates but perpendicular to the field lines.

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