physics question #262

Todd, a 17 year old male from the Internet asks on September 30, 2001,

Q:

I am curious. What if two magnetic field lines were to intersect each other? What would this imply about the forces that act on a charge moving through this region?

viewed 17741 times

James Livingston answered on October 1, 2001, A:

It's important to realize that magnetic field lines are abstract mathematical concepts, not physical realities. Their direction represents the direction of the magnetic field at a position in space, and their density represents the strength of that field. (The direction and strength of the magnetic field in turn yields information on magnetic forces, such as forces on moving charges.) Since the magnetic field is a vector that can point in only one direction at a given position in space, magnetic field lines cannot intersect. If there are two separate sources of magnetic fields, the net field at a point would be given by a vector sum of the separate field vectors.

Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.
 Name:: (required) Email Address: (required if you would like a response) Comments:
Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.
If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to science.ca.