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Jomel Maroma

Ps172 A: Electromagnetic Energy Transfer


Dr. Joel Maquiling
June 27, 2016
1. Define the Poynting vector, including the unit for the Poynting vector.
Electric and magnetic fields store energy. Specifically, the energy densities associated
with electric ( u E ) and magnetic fields ( uB ) are given by the following expressions:
1
B2
2
u E +uB = 0 E +
2
2 0
Thus, energy is also carried by electromagnetic waves, which consist of both fields.
For illustration purposes, consider a plane electromagnetic wave passing through an
infinitesimal volume of area A and thickness dr, as shown in the figure below.

dr=c(dt)

The total energy passing through the volume element is given by


dU =uAdr=( u E +u B ) Adr
Using the relationship dr= cdt, one may obtain a time rate of change per unit area and denote
it with a symbol S:
2
dU c
2 B
S=
= E+
Adt 2 0
0

Since

S=

E=cB

and

c=

1
0 0 , the aforementioned expression may be written as

c
B2
c B2 EB
0 E2 +
=c 0 E2=
=
2
0
0
0

In general, the directional energy flux, or the rate of energy flow per unit area, is described by
the Poynting vector S:
1
xH

S = ( E x B ) = E
0
The SI unit of S is W/m2, and the vector notation means that it is pointing in the direction of
propagation. It is named after its discoverer John Henry Poynting who derived it in 1884.
Other units of the Poynting vector include J/(m2 sec).
2. The geometric meaning of the Poynting vector, i.e. where does it point.
The Poynting vector, by virtue of being the cross product of E and B, points in the
direction of propagation of the electromagnetic wave. As an example, suppose the electric
and magnetic field components of a planar wave are
=E 0 sin ( kxt ) ^j
E
and
^

E=B
0 sin ( kxt ) k
The Poynting vector is obtained as follows.
As expected, it points in the direction of propagation.

3. What is its physical meaning?


1. Construct a problem that requires an electric field and a magnetic field. Solve the
problem. And find the Poynting vector.
2. Insight on the difficulty of writing and solving a problem.