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1
Two identical current loops have currents I flowing in opposite directions, as shown.

The net force between the two loops is: attractive or repulsive?

Solution: Two different principles are at play here: we need to know the direc-
tion of the magnetic field created by one of the wires, and then what direction the
force on the other wire due to that field is. For the first part, we need to use the
Biot-Savart law:
µ0 dl × r̂
B= I 2 (1)
4π r
Let’s think about the bottom wire. Using the right hand rule and considering a point
on the wire , we see that the vector in the direction of the current (dl) crossed into
the vector in the direction of r̂ gives a magnetic field out of the page.

If you do that all the way around the circle, you can see that the magnetic field
points radially outward from that upper loop. Now we need to see what the force on
the top loop is due to this field. Using the Lorentz force law,

B = Idl × B (2)
2

we see that the direction is given through the right hand rule:

So, the force is up. By symmetry, the force on the bottom loop will be down. Thus,
the net force between the loops is repulsive.
3

2
For the circuit shown in the figure below use the values:

E0 = 150V
R1 = 317Ω
R2 = 951Ω
C = 7.15µF

What is the initial battery current immediately after the switch S is closed?

Solution: Right after the switch is closed, the capacitor is uncharged. Thus, there
is essentially no voltage drop across it, so it behaves like a wire - current can pass
through it without any resistance. Thus, resistor R2 is short-circuited and so the
battery current is simply:

I = V /R = E0 /R1 = 150V/317Ω = 473mA (3)

4

3
What is the battery current a long time after the switch S is closed?

Solution: A long time after the current has been running through the circuit, the
capacitor will be fully charged and so no current can pass through it. Thus, the
current is routed through both R1 and R2 and will completely ignore the wire with
the capacitor on it. The current is then:

I = V /R = E0 /(R1 + R2 ) = 150V/(317 + 951)Ω = 118mA (4)

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4
4) A solenoid is required to produce a magnetic field at its center of magnitude B =
15T. It is to have length L = 2m, bore radius a = 10cm, and can be approximated as
an infinitely long object. It is to be constructed of 10,000 turns of superconducting
wire. What current must the wire carry to produce the desired field?

Solution: Ampere’s law (or your crib sheet!) tells us that the magnetic field in the
center of this solenoid is:
B = µ0 nI. (5)
where n is the turn density. We can then solve for I:

B (15T)(2m)
I= = −7
≈ 2.4 × 103 A (6)
µ0 n 4π × 10 (V·s/(A·m))(10000)
6

5
Two wires are made from the same material. Which of the following is true?

A) If one is twice as long as the other, it needs to be twice as thick in order to

have the same resistance.

B) As long as their diameter is the same, they have equal resistance, independent
from their length.

C) If one is 9 times longer than the other, it needs to be 3 times thicker in order
to have the same resistance.

D) As long as their length is the same, they have equal resistance, independent of
their diameter.

Solution: We know that the resistance of a material is proportional to its length

and inversely proportional to its area. Since area is proportional to diameter squared
(A = πr2 = π(d/2)2 ), then we know that A cannot be correct since twice as thick
means 4 times the area, so the resistance would decrease by a factor of 2. B also
cannot be correct, since that ignores the length dependence. C) could be correct,
since if the length is 9 times bigger, the area needs to be 9 times bigger as well, which,
since it depends on diameter squared, requires that it be 3 times thicker. Finally, D)
ignores the area dependence of resistance. The answer then is C.
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6
Two capacitors half-filled with a dielectric are shown in the figure below:

If Ca is the capacitance of the configuration on the left and Cb is the capacitance of

the configuration on the right, which of the following is true?

A) Ca < Cb

B) Ca = Cb

C) Need to know the value of the dielectric constant

D) Ca > Cb

A key thing to recognize with this problem is that the setup on the left is two capac-
itors in parallel, while the setup on the right is two capacitors in series. Recognizing
that, let’s find out what the equivalent capacitance for each layout is. Starting with
the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor and remembering that in free space,
κ = 1, we have:
κ0 A
C= . (7)
d
8

Start with the left configuration. Here we have two capacitors, each with separation
distance d but only half the total area:
κ0 A 0 A
Ca = +
2d 2d
0 A
= (1 + κ).
2d
Now let’s consider the right configuration, where we have two capacitors in series
with area A but now only half the separation distance:
1 d d
= +
Cb 2κ0 A 20 A
d(κ + 1)
=
2κ0 A
20 A κ
=⇒ Cb =
d κ+1
Comparing these two results, we see that the value of each depends on the value of
κ. If κ is small (take it to be close to one), then we have:

0 A 0 A
Ca ≈ (1 + 1) =
2d d
20 A 1 0 A
Cb ≈ =
d 1+1 d
=⇒ Ca = Cb , κ → 1

However, notice that this only ever occurs if κ = 1. Since κ is always slightly greater
than 1, Ca will actually be slightly greater than Cb in this limit. Now take κ to be
large. In this case,
0 A
Ca ≈ κ
2d
20 A κ 20 A
Cb ≈ =
d κ d
=⇒ Ca  Cb , κ  1

So we see that in both cases Ca > Cb . A numerical plot of the ratio Ca /Cb as a
function of k justifies this further:
9

In:= Ca = a  2 * H 1 + k L;
Cb = 2 * a * H k  H k + 1LL;
Plot@Ca  Cb . a ® 1., 8k , 0, 2<D

1.7

1.6

1.5

1.4
Out=

1.3

1.2

1.1

0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0

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7
7) The next three questions pertain to the situation described below: An electron of
mass m(9.1 × 10−31 kg) and charge q(−1.6 × 10−19 C) is accelerated to the right (in
the plane of the page) from rest through a potential difference V = 1, 500V. The
electron then enters a region, defined by x > 0, containing a uniform magnetic field
B = 0.3T out of the page.

When the electron enters the region with the magnetic field the force on it is directed

Solution: The force is given by the Lorentz force equation:

F = qv × B (8)

Using the right hand rule, fingers point to the right (direction of v), curl up out
of the page (towards B), so that the thumb points down. However, since it is an
electron, q is negative and so the force is opposite what the RH rule gives. So the
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8
When the electron is in the magnetic field region, its speed

A) Remains constant

B) Decreases

C) Increases

Solution: The Lorentz force law shows us that the force acts perpendicularly to the
velocity. Thus, it does no work, since this force acts perpendicular to the displace-
ment of the particle. Therefore there is no energy loss, so its kinetic energy ( 12 mv 2 )
remains the same, so v is constant.
12

9
How much time T does the electron spend in the magnetic field region?

Solution: The force on the electron in the field region is always perpendicular
to the velocity; thus, it follows a circular path through the magnetic field. We can
find the radius of this path through Newton’s second law, setting the Lorentz force
equal to its mass times the (centripetal) acceleration:

mv 2
qvB =
r
mv
=⇒ r =
qB
πmv
Thus, the electron travels a semi-circular path of circumference qB
, so at speed v it
will take time:
mvπ
vT =
qB

=⇒ T = .
qB
Notice that this is independent of how fast the electron was moving! That means
that we don’t need to worry about using conservation of energy and the potential
difference that the electron was accelerated through to calculate its initial velocity.
We can simply calculate

T = π(9.1 × 10−31 kg)/(1.6 × 10−19 C)/(0.3T) ≈ 6 × 10−11 s (9)

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10
Doubling the potential difference across a capacitor:

E) Produces none of the other results.

Solution: Let’s step through each possibility. We know that the capacitance is the
proportionality constant between the stored charge and the voltage:

C = Q/V. (10)

If we double the potential difference, this relationship tells us that either the charge
must double or the capacitance must get a factor of 2 smaller. This rules out options
A, B, and E. At face value from this equation, it seems like either C or D could be true
- but keep in mind that the capacitance of an object is a purely geometric/physical
quantity. It only depends on what you could actually build (separation distance,
surface area, radius, etc...) and does not depend on the charge stored on it or
voltage put across it. So this eliminates option D, so we must choose C
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11
The figure below applies to the next two problems. Consider the two cases shown be-
low. In each case a conductor carries the same total current I = 2 amps into the page,
and in each case the current is uniformly distributed over the cross-section of the
conductor. In Case 1 the conductor is a cylindrical shell of outer radius R0 = 10cm
and inner radius R1 = 7.5cm. In Case 2 the conductor is a solid cylinder having the
same outer radius R0 = 10cm.

Compare B1 (a), the magnitude of the magnetic field at point a(r = 5cm) in Case
1 to B2 (a), the magnitude of the magnetic field at point a(r = 5cm) in Case 2.

A) B1 (a) = B2 (a).

Solution: This problem is an application of Ampere’s law. By drawing a circular

Amperian loop with radius 5 cm inside each wire, we see that in case A there is no
enclosed current, whereas in case B there is some enclosed current (which we could
calculate by comparing the ratio of enclosed area / total area vs enclosed current /
total current, but don’t need to here). Thus the magnetic field at a must be greater
in case 2, so we choose B.
15

12
What is the y component of the magnetic field at point b(r = 15cm) in Case 2?

Solution: We can solve for the magnitude of the magnetic field using Ampere’s
law, this time with a circular amperian loop of radius 15cm:
I
B · dl = µ0 Ienc

=⇒ B2πr = µ0 Ienc
µ0 (2A)
=⇒ B =
2π15cm
By using the right hand rule we can see that, with the thumb pointing into the page,
the magnetic field at this point points only in the -y direction. Thus, we get:
~ = 2.67 × 10−6 T (−ŷ) = −2.67 × 10−6 T in the y direction
B (11)
16

13
An inductance L and resistance R are connected in series with a battery as in the
figure below. A long time after switch S1 is closed, the current is 2.1 A. When the
battery is switched out of the circuit by opening switch S1 and closing S2 , the current
drops to 1.5 A in 44 ms.

What is the time constant for this circuit?

A) 14 ms
B) 29 ms
C) 130 ms
D) 261 ms
E) 42 ms
Solution: If you didn’t remember the correct equation here, you could still have
come up with its general form by thinking about what will happen physically to the
inductor. For a long time switch S1 is closed, meaning that current will flow from
the battery through both resistors and then through the inductor. This steady-state
current is given to be 2.1 A. Then, we know if we close S2 and open S1 , the stored
energy in the inductor will produce a current that will then drop asymptotically to
zero. Rembering that decay of this form always takes an exponential form, we see
that an equation that will satisfy both of these conditions is:

I(t) = I0 e−t/τ (12)

17

where I0 = 2.1A and τ is the time constant. We can now solve for the time constant
by using the other information:

I(44ms) = 1.5A = 2.1Ae−44ms/τ

1.5
=⇒ = e−44ms/τ
2.1
1.5
=⇒ − ln( ) = 44ms/τ
2.1
44ms
=⇒ τ = = 130ms
− ln(1.5/2.1)
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14
14) The next three questions pertain to the situation described below: Two fixed
conductors are connected by a resistor R = 20Ω. The two fixed conductors are
separated by L = 2.5m and lie horizontally. A moving conductor of mass m slides
on them at a constant speed v, producing a current of 3.75 amps. A magnetic field
(shown by the black dots in the figure) with magnitude 5 T points out of the page.

In what direction does the current flow through the moving conductor when the bar
is sliding in the direction shown?

A) To the left

B) To the right

Solution: Lenz’s law states that the induced current will attempt to preserve the
status quo. Since the effect of the rod falling is to increase the area that the magnetic
field lines pass through, the flux is increasing (with the magnetic field pointing out of
the page). Thus, a current will be induced such that a magnetic field into the page
is increases. The right hand rule gives this as a clockwise current, so it will flow the
the left through the moving conductor.
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15
15) At what speed is the bar moving?
A) 6 m/s
B) 3 m/s
C) 5 m/s
D) 1 m/s
E) 9 m/s
Solution: We know the induced current, so we can use that to find out what the
change in flux is using Faraday’s law:
dΦB
E =−
dt
d
=⇒ (3.75A)(20Ω) = − (B(Lh))
dt
dh
= −(5T )(2.5m)
dt
(3.75A)(20Ω) dh
=⇒ =− =v
(5T )(2.5m) dt
=⇒ v = 6m/s
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16
16) What is the magnetic force on the bar?
A) 28 N
B) 47 N
C) 51 N
D) 37 N
E) 19 N
Solution: Even though the bar is moving, it is essentially neutral and so there is
no magnetic force on it due to its velocity and the charges that it is made out of.
However, since there is a current flowing through it, there is a magnetic force due to
this net current:
F = ILB = (3.75A)(2.5m)(5T ) ≈ 47N (13)