Equipotential surface

Encyclopedia

**Equipotential surfaces**are surface

Surface

In mathematics, specifically in topology, a surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The most familiar examples are those that arise as the boundaries of solid objects in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space R3 — for example, the surface of a ball...

s of constant scalar potential

Scalar potential

A scalar potential is a fundamental concept in vector analysis and physics . The scalar potential is an example of a scalar field...

. They are used to visualize an (n)-dimensional scalar potential function in (n-1) dimensional space. The gradient

Gradient

In vector calculus, the gradient of a scalar field is a vector field that points in the direction of the greatest rate of increase of the scalar field, and whose magnitude is the greatest rate of change....

of the potential, denoting the direction of greatest increase, is perpendicular

Perpendicular

In geometry, two lines or planes are considered perpendicular to each other if they form congruent adjacent angles . The term may be used as a noun or adjective...

to the surface.

In electrostatics, the work done to move a charge from any point on the equipotential surface to any other point on the equpotential surface is zero since they are at the same potential. Furthermore, equipotential surfaces are always perpendicular to the net electric field lines passing through it.

The term is used in electrostatics

Electrostatics

Electrostatics is the branch of physics that deals with the phenomena and properties of stationary or slow-moving electric charges....

, fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics is the study of fluids and the forces on them. Fluid mechanics can be divided into fluid statics, the study of fluids at rest; fluid kinematics, the study of fluids in motion; and fluid dynamics, the study of the effect of forces on fluid motion...

, and geodesy

Geodesy

Geodesy , also named geodetics, a branch of earth sciences, is the scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space. Geodesists also study geodynamical phenomena such as crustal...

.