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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Maxwell’s Equations Using Open Source Three Dimensional Motion Systems
by Helms, Galen, M.S., New Mexico State University, 2020, 73; 28255699
Abstract (Summary)

3D Printing has become almost commonplace with the technology being used in many areas of science and engineering. Students in STEM fields of study often take two semesters of physics, the second semester being the study of electricity and magnetism. In contrast to classical mechanics, where contact forces relate directly to everyday experience, electrical and magnetic fields are more abstract and difficult to grasp. My research combined my expertise in physics and engineering to develop a strategy that addresses this learning difficulty and shows a real-world example for the benefits of interdisciplinary skills. In my research, I replaced the print head of a 3D printer with a sensor, developed the software to synchronize the motion system with the sensor readout, and adjusted the controller of the 3D printer to reflect the altered use of the 3D printer.

Moreover, I developed analysis tools for easy processing of the digital readout. In the present application, I measured the three cartesian components of the magnetic field of bar magnets with a hall probe. During accuracy tests of the 3D printer positioning system, I found an accuracy of ~7 µm. I also found that each component of the magnetic field in a rectangular area of 9 cm x 9 cm consisting of 8100 measurement locations can be obtained within ~45 minutes, well within the duration of a lecture. The measurement results are consistent with the magnetic field morphology as predicted by Maxwell’s equations. However, a more detailed comparison shows differences that the observed systematic difference can be attributed to a demagnetization field, which is usually not treated in standard electricity and magnetism courses. However, besides verifying Maxwell’s equations, my results offer new opportunities for in-class demonstration experiments, emphasizing the significance of interdisciplinary skills, including physics, engineering, and computer science. Given the general setup of the measurement strategy, I expect that this strategy may be useful in other areas, such as chemistry, biology, and agriculture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kiefer, Boris
Commitee: Nakotte, Heinrich, Engelhardt, Michael , Xu, Pei
School: New Mexico State University
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: MAI 82/7(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Physics, Science education
Keywords: 3D printing, Maxwell’s equations, Physics education
Publication Number: 28255699
ISBN: 9798557087582
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