Guided Tour | Vector Fields | Electrostatics | Magnetostatics | Faraday's Law | Light | Course Notes | Resources
MIT Physics 8.02 - Electricity & Magnetism

SECTION : Electrostatics          

SUBJECT: Interactive Molecules 3D  
Fullscreen Version  

Molecules 3D simulates the interaction of charged particles in three dimensional space. The particles interact via the classical Coulomb force, as well as the repulsive quantum-mechanical Pauli force, which acts at close distances (accounting for the "collisions" between them). The motion of the particles is also damped by a term proportional to their velocity, allowing them to "settle down" into stable (or meta-stable) states.

Moving in response to these forces, the particles will eventually end up in a configuration of minimum potential, where the net force on any given particle is essentially zero. Generally, individual particles will first pair off into dipoles and then slowly combine into larger structures. Rings and straight lines are the most common configurations, but by manipulating particles manually, they can be coaxed into more complex meta-stable formations. Additionally, pressing "w" will toggle the presence of potential well directed radially inward toward the center of the 3d space. This can be used to bring the particles closer to one another if they start to drift apart.



Instructions (popup window)  
Restart Simulation  
NOTE: You will need the Macromedia Shockwave Plugin to view this simulation. If you do not already have it, it will be downloaded automatically if you are connected to the Internet.