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Thread: EM fields in medium

  1. #1 EM fields in medium 
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    If electromagnetic fields propagate through a medium, they would travel slower than light. Wouldn't that allow a longitudinal component to exist? If so, how would Maxwell's equations be written to include the longitudinal field? I would think that since E and B are the transverse fields (along with D and H), then the longitudinal part should be designated by other letters beside those.
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsaucer View Post
    If electromagnetic fields propagate through a medium, they would travel slower than light. Wouldn't that allow a longitudinal component to exist? If so, how would Maxwell's equations be written to include the longitudinal field? I would think that since E and B are the transverse fields (along with D and H), then the longitudinal part should be designated by other letters beside those.
    The equations stay the same, there is no "longitudinal component". See here
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsaucer View Post
    If electromagnetic fields propagate through a medium, they would travel slower than light. Wouldn't that allow a longitudinal component to exist? If so, how would Maxwell's equations be written to include the longitudinal field? I would think that since E and B are the transverse fields (along with D and H), then the longitudinal part should be designated by other letters beside those.
    Maxwell's equations should not be changed, as they are based on rather fundamental and well tested experiments. Rather recognize that the solutions change as a function of boundary conditions.

    Free space longitudinal waves are not supported by the universe we inhabit. However it possible to support longitudinal modes in confined spaces. The near field behaviour of an antenna contains longitudinal components, but these do not propagate.
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