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Discovering electricity by computer-based experiments

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2 Author(s)
Svajger, J. ; Fac. of Electr. Eng., LANE, Ljubljana, Slovenia ; Valencic, Vojko

This paper presents a particle-based simulation tool for constructing and conducting virtual experiments from the topics of electricity and magnetism. This novel tool, named Jacob ("Java constructive objects"), is designed for students and lecturers of electrical engineering. Constructive objects in Jacob are building blocks, e.g., charged particles, conductive elements, imaginary forces, gauges, etc., that assemble experimental scenes. The computational engine of Jacob then iteratively solves the scene by considering built-in natural principles of interaction between constructive objects. Each iteration step is visualized giving real-time look and feel of the simulated phenomenon. The evaluation of accuracy of the utilized particle-particle method in contrast to traditional computational methods is also presented. Although Jacob is basically a stand-alone application, it can also function within a web browser as an applet, while its features can be accessed and driven by Javascript functions in HTML. Other prime features include MATLAB connectivity interface and XML-based configuration system. Finally, Jacob is an open source project available under the terms of GNU (General Public License), allowing developers to fully modify it or extend it to suit their needs.

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 4 )