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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Maxwell stress on a small dielectric sphere in a dielectric

Vitaly V. Datsyuk and Oleg R. Pavlyniuk

Electrically induced normal pressure and tangential stress at the surface of a small dielectric sphere (or cavity) in a dielectric are calculated using the Minkowski, Einstein-Laub, Abraham, and Lorentz forms of the Maxwell stress tensor. Only the Lorentz tensor is in agreement with the following observations: (1) A spherical cavity in a dielectric transforms into a sharp-edge plate perpendicular to the electric field; (2) a liquid drop placed in a medium with a slightly lower refractive index is stretched along the electric field; and (3) there is a torque on a small birefringent sphere. These phenomena cannot be explained by the conventional theory using the Minkowski stress tensor. For example, the Minkowski stress tensor predicts lateral compression of a spherical cavity in a dielectric.

DOI
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