Equipotential Surface


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equipotential surface

[¦e·kwə·pə′ten·chəl ′sər·fəs]
(electricity)
A surface on which the electric potential is the same at every point.
(geophysics)
A surface characterized by the potential being constant everywhere on it for the attractive forces concerned.
(mechanics)
A surface which is always normal to the lines of force of a field and on which the potential is everywhere the same.

Equipotential Surface

 

in geodesy, a surface where the gravitational potential is the same at all points. The direction of the normal to an equipotential surface coincides with the direction of the force of gravity, that is, with the plumb line. An example of an equipotential surface is the surface of a liquid in equilibrium. The equipotential surface of the earth’s gravity field coincides with the mean water level in the oceans; this surface is called the geoid and is taken as the mathematical surface of the earth, or the “sea level,” from which the heights of points of the earth’s surface are measured. The form of the geoid is highly complex and depends on the internal structure of the earth.


Equipotential Surface

 

a surface all of whose points have the same potential. For example, the surface of a conductor in electrostatics is an equipotential surface. In a force field the lines of force are normal, or perpendicular, to an equipotential surface.

References in periodicals archive ?
Accordingly, the equipotential surfaces of the Earth are curved (Fig.
Geopotential numbers are determined in GRS 80 normal field, applying the new European gravity system and evaluating non-linearity of GRS 80 normal field equipotential surfaces (Moritz 1988).
To determine normal height differences of points, it is necessary to evaluate non-paralellity of normal field equipotential surfaces as well as real and normal field non-coincidence.