# Page:A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism - Volume 2.djvu/262

230 [607.

GENERAL EQUATIONS.

by permanent magnets in many respects, resembles it also in being related to a potential?

The evidence that an electric circuit produces, in the space surrounding it, magnetic effects precisely the same as those produced by a magnetic shell bounded by the circuit, has been stated in Arts. 482-485.

We know that in the case of the magnetic shelf there is a potential, which has a determinate value for all points outside the substance of the shell, but that the values of the potential at two neighbouring points, on opposite sides of the shell, differ by a finite quantity.

If the magnetic field in the neighbourhood of an electric current resembles that in the neighbourhood of a magnetic shell, the magnetic potential, as found by a line-integration of the magnetic force, will be the same for any two lines of integration, provided one of these lines can be transformed into the other by continuous motion without cutting the electric current.

If, however, one line of integration cannot be transformed into the other without cutting the current, the line-integral of the magnetic force along the one line will differ from that along the other by a quantity depending on the strength of the current. The magnetic potential due to an electric current is therefore a function having an infinite series of values with a common difference, the particular value depending on the course of the line of integration. Within the substance of the conductor, there is no such thing as a magnetic potential.

607.] Assuming that the magnetic action of a current has a magnetic potential of this kind, we proceed to express this result mathematically.

In the first place, the line-integral of the magnetic force round any closed curve is zero, provided the closed curve does not surround the electric current.

In the next place, if the current passes once, and only once, through the closed curve in the positive direction, the line-integral has a determinate value, which may be used as a measure of the strength of the current. For if the closed curve alters its form in any continuous manner without cutting the current, the line-integral will remain the same.

In electromagnetic measure, the line-integral of the magnetic force round a closed curve is numerically equal to the current through the closed curve multiplied by 4π.