Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/108

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104
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Inside the rods we have a movement of electrons and co-electrons to and fro, electric charges at the ends of the rods alternating with electric currents in the rods, the charges being at a maximum when the current is zero, and the current at a maximum when the charges have for the moment disappeared. Outside the rods we have a corresponding set of charges, lines of electric strain stretching from end to end of the rod, alternating with rings of magnetic flux embracing the rod. So far we have supposed the oscillation to be relatively a slow one.

Imagine next that the to and fro movement of the electrons or charges is sufficiently rapid to bring into play the inertia quality of the medium. We then have a different state of affairs. The lines of strain in the external medium can not contract or collapse quickly

 

PSM V63 D108 Successive stages in the deformation between positive and negative electrons.png

Fig. 2. Successive Stages in the Deformation of a Line of Strain between Positive and Negative Electrons in Rapid Oscillation, showing Closed Loop of Electric Strain thrown off.

 

enough to keep up with the course of events, or movements of the electrons in the rods, and hence their regular contraction and absorption is changed into a process of a different kind. As the electrons and coelectrons, i. e., the electric charges, vibrate to and fro, the lines of electric strain connecting them are nipped in and thrown off as completely independent and closed lines of electric strain, and at each successive alternation, groups or batches of these loops of strain are detached from the rod, and, so to speak, take on an independent existence. The whole process of the formation of these self-closed lines of electric strain is best understood by examining a series of diagrams which roughly represent the various stages of the process. In Fig. 2 we have a diagram (a) the curved line in which delineates approxi-