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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The aim of the course is to teach the basics of classical electromagnetism, both in vacuum and in isotropic and homogeneous media, in such a way that the student can understand simple problems and use the basic laws to solve them. This subject is at the basis of many other courses taught for the degrees in engineering in electronics and telecommunication, engineering in automation and engineering in computer science. The course includes both theoretical and exercise classes.

The main knowledge acquired upon the course will be:

- Description of electric phenomena in vacuum and in the matter, and interpretation of these phenomena through the concept of electric field and electric potential.

- Description of magnetic phenomena in vacuum and in the matter, and interpretation of these phenomena through the concept of magnetic field and interaction between magnetic field and magnetic momentum of atoms.

The main skills developed upon the course will be:

- Ability to analyze and to solve simple problems about electric and magnetic phenomena such as electrical conduction, calculation of electric and magnetic field in the space and calculation of interaction forces between electric charges or between wires bringing current and external magnetic fields.

- Development of an analytic attitude leading the student to decompose a problem in sub-tasks which can be solved with the knowledge already acquired.


Notions in mathematics neccessary for the course are: cartesian, polar and cylindrical coordinate systems; trigonometry; vector algebra; integral and differential calculus of one variable functions.
Furthermore many of the notions taught during the course of Fisica I are also necessary.
At the beginning of the course, some basic introduction to vector algebra and differential vector operators are presented to the students. Gauss and Stokes theorem is also introduced.

Course programme

Electrostatics: Experimental results; the electric charge; Coulomb's law and definition of the electric field; the principle of superposition; the electrostatic potential; the electric dipole; flux of a vector field; Gauss's law; the equations for electrostatics.

Electrostatics and conductors: Capacity and associated energy; capacitors in series and parallel.

Electric current: Electromotive force; current density and current intensity; principle of conservation of electric charge; Ohm's law; Joule's law; resistences in series and parallel. Kirchhoff's laws.

Magnetostatics: The sources of the magnetic field and experimental facts; the law of Biot-Savart; I and II laws of Laplace; definition of the Ampere; magnetic dipole of a current loop; line integrals on closed loops and Ampere's Law; integral and differential forms for the equations of magnetostatics;

Electromagnetic induction: The Lorentz force; Faraday's law of induction and Lenz's law; Foucault currents; rotor of the electric field; inductance and associated energy; the RL circuit; mutual inductance.

The electric field in matter: Experimental aspects; molecular polarization; polar and non polar dielectrics; polarization density vector; surface and volumetric polarization charge density; electric displacement field vector; divergence of the electric displacement vector; electric susceptibility and dielectric constant; electric potential in dielectric media; continuity conditions of the electric and electric displacement vectors at the interface of two isotropic and homogeneous dielectrics; force on a dielectric in a capacitor; dielectric strength.

Magnetic field in matter: Orbital and spin magnetic moments in atoms; diamagnetism and paramagnetism; magnetization intensity; surface and volumetric magnetization currents; Ampère's law in matter; magnetic field intensity vector; magnetic permeability and susceptibility; continuity of the magnetic field and intensity at the interface of isotropic and homogeneous materials; ferromagnetism; hysteresis; magnetic circuits and Hopkinson's law; force acting on materials in a magnetic field;

Maxwell's Equations and waves: The displacement current and Maxwell's equations in vacuum in integral and differential form; associated wave equation; speed of light in vacuum; plane waves.

Didactic methods

The course is divided in 50% theoretical lessons and 50% exercise classes.

Learning assessment procedures

The purpose of the exam is to verify the level of mastery of the teaching objectives listed above.

The level of preparation is verified at the end of the course by means of a written exam divided into 3 exercises and a general question of the theory introduced during the course.

Every exercise and the question have the same score of 8.5. Every exercise is furtherly divided into 3 or more questions representing a fraction of the total exercise score.

For every exercise the score is proportional to the number of questions correctly addressed up to a maximum of 8.5. For the theory question the score is based on the degree of completeness, clarity and correctness of the answer.
The final score is the sum of the scores associated to each exercise and to the question of theory. To pass the exam the final score has to be greater or equal to 18.

Students can choose the oral exam as an option: during this exam the students will be asked to solve an exercise at the blackboard and to answer to question about the comprehension of the theory of electricity and magnetism introduced during this course. The exercise has a maximum score of 12 and the 3 questions of theory have a maximum total score of 22.

The student can have access to the exam with pen, pencil and portable calculator. A short list of formulae is provided to the students along with the text of the exam. A single reference book is also available on the teacher desk.

The use of mobile phone is forbidden.

Reference texts

Main reference book:

Authors: David Halliday, Robert Resnick, Jearl Walker
Title: Fondamenti di fisica. Vol. 2: Elettrologia, magnetismo, ottica, Settima edizione
Editor: Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
ISBN: 9788808183118

Books for further insights:

Authors: R. A. Serway, J. W. Jewett Jr.
Titolo: Fisica per Scienze ed Ingegneria - Volume secondo
Editore: Edises
ISBN: 9788879598248

Authors: Mazzoldi, Nigro, Voci.
Title: Elementi di Fisica II: Elettromagnetismo - Onde.
Editor : Casa editrice: EdiSES.
ISBN: 978-8879591522