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Chapter 4:
Two Standard Shortcuts Used to Transform Electromagnetic Equations
Abstract
The last several chapters have explained how the standard rules for changing units apply to electromagnetic physical quantities. Having become familiar with these rules, we are now sure that electromagnetic equations and formulas transform in a way that makes sense when going from one system of units to another. We also know, however, that following these rules can be algebraically cumbersome, forcing us always to watch for the appearance or disappearance of constants ε 0 and μ 0 as we recognize or refuse to recognize charge as a new dimension. Engineers and physicists are no more eager than anyone else to do unnecessary work; consequently, they have come up with both the free-parameter method and substitution tables, two shortcuts that can greatly reduce the time required to convert electromagnetic equations and formulas from one system of units to another. Unfortunately, neither shortcut is perfect: substitution tables can give ambiguous answers in unusual situations, and to apply the free-parameter method we must first relate our equation or formula to one or more of a predefined list of equations and formulas. Nevertheless, these shortcuts often provide a quick and easy way of transforming electromagnetic expressions; and whenever there is any doubt about the result, the transformation can be checked using the procedures explained in the previous chapters.
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CHAPTER 4
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