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Visual Electro Magnetics (Vem): A Visualization Tool To Enhance Learning In Undergraduate Electromagnetics

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1135.1 - 6.1135.5



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Paper Authors

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David Voltmer

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William Tierney

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B. Garner

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #2220

Visual Electromagnetics (VEM): A Student Learning Tool Dion Garner, William Tierney Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane

David Voltmer Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Visual ElectroMagnetics (VEM) is a 2-D static electromagnetic simulator designed as a visualization aid for students in undergraduate electromagnetic courses. VEM utilizes finite difference techniques in conductive, dielectric, and magnetic environments. The VEM code, written in MATLAB for Windows 95/98, provides an inexpensive, user-friendly graphical interface that is platform independent. VEM consists of a structure window in which the user enters electromagnetic materials and sources via common drawing tools and pop-up menus. The solver button generates the system matrix, solves it, and activates the solutions window in which the results are displayed in a variety of user-selected viewing modes. Though the solution region is finite in extent, a compact simulation of the open boundaries of infinite extent is achieved via the Transparent Grid Termination (TGT). Preliminary evaluations of the enhancement of student learning by VEM are promising. A full demonstration of VEM will be included in the presentation.

1. Introduction

Traditional analytic methods are at the heart of many electromagnetic courses. They provide the mathematical basis upon which the theory of electromagnetics is based and provide conceptual views that offer insight into the behavior of electromagnetic fields. However, they are not effective in solving the variety and complexity of modern industrial applications. With industry leading the way, numeric tools have become the very heart of modern electromagnetics. With this in mind, introductory courses in engineering electromagnetics and the accompanying textbooks 1 are changing to include numeric techniques, not just the tools, but the underlying principles as well. This paper focuses upon the requirements, implementation, and results of using an appropriate numeric electromagnetics simulator in introductory courses.

2. Application Software Requirements

Many numeric electromagnetic application packages offer sophisticated and accurate solutions. Quite obviously, the overall goal is to enhance students’ learning experiences. But which package is most appropriate for student use? Our deliberations lead to seven basic requirements. A) Easy to Learn: The software should not take significant time to learn. The more intuitive the better since time taken to learn the software is time taken from the course. B) Simple to Use: Problem setup should take only a few minutes. This process consists of making a rough sketch of the geometry and filling in material and sources.

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Voltmer, D., & Tierney, W., & Garner, B. (2001, June), Visual Electro Magnetics (Vem): A Visualization Tool To Enhance Learning In Undergraduate Electromagnetics Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9998

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