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## Potential due to cylindrical distribution.

Posted by peeterjoot on February 27, 2012

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting and figures if the post had any (especially if my latex to wordpress script has left FORMULA DOES NOT PARSE errors.)]

# Motivation.

Consider a cylindrical distribution of mass (or charge) as in figure (\ref{fig:cylinderPotential:cylinderPotentialFig1}), with points in the cylinder given by $\mathbf{r}' = (r', \theta ', z')$ coordinates, and the point of measurement of the potential measured at $\mathbf{r} = (r, 0, 0)$.

\begin{figure}[htp]
\centering
\includegraphics[totalheight=0.2\textheight]{cylinderPotentialFig1}
\caption{coordinates for evaluation of cylindrical potential.}
\end{figure}

Our potential, for a uniform distribution, will be proportional to \begin{aligned}\begin{aligned}\phi(r) &= \int \frac{ dV'}{{\left\lvert{\mathbf{r} - \mathbf{r}'}\right\rvert}} \\ &=\int_0^R r' dr' \int_0^{2 \pi } d\theta' \int_{-L}^L \frac{dz' }{\sqrt{(z')^2+ {\left\lvert{r - r' e^{i \theta }}\right\rvert}^2}}.\end{aligned}\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(1.1)

# Attempting to evaluate the integrals.

With \begin{aligned}\int_{-L}^L \frac{1}{\sqrt{z^2+u^2}} \, dz=\log \left(\frac{L+\sqrt{L^2+u^2}}{-L+\sqrt{L^2+u^2}}\right)\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.2)

This is found to be \begin{aligned}\phi(\mathbf{r}) = \int_0^R r' dr' \int_0^{2 \pi } d\theta'\log\left(\frac{L+\sqrt{L^2+ {\left\lvert{r - r' e^{ i \theta }}\right\rvert}^2}}{-L+\sqrt{L^2+ {\left\lvert{r - r' e^{ i \theta }}\right\rvert}^2}}\right)\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.3)

It is clear that we can’t evaluate this limit directly for $L \rightarrow \infty$ since that gives us $\infty/0$ in the logarithm term. Presuming this can be evaluated, we must have to evaluate the complete set of integrals first, then take the limit. Based on the paper http://www.ifi.unicamp.br/~assis/J-Electrostatics-V63-p1115-1131(2005).pdf, it appears that this can be evaluated, however, the approach used therein uses mathematics a great deal more sophisticated than I can grasp without a lot of study.

Can we proceed blindly using computational tools to do the work? Attempting to evaluate the remaining integrals with Mathematica fails, since evaluation of both \begin{aligned}\int_0^R r dr \log \left(a+\sqrt{a^2+r^2+b^2-2 r b \cos (\theta )}\right) \end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.4)

and \begin{aligned}\int_0^{2 \pi } d\theta\log \left(a+\sqrt{a^2+r^2+b^2-2 r b \cos (\theta )}\right) ,\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.5)

either time out, or take long enough that I aborted the attempt to let them evaluate.

## Alternate evaluation order?

We can also attempt to evaluate this by integrating in different orders. We can for example do the $r'$ coordinate integral first \begin{aligned}\begin{aligned}\int_0^R &dr\frac{r}{\sqrt{a^2+r^2-2 r b \cos (\theta )+b^2}} \\ &=\sqrt{a^2+b^2-2 b R \cos (\theta )+R^2} -\sqrt{a^2+b^2} \\ &+b \cos (\theta ) \log \left(\frac{\sqrt{a^2+b^2-2 b R \cos (\theta )+R^2}-b \cos (\theta )+R}{\sqrt{a^2+b^2}-b \cos (\theta )}\right).\end{aligned}\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.6)

It should be noted that this returns a number of hard to comprehend ConditionalExpression terms, so care manipulating this expression may also be required.

If we try the angular integral first, we get \begin{aligned}\int_0^{2 \pi } d\theta\frac{1}{\sqrt{a^2+r^2-2 r b \cos (\theta )+b^2}} =\frac{2 K\left(-\frac{4 b r}{a^2+(b-r)^2}\right)}{\sqrt{a^2+(b-r)^2}}+\frac{2 K\left(\frac{4 b r}{a^2+(b+r)^2}\right)}{\sqrt{a^2+(b+r)^2}}\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.7)

where \begin{aligned}K(m) = F\left( \left.\frac{\pi }{2}\right| m \right)\end{aligned} \hspace{\stretch{1}}(2.8)

is the complete elliptic integral of the first kind. Actually evaluating this integral, especially in the limiting case, probably requires stepping back and thinking a bit (or a lot) instead of blindly trying to evaluate.