Part III General Equations of the Electromagnetic Field (53) Let us assume three rectangular directions in space as the axes of x and z and let all quantities having direction be reduced to these directions so as to be expressed by their components in these three directions. Electrical Currents (p q r) (54) An electrical current consists in the transmission of electricity from one part of a body to another. Let the quantity of electricity transmitted in unit of time across unit of area perpendicular to the <s>direction<\s> axis of x be called p, then p is the component of the current at that place in the direction of x We shall use the letters p q r to denote the components of the current per unit of area in the <s>coordinate<\s> directions of x, y , z. Electrical Displacements (f g h) (55) Electrical Displacement consists in the <s>[text?] polarization which<\s> opposite electrification of the sides of a molecule or particle of a body which may or may not be accompanied with transmission through the body. Let the quantity of electricity which would appear on the faces dy dz of an element dx dy dz cut from the body be f <s>dx<\s> dy dz then f is the component of electric displacement parallel to x. We shall use f, g, h to denote the electric displacements parallel to x y z respectively. The variations of the electrical displacement must be added to the currents p q r to get the total motion of electricity which we may call p' q' r', so that p' = p + df/dt q' = q + dg/dt r' = r + dh/dt
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Manuscript details
 Author
 James Clerk Maxwell
 Reference
 PT/72/7
 Series
 PT
 Date
 1864
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Cite as
J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’, 1864. From The Royal Society, PT/72/7
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