In undergraduate classes, the potential flow that goes around a circular cylinder is designed to complement the understanding of the mathematical technique to handle the Laplace equation with Neumann boundary conditions and the physical concept of multipole expansion. The simplicity of the standard problem is suited for the introductory level; however, it has a drawback. The discussion of higher order multipoles is often missed because the exact analytical solution contains only the dipole term. In this article, we present a modified problem of the potential flow around a rectangle as an advanced problem. Although the exact solution of this case is intractable, the approximate solution can be obtained by the discretization and the optimization using multiple linear regression. The suggested problem is expected to deepen the students' insight into the concept of multipoles and also provides an opportunity to discuss the formalism of the regression analysis, which in many physics curricula is lacking even though it has a significant importance in experimental physics.

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See supplemental material at http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/10.0000264 sample computational codes written for R and Octave to calculate the coefficients of the truncated series.

Supplementary Material

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