For questions that utilize the concept of electric fields (commonly denoted by the letter E), or for questions whose answers likely involve electric fields. More specific than the [tag:electricity], as questions about the phenomenon & theory of electricity do not necessarily involve the discussion ...

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33
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5answers
5k views

How is it possible to accelerate a neutron?

It is possible to accelerate a charged particle in an electric field, how is it possible to accelerate a neutron? How can we control its velocity?
30
votes
1answer
1k views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Detection of the Electric Charge of a Black Hole

By the "No Hair Theorem", three quantities "define" a black hole; Mass, Angular Momentum, and Charge. The first is easy enough to determine, look at the radius of the event horizon and you can use the ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is there no Gravitational Magnetic Field?

We think that the electric field and gravitational field operate similarly with their corresponding charges/masses. With just a difference that the electric field is sometimes attractive and sometimes ...
13
votes
8answers
9k views

Can the magnetic lines of force of two or more magnets intersect each other?

Basic property of magnetic lines of force is that, they can never intersect each other. Among the two points given below, which one is correct? Magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect ...
12
votes
2answers
28k views

What is the difference between an electric and a magnetic field? [closed]

This question is a consequence of another question of mine which is about spin. Here is my spin question. What is the difference between these two fields? How do they occur? Am I right if I say that ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the nature of electric field? is it quantized? is it a wave?

What I seek here is to understand whether the electric field in its pure form as in between the electron and the proton is uniform or does it have some kind of wave/particle nature or both, does it ...
12
votes
6answers
19k views

What are the fields produced around a current carrying conductor?

If you consider a current carrying conductor, every instant an electron enters the conductor, another electron will be leaving the conductor. Thus, the current carrying conductor will not be charged ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Paradox with Gauss' law when space is uniformly charged everywhere

Consider that space is uniformly charged everywhere, i.e., filled with a uniform charge distribution, $\rho$, everywhere. By symmetry, the electric field is zero everywhere. (If I take any point in ...
11
votes
8answers
32k views

Why does the voltage increase when capacitor plates are separated?

In lab, my TA charged a large circular parallel plate capacitor to some voltage. She then disconnected the power supply and used a electrometer to read the voltage (about 10V). She then pulled the ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Electric field lines density

When we're dealing with problems in electrostatics (especially when we use Gauss' law) we often refer to electric field lines density which is inversely proportional to radius in case of a single ...
10
votes
3answers
649 views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
10
votes
3answers
736 views

How would charge be distributed in charged conductors if the Coulomb law was not ${1}/{r^2}$?

Would the excess charge on a conductor move to surface until the electric field inside become zero if the Coulomb law was for example $\frac{1}{r^3}$? If yes, would the distribution $\sigma(x,y)$ be ...
10
votes
3answers
919 views

Would a spinning, evenly charged sphere generate a magnetic field?

I could see how it would go either way. On the one hand, there IS moving charge; on the other hand, it is not discernibly moving.
9
votes
7answers
17k views

Why can two (or more) electric field lines never cross?

The the title is self explanatory, I guess. Why can two (or more) electric field lines never cross?
9
votes
9answers
9k views

Why can't electrostatic field lines form closed loops?

My physics textbook says "Electrostatic field lines do not form closed loops. This is a consequence of the conservative nature of electric field." But I can't quite understand this. Can anyone ...
9
votes
3answers
16k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing within the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Electric Field inside a regular polygon with corner charges

If we have equal charges located at the corners of a regular polygon, then the electric field at its center is zero. Are there other points inside a polygon where the field vanishes? The simplest ...
8
votes
7answers
14k views

Does a current carrying wire produce electric field outside?

In the modern texts of electromagnetism in the presence of stationary currents the electric field is assumed conservative $\nabla \times E =0 $. Using this we get $E_{||}^{out}=E_{||}^{in}$ which ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Influence of charged particle's own electric field on itself

I read this in my textbook: A charged particle or object is not affected by its own electric field. Since I find this completely unintuitive and my mind is yelling "wrong! wrong! how could a particle ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
7
votes
3answers
31k views

In electrostatics, why the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

In electromagnetism books, such as Griffiths or the like, when they talk about the properties of conductors in case of electrostatics they say that the electric field inside a conductor is zero. I ...
7
votes
1answer
254 views

Does an electric field create a pH gradient?

Since pH is a measure of the effective concentration of $\mathrm{H}^+$ ions a solution, I expect that an electric field applied to a solution will create a pH gradient. The higher concentration of ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

“Find the net force the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the northern hemisphere”

This is Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 2.43, if you have the book. The problem states Find the net force that the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the ...
6
votes
4answers
12k views

Why is the conductor an equipotential surface in electrostatics?

Since the electric field inside a conductor is zero that means the potential is constant inside a conductor, which means the "inside" of a conductor is an equal potential region. Why do books also ...
6
votes
3answers
892 views

How do I calculate electric fields due to currents of magnetic dipoles?

Short version of my question: Do dipole currents cause fields? I think currents of aligned magnetic dipoles cause an electric field, but I don't know how to calculate this field except in the ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the penetration length of static electric field into conducting metals?

How large is the penetration length for static electric field into good conductors? I have two versions: (1) few atomic spacings $$a\sim n_{e}^{-1/3},$$ and (2) Debye length computed by Fermi ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Quantization of electrostatic $\vec E$ field?

Can a electrostatic field $\vec E=\vec E(x,y,z)$ (time-independent) or electrostatic potential $\phi=\phi(x,y,z)$ be quantized? If yes, will these quanta be photons again? But we don't have an ...
5
votes
3answers
594 views

Horizontal $E$-field for a charged conducting disk

For part of a simulation I am writing, I need to know the electric field emitted from a charged conducting disk. If the disk was laid out in the $x$-$y$ plane, I am interested in the field in that ...
5
votes
4answers
664 views

Why is there an electric field in a wire even though it is a conductor?

If you take a perfect conductor, there cannot be a field across it since if there were, the particles would arrange themselves in a way to cancel out the field right? Yet, why does the same not hold ...
5
votes
2answers
278 views

Could we run an electric car on electric eels?

Could we run an electric car on a tank full of electric eels? I've heard electric eels are around 400 to 500 volts and can keep shocking for up to an hour. They also have a 10 volt system to sense ...
5
votes
2answers
40k views

What is the electric field in a parallel plate capacitor?

When we find the electric field between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor we assume that the electric field from both plates is $${\bf E}=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}\hat{n.}$$ The factor of two ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Are the field lines the same as the trajectories of a particle with initial velocity zero

Is it true that the field lines of an electric field are identical to the trajectories of a charged particle with initial velocity zero? If so, how can one prove it? The claim is from a german ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How can there be a current and an electric field in an idealized wire with no voltage drop?

In an ideal circuit, How can there be a current b/w points a & b, when there is no potential difference and thus no electric field between a & b? If there is no current, then where does ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Do high voltage power lines attract lightning strikes?

I always thought that high voltage power lines would attract a lightning strike more than other structures in the same area. Turns out I was wrong. My neighbor's chimney got struck by lightning and it ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why doesn't the magnetic field polarize when polarizing light?

If the magnetic field doesn't polarize does it follow the electric field path of propagation? or does it vanish?
5
votes
1answer
5k views

The formula of the force exerted on an electric dipole by non-uniform electric field

When an electric dipole of moment $\mathbf{P}$ is located in a non-uniform electric field $\mathbf{E}$, there is an net force exerted on it. However, the formula of the force in some books is read ...
5
votes
3answers
245 views

What´s the electric field in the entire space generated by a uniform (but not constant) magnetic field?

Let me explain in details. Consider a region in space with no free charges and no free currents, so that the charge density is $\rho=0$ and the volumetric current is $\vec{J}=\vec{0} \text{ }$ in the ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

How electron movement produces current,instead of having a slow drift speed

Just need a clarification here, how the current is produced due to the movement of electrons, in an external circuit,having a very slow drift speed. Normally in a battery there is high potential ...
5
votes
3answers
258 views

Is it true that $\vec{E}\neq 0$ inside a 1- or 2-dimensional conductor?

It is known that when a conductor is placed in an electric field, the charges redistribute themselves such that $E=0$ inside the conductor. I was also told that the same is NOT true for the 2D and 1D ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the potential difference between two charged plates increase as they move further apart?

Suppose a uniform electric field $E$ exists between to oppositely charged metal plates (one is positively charged and one is negatively charged). If the plates move apart, and the charges on each ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Poynting theorem and entering power

I refer to the time-domain version of the Poyinting theorem in electro-magnetism: $- \displaystyle \oint_S (\mathbf{E} \times \mathbf{H}) \cdot d\mathbf{S} - \int_V \mathbf{E} \cdot \mathbf{J}_i \ dV ...
5
votes
1answer
530 views

Intuition behind Fourier transformed spaces

Intuitively I've been able to understand a Fourier transform a change-of-basis formula - you're basically moving from position to momentum basis or from time to frequency - but what does it mean that ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Charge Distribution on a Parallel Plate Capacitor

If a parallel plate capacitor is formed by placing two infinite grounded conducting sheets, one at potential $V_1$ and another at $V_2$, a distance $d$ away from each other, then the charge on either ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is the electric field of an infinite insulated plane of charge perpendicular to the plane?

I'm studying Gauss' Law, and I came across a section where we're supposed to find the electric field of various shapes (like an infinite line of charges, etc), and for an infinite plane with a uniform ...
4
votes
2answers
13k views

How does electricity flow in conductor when potential difference is applied?

Electrons move from higher potential to lower potential. When a conductor is connected to battery, electron move from negative terminal to positive terminal. But the battery itself forms a Electric ...
4
votes
3answers
9k views

Why is the electric field perpendicular to every point on the surface of a conductor?

I am reading Berkeley Physics Course, Volume 2 (Electricity and Magnetism by Edward M. Purcell). I am in chapter $3$, page $92$, and the book discusses conductors. The following is from the book: ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...