The study of the presence and flow of electric charge. Charges, currents, fields, potentials.

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Voltage and parallel-plate capacitors

Suppose we have two parallel plates (each of area $A$) spaced with distance $d_1$ acting as a parallel-plate capacitor within a circuit. If the capacitor is connected to a power source with constant ...
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392 views

Conceptually, why does an electric field not require a charge flowing through it?

My son has been asking me a lot about electromagnetism and so I got to read up on it.One of the interesting and hard to grasp (for me at least) concepts is that an electric field will exist even when ...
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1answer
242 views

Voltage reading between hand and 3.3V source is only 0.1mV. Why?

I held one multimeter probe to a 3.3V source, the other probe I held in my hand. The voltage measured between these 2 points was around ...
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1answer
269 views

A question from a Physics 2 exam: About electron cloud an a constant external field:

I am trying to prepare for my exam in Physics $2$, the following is a question from an old exam (the question also have a detailed answer to it, but I don't really understand it). An acceptable ...
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4answers
654 views

Why does electric field intensity $E$ can be uniquely determined by its divergence and curl? [duplicate]

My question is, the number of following equations $$\nabla\cdot E=\frac{\rho}{\varepsilon}$$ $$\nabla\times E=-\frac{\partial B}{\partial t}$$ is 4 while the number of unknown variables ...
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2answers
3k views

Why are electrons defined to have negative charge? [duplicate]

We normally think of the "default" or "root" state of things as being on the positive side of the spectrum. For example, we don't normally use a + symbol to ...
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2answers
4k views

why does headlights dim when a starter motor is turned on

okay first of all, what exactly does the starter motor do? does it increase the current flow and decrease voltage? and does starter motor have its own internal resistance? i understand how there is a ...
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1answer
209 views

Can an AC magnetic field be measured by a hall probe?

Many hall sensors on the market have a datasheet that explain the proportional relationship between the analog voltage that is outputted and the relative gauss/tesla reading (for example: 2.5mV = ...
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1answer
135 views

Inductor rise time and inductor wire length

So here is an interesting question about inductors or coils in general. Suppose you had a inductor which was 12 inch's in diameter and say 12 inch's in length and has 100 turns of wire. The total ...
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116 views

Which physics subjects should a math major follow if s/he's interested in Smart Grid Networks? [closed]

I study mathematics and I would like to work on Smart Grid Networks in the (near) future. I would like to do so by applying optimization theory, percolation theory, Markov chains and more to problems ...
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4answers
23k views

Why does connecting a battery's positive terminal to the negative terminal of another battery not create a short circuit?

This is a question regarding the physics behind the observation. I have guessed the answer to the question, but I may be wrong, so I want to wait for the responses before posting it. Some major ...
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551 views

Self-sustained vs. non-self-sustained discharge systems

I don't quite understand what a self-sustained discharge is. I figure it means that the processes involved are self supporting and generate themselves, so that I don't have to put energy into the ...
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34 views

About thermionic emission

Does thermionic emission have any limits? If we continued heating the metal plate can it reach a charge of 1 C ? Will the work function increase as the charge of the metal plate increase?
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What can justify the decrease of the electrical conductivity with the increase of light intensity?

I have currently been working with a sample that "appears to" decrease its resistance when I cover it and protect it from light. Basically it presents the opposite behaviour of a photoresistor. What ...
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1answer
496 views

Conductor resistance calculation method

1. What are the variables that effect on a conductor resistance (I mean all of them)? First of all I would like to say that I know how to calculate the resistance of a conductor using the method ...
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5answers
3k views

Does alternating current (AC) require a complete circuit?

This popular question about "whether an AC circuit with one end grounded to Earth and the other end grounded to Mars would work (ignoring resistance/inductance of the wire)" was recently asked on the ...
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Path of least resistance vs. short circuit

Some sources on the web claim that "electricity follows the path of least resistance" is not true, e.g. this physics SE question. However, in every explanation of "short circuits", the author says ...
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438 views

Drawing electric field lines-Equations or software

Shown below in the diagram are two conducting material connected to a battery source and vacuum OR air is in between them. There will be charges developed on their surfaces. I am interested in finding ...
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68 views

What is the relationship between strain and electric current?

Strain or stress can be caused by different sources. I categorized theses sources as mechanical, thermal and electrical loads and formulated the total stress as follows: $$ \epsilon_{total} = ...
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1answer
401 views

Is there a way to electrically shock a person who is inside a Faraday cage?

I learned last semester that a Faraday cage shields people (among other things) from getting electrically shock, say, from a tesla coil. This was well demonstrated in lecture so I believe it. The ...
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1answer
62 views

What would happen if you attached a wire to an electrically charged sphere?

If you have a sphere covered in electrons, and you connected a copper wire to it, what would happen? The copper wire's other end is not connected to anything and assume that the copper wire is ...
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2k views

Why does electricity need wires to flow?

If you drop a really heavy ball the ball's gravitational potential energy will turn into kinetic energy. If you place the same ball in the pool, the ball will still fall. A lot of kinetic energy will ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do circuits work so fast?

Drift velocity (explained to me as how fast the electrons are moving) is really slow. My book says the electrons move at around 10 mm/ s. If electrons move so slowly how do circuits work so fast? If ...
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192 views

Do we need infinite energy to make 2 similar charges touch only in theory?

By Coulomb's law, say if we have 2 point particles each having a charge of +1C then by the formula, F = k/(d)^2 if we need to make the distance between them zero, clearly y the formula, we need to ...
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210 views

Projects for a physics club [closed]

It's a physics club for undergraduates (first three years of university); I'm looking for projects idea that aren't too obvious like a small rocket or an electromagnet (school projects) but also not ...
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1answer
4k views

Why does pushing a magnet inside a solenoid produce current?

If you push a bar magnet inside a solenoid, a current is produced. But why is that? I mean, the wire is being moved along the magnetic field, so taking the cross product: $\vec{F} = ...
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Why does the thickness of a wire affect resistance?

For small thicknesses of wire, it's pretty obvious why resistance affects thickness. (The electronics squeeze to get through). But after a certain thickness shouldn't the thickness become irrelevant? ...
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1answer
4k views

How to find the direction of the magnetic field for an infinite conducting wire?

We've got two long straight wires carrying current of 5A and placed along x and y axis respectively current flows in direction of positive axes we have to find magnetic field at a) (1 m,1 m) b) (-1 ...
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631 views

Why does a cathode have to be heated to emit electrons?

Considering that electrons are highly mobile inside of a metal, why do they have such a tough time getting out at the edge of it and continuing their trip ballistically?
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2answers
155 views

Applicability of the concept of voltage in electrodynamic circuits

In electrostatics, we have $$\nabla \times \vec{E} = 0$$. Hence, we can define a scalar potential $V$, where $$\vec{E} = -\nabla V$$. We know from Faraday's law that $$\nabla \times \vec{E} = ...
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101 views

What type of magnetic fields does a Hall effect semi-conductor pick up on?

What type of magnetic fields does a Hall effect semi-conductor pick up on? AC or DC fields? How would one go about building a device that measures AC Magnetic fields?
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168 views

Are two touching conductors connected in parallel or in series?

Consider the following problem: There are two spherical conductors $A, B$, with capacitances $C_A, C_B$ resp. Conductor $A$ is supplied some charge and is found to have a potential of $160 \space V$. ...
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152 views

In which direction should flow of electric current be taken while solving problems?

Consider a simple circuit with a battery of $\theta\ \text V$s, and two resistors of $R_1 \ \Omega$s and $R_2\ \Omega$s connected in series. Let us assume that $R_1$ is connected nearer to the ...
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393 views

Is current related to the length of the conductor?

Ohm's Law tells us that $V = IR$. This implies that $I \propto \frac{1}{R}$. But, $R \propto l$, where l is the length of the conductor. This would mean that $I \propto \frac{1}{l}$. But this does not ...
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388 views

Derive that $P = I^2R$

As our homework, we were asked to derive $P = I^2R$. Now, I started off with the basic relation $P = \frac{W}{T}$. I was not able to think of anything from here, so I started plugging in random ...
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135 views

There is no electricity at home,I need to light a 15W CFL Bulb.Can I Do it with the help of a hamster? [closed]

We know that i)avg speed of A Hamster is 30km/hr. ii)Avg mass of hamster is 1.5 kg. From the above info: Kinetic energy=1/2 X mass X velocity^2 So, K.E=1/2 x 1.5 x 30 x 30 ...
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339 views

Elementary (fundamental) properties in electricity

I tend to believe that there are two elementary properties in electricity: Electric charge Coulomb's force I think that I can express any other entity in electricity using just these two (by means ...
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1answer
102 views

Single directional electric field insulator?

Is there any material, (kind of like a one way mirror), which allows an Electric Field to pass through from one direction, but not from the other? Thanks. Edit: As Ali has pointed out, one way ...
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792 views

Electric field from conductive to dielectric media

I am interested in the main difference between transitions from electric fields from Conductive to Conductive/ Dielectric to Dielectric and Dielectric/Conductive media. What are the boundary ...
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80 views

Electric field screening for arbitrarily formed charge

if I have a not necessarily homogenous electric field of a charge distribution in an electrolyte and i want to find out what the electric field at some position in the electrolyte is. is there any ...
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109 views

potential energy of a dipole?

The very popular from of potential energy of the dipole is $-P.E$. But in the derivation of it, we have negelected the potential energy of the pair of charges constituting the dipole. will this not ...
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801 views

Dielectric with polar molecules

Suppose a dielectric slab contains polar molecules (which are not further polarisable). When placed in an electric field, (for simplicity, an uniform field), align themselves according to the field. ...
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1answer
1k views

Dipole moment induced in a spherical particle

Consider a spherical metal particle made out of gold. If there is an external charge somewhere near the gold particle, is there a way to calculate the resulting dipole moment that is induced by the ...
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5answers
4k views

Does current flow back to the source through earth?

We know that if Single Line to Fault occurs, then fault current flows to the earth. I want to know whether the current will return to the source or not. For the current to flow we need a closed path. ...
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What is the speed of electrical current in salt water?

I am wondering about a specific question regarding the speed at which an electrical current traverses through salt-water / saline. By this I do not mean the electron drift speed - I mean, at what ...
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2answers
852 views

why is a resistor frequency independent

I had a doubt that why is a resistor, frequency independent? Since, as frequency increases the movement of electrons increases so heat increases which causes change in resistance. So my question is ...
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1answer
246 views

Electrons drift velocity and capacitors

My friend said this to me and just want to make sure this is right " when we connect the a battery to a LED and the 2 poles are connected, electrons flow from the (-) to the (+) but with very low ...
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Why does lightning emit light?

What exactly is causing the electric discharge coming from the clouds to emit light while traveling through the air. I've read and thought about it a little but with my current knowledge I cant really ...
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288 views

scaling of motor power

For car engines, the cylinder volume is often associated with the engine power, which suggests scaling of the power as $L^3$ where L is the linear size. Consider a system consisting of a motor and its ...
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3answers
328 views

How much iron ware to make a Faraday cage

In a thunderstorm I was thinking the following: suppose I am rowing in a lake during a thunderstorm. How big a Faraday cage do I need to make to protect myself? If lightning strikes the cage, will it ...