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

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Motion in insulating fluid under high voltage

I observed the following phenomenon in an experiment (I'm not a student of physics, just an amateur) and was hoping for an explanation. A metal pan is electrically grounded and a layer of insulating ...
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1answer
107 views

Why isn't this working? [closed]

I just broke a 120mm computer fan in name of science and now I'm pissed; can anyone explain why this doesn't work? : The battery should create a potential difference across the motor, causing the ...
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1answer
710 views

Electric circuit question [closed]

http://www.fisme.uu.nl/nno/opgaven/bestanden/Ronde1-Theorie-2009.pdf, question 5: You have to calculate Id when the switch at S is opened, when its closed, the Id = 0.5 A. All resistors are ...
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3answers
456 views

Why does Joule heating not occur when no current flows through a conductor?

Joule heating happens every time when the conduction electrons transfer kinetic energy to the conductor's atoms through collisions, causing these conductor's atoms to increase their kinetic and ...
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2answers
1k views

How is a Lichtenberg figure created?

Related: Breakdown voltage of a dielectric When I think of the dielectric breakdown of air, an electric field of $3×10^6$ V/m is enough to accelerate initially ionized electrons created primarily ...
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1answer
240 views

What is the pressure of a gas required to ionize the gas using an electron gun?

How dense does a gas (Argon in particular ) have to be to in order to ionize it using electron bombardment and weak magnetic fields. Is there a correlation with the density of a gas and the easiness ...
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1answer
86 views

What is vacuum to DC flow?

I know how an air gap behaves: for lower voltages the resistance is extremely high, until spark voltage is achieved, at which point resistance rapidly drops, creating electric arc. Now, how does that ...
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3answers
1k views

The moving capacitor

To what extent can a charged capacitor mounted on a moving platform (e.g. a rotating wheel) be considered an electric current generator? Electric current, after all, is nothing more than the transport ...
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3answers
582 views

Potentiometer voltage change

I'm trying to understand simple things about electricity reading allaboutcircuits.com web. This chapter includes image which´s principle I don't understand. Here it is: When supplying constant ...
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1answer
205 views

Why does shorting two cells in series heat them up?

I tried this with two 9V batteries that you can interlock easily and they heat up a lot. Why does this happen? The internal resistance of the batteries would be quite small so why would they still ...
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1answer
449 views

Effective Resistance [closed]

For the combination of the resistors, shown in the figure. Calculate the equivalent resistance between A and B, please help me to find the answer of this complicated question this is a question from ...
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1answer
1k views

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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2answers
567 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
309 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
361 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
806 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
5k 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
6k 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
406 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
176 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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1answer
124 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
37k 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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1answer
964 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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1answer
41 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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192 views

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
689 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
5k 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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2answers
4k views

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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563 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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0answers
86 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
496 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
74 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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6answers
3k 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
3k 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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204 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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316 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
6k 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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2answers
3k views

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
5k 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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959 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
180 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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1answer
122 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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183 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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2answers
777 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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1answer
632 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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1answer
143 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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2answers
442 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
108 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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999 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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86 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 ...