Electrostatics is concerned with the electrical fields and scalar potentials of stationary electrical charges and charge distributions. Use this for questions about electromagnetic situations in which currents and magnetic fields are absent, otherwise use [tag:electromagnetism] and/or [tag:magnetic-...

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How is Gauss' Law (integral form) arrived at from Coulomb's Law, and how is the differential form arrived at from that?

On a similar note: when using Gauss' Law, do you even begin with Coulomb's law, or does one take it as given that flux is the surface integral of the Electric field in the direction of the normal to ...
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Virtual photon description of B and E fields

I continue to find it amazing that something as “bulky” and macroscopic as a static magnetic or electric field is actually a manifestation of virtual photons. So putting on your QFT spectacles, look ...
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520 views

Negative Mass and gravitation

Since Newtonian gravity is analogous to electrostatics shouldn't there be something called negative mass? Also, a moving charge generates electric field, but why doesn't a moving mass generate some ...
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Why do same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

I know plus pushes another plus away, but why, really, do they do that? On the other hand, molecules of the same type are attracted to each other. I find that weird. I do know some stuff about four ...
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Why two objects get charged by rubbing?

It is always told as a fact without explaining the reason. Why do two objects get charged by rubbing? Why one object get negative charge and other get positive charge?
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Does Coulomb's Law, with Gauss's Law, imply the existence of only three spatial dimensions?

Coulomb's Law states that the fall-off of the strength of the electrostatic force is inversely proportional to the distance squared of the charges. Gauss's law implies that a the total flux through a ...
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Coulomb force in SI and cgs

Coulomb force in SI is $ F = \frac{Q1*Q2}{4\pi\varepsilon R^{2}} $ while in CGS $ F = \frac{Q1*Q2}{R^{2}} $ why is it? I mean doesn't it any make difference in dimension? since $ \varepsilon $ ...
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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 ...
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What prevents the accumulation of charge in a black hole?

What prevents a static black hole from accumulating more charge than its maximum? Is it just simple Coulomb repulsion? Is the answer the same for rotating black holes? Edit What I understand from ...
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Laplacian of $1/r^2$ (context: electromagnetism and poisson equation)

We know that a point charge $q$ located at the origin $r=0$ produces a potential $\sim \frac{q}{r}$, and this is consistent with the fact that the Laplacian of $\frac{q}{r}$ is $$\nabla^2\frac{q}{r}=...
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4answers
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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 ...
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How does an object regains its neutrality after being charged by rubbing?

Objects (like comb) can be charged by rubbing as charged particles, particularly electrons, are transferred from one object to other. This can be seen as the object (comb) attracts small bits of paper....
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Where's the energy in a boosted capacitor?

Suppose I look at a parallel plate capacitor in its rest frame and calculate the electrostatic energy, $E$. Next, I look at the same capacitor in a primed frame boosted in the direction perpendicular ...
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4answers
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Are the Maxwell's equations enough to derive the law of Coulomb?

Are the 8 Maxwell's equations enough to derive the formula for the electromagnetic field created by a stationary point charge, which is the same as the law of Coulomb? If I am not mistaken, due to ...
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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 ...
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Tension in a curved charged wire (electrostatic force) - does wire thickness matter?

Consider a conducting wire bent in a circle (alternatively, a perfectly smooth metal ring) with a positive (or negative) electric charge on it. Technically, this shape constitutes a torus. Assume ...
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Capacitor with different charges on each plate

I am confused as to whether/how capacitance changes when each plate has a different charge. For example, consider a coaxial cable and put $20Q$ on the outer cable, and $-Q$ on the inner. Or how about ...
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What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
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2answers
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Charge distribution on conductors?

You have seen that the excess charge on an isolated conductor moves entirely to the conductor’s surface. However, unless the conductor is spherical, the charge does not distribute itself uniformly. ...
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4answers
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A problem of missing energy when charging a second capacitor

A capacitor is charged. It is then connected to an identical uncharged capacitor using superconducting wires. Each capacitor has 1/2 the charge as the original, so 1/4 the energy - so we only have 1/2 ...
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7answers
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Why is there a factor of $4\pi$ in certain force equations?

I mean to ask why there is $4\pi$ present in force equations governing electricity? Though all objects in universe are not spherical and circular, the constant of proportionality in both equations ...
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2answers
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Is Newton's universal gravitational constant the inverse of permittivity of mass in vacuum?

Is it possible to consider Newton's universal gravitational constant, $G$, as inverse of vacuum permittivity of mass? $$\epsilon_m=\frac {1}{4\pi G}$$ if so, then vacuum permeability of mass will be:...
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What is the net charge of the Earth?

This question arose in a seminar today about the solar wind... This is my vagueish understanding of the problem - please correct if you see errors! The 'classical' picture of atmospheric electricity ...
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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 ...
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How is the electostatic field propagated by the vacuum? How does a charge feel the presence of another charge when there is NOTHING between them?

Is the word "vacuum" equal to "nothing"? Imagine two charges of opposite sign, far from one another in vacuum, and moving with constant velocity - s.t. none radiates energy, none emits photons. At ...
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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 ...
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Explanation for $E~$ not falling off at $1/r^2$ for infinite line and sheet charges?

For an infinite line charge, $E$ falls off with $1/r$; for an infinite sheet of charge it's independent of r! The infinitesimal contributions to $E$ fall off with $1/r^2$, so why doesn't the total $E$ ...
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1answer
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What is the force between two charged objects when the space between them is partially filled by a dielectric medium?

I am given two charged particles of same charge at a distance of $r$. They initially apply force $F$. Now an infinite dielectric (of dielectric constant $4$) of width $\frac{r}{2}$ is introduced ...
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1answer
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Radially symmetric charge distribution (dipole moment) [closed]

a) There's a radially symmetric charge density $\rho(r)$ centered around the origin. Determine the dipolemoment of that charge density. b) Let $\rho(r)$ be an arbitrary charge density now. Under ...
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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?
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6answers
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No magnetic field from a static charge - Is there a simple physical argument to show why?

For a charge moving in an electric field $\vec E$, its equation of motion is given by the electric part of the Lorentz force $$\frac d {dt}\gamma m \vec v = e\vec E$$This comes from the conservation ...
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11answers
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Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller?

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller? Intuitively, most people (including I) think of the dust will not stick to rotating fan propellers. EDIT 1: Thank you for the great explanations. I am ...
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What is the answer to Feynman's Disc Paradox?

[This question is Certified Higgs Free!] Richard Feynman in Lectures on Physics Vol. II Sec. 17-4, "A paradox," describes a problem in electromagnetic induction that did not originate with him, but ...
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Why is electric field strong at sharp edges?

I learned about the coronal discharge, and the common explanation is because the electric field is strong where radius of curvature is small. But I haven't found anything yet that explains why ...
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2answers
854 views

Why is there no permittivity-type constant for gravitation?

When I look at electric or magnetic fields, each of them has a constant that defines how a field affects or is affected by a medium. For example, electric fields in vacuum have a permittivity constant ...
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2answers
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Is there really no meaning in potential energy and potential?

I have been told all my physics life that potential energy between two mass/charge has no meaning and only their difference has meaning. The same goes for electric potential, only the difference ...
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Is the Earth negatively or positively charged?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
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488 views

How do we make symmetry assumptions rigorous?

I have, for instance, a problem with a spherically symmetric charge distribution. I deduce here, in order to solve the problem easily, that the corresponding electric field must be symmetric. How is ...
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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 ...
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2answers
364 views

Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
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1answer
146 views

Gauss's law not making sense

If we have a point charge and outside of it we have a non-conducting Gaussian sphere, then Gauss's law says that the net flux should be zero. I agree that the total field lines coming in are equal to ...
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3answers
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Definition of electric charge and proper explanation

Is there a definition of electric charge and proper explanation of it? It is said "Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when close to other ...
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2answers
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Using photons to explain electrostatic force

I am trying to understand the idea of a force carrier with the following example. Let's say there are two charges $A$ and $B$ that are a fixed distance from each other. What is causing the force on $...
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4answers
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Do electrostatic fields really obey “action at a distance”?

In an electromagnetic theory class, my professor introduced the concept of "action at a distance in physics". He said that: If two charges are at some very large distance, and if any one of the ...
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3answers
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Do electric and magnetic lines of force physically exist?

As per my imagination any thing can't impose force on the other by not giving even a touch(i,e action at a distance). So I thought there must be some physical existence of lines of force. Although ...
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Hexadecapole potential using point particles?

We can get monopole $1/r$, dipole $1/r^2$, quadrupole $1/r^3$ and octupole $1/r^4$ potential falloff by placing opposite point charges at the corners of a point, line, square and cube, respectively. ...
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2answers
442 views

Shape of electric charges on sphere in equilibrium state

When electric charges of equal magnitude and sign are released on a regular sphere (and assume that they stick to the surface of the sphere, but they are free to move along its surface), what is the ...
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1answer
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Two electron beams exert different forces on each other depending on frame of reference?

I am sure there is a simple explanation for my confusion, but I am a little puzzled: We are dealing with two parallel electron cannons that each produces a straight beam of electrons. They are placed ...
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Paradoxical interaction between a massive charged sphere and a point charge

Suppose we have a sphere of radius $r$ and mass m and a negatively charged test particle at distance d from its center, $d\gg r$. If the sphere is electrically neutral, the particle will fall toward ...
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2answers
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Electric Field “at” the surface of a conductor

It has been pointed out to me that the Electric field exactly on the surface of the conductor is conventionally taken to be $E=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}$; does this come from taking the midpoint of ...