Electrostatics is concerned with the field and potential of stationary electrical charges and electric charge distributions. Problems are this type are almost exclusively concerned with mathematics of geometries using the inverse-square law.

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Gauss' law - changes in the magnitude of E field inside the closed surface

Gauss's law says that the flux through a closed surface which contains neither a sink nor a source will be zero. It's quite clear that all field lines will have to exit somehow, but the strength of ...
2
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2answers
450 views

Can an ungrounded conductive cavity provide electrostatic shielding?

This comes from Electromagnetic Fields and Waves by Lorrain et al, page 77 on a Hollow, ungrounded conductor enclosing a charged body: The surface charge density at a given point on the outside ...
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1answer
251 views

Complex Potentials, Potentials and Fields

Suppose an electric field $E=-\nabla \psi$ where $\psi=-Q\ln r$ where $Q$ is just some constant and I have found its harmonic conjugate to be $-Q\theta+c$ where $c$ is some constant. What does it say ...
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2answers
989 views

How to calculate the electric field at a point in space

Let's say I have a uniformly-charged wire bent into a semi-circle around the origin. How can I find the electric field (magnitude and direction) I'm not even sure if I should use Coulomb's or Gauss' ...
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1answer
7k views

Electric field due to nonconducting plastic sheets [closed]

Two very large, nonconducting plastic sheets, each 10.0 cm thick, carry uniform charge densities $\sigma_1, \sigma_2, \sigma_3$ and $\sigma_4$ on their surfaces (the four surfaces are in the ...
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1answer
500 views

Electrical flow in a simple parallel circuit

I'm having trouble understanding something in one of my text books: Let’s have a look at the implications of each circuit configuration. Figure 3.13 shows the Conventional representation of a ...
2
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2answers
558 views

Why do two ends of a long conducting wire have the same electric potential?

I am not seeing the "big picture" here. If I have two conducting spheres separated by a long conducting wire, why would the spheres share the same electric potential? I think of the spheres as point ...
3
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1answer
229 views

What force is acting on the charge in the dielectric?

For example I have a dielectric solid with a small charged ball in it. And I have external electric field $E$. So what force is acting on this ball? The field in dielectric is $\frac{E}{\epsilon}$, ...
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3answers
239 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 ...
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3answers
227 views

What is the physical reason a $+5V$ equipotential coutour cannot intersect a $-5V$ equipotential coutour?

Now I've been told that equipotential contours with different values can never intersect. That is, if one level is 5V and one is -5V, they can't intersect. This make sense to me mathematically (one ...
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2answers
933 views

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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5answers
4k views

How can I prevent being zapped by static electricity every time I touch a doorknob or handle in the office?

I don't know what it is about this office, but it seems everything I touch (doorknob, bathroom faucet, edge of kitchen sink in the break room), I get zapped by static electricity. It's getting old. ...
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2answers
279 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
166 views

Electrophorus: Why can't we use a magnet in substituion of a charged body to induce the polarization?

Since a magnetic field can induce a current in a coil, moving electrons from one side to another. Why isn't possible to use the same principle in a electrophorus using one magnet instead of charged ...
2
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0answers
702 views

How to calculate the electric field and potential inside a dielectric surface placed into a homogenous field

In an experiment we placed a long dielectric cylindrical shell (cylindrical tube)(with inner and outer radii r1 and r2, respectively) in a homogenous field such that its axis was orthogonal to the ...
2
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2answers
230 views

Determining the capacitance of a system with a non-homogenous dielectric

In an experiment we were given non-homogenous dielectric substances described by functions of coordinate. How can capacitance be determined from this?
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3answers
685 views

How can I find the potential created by spherical capacitor with dielectric material?

If we have a spherical capacitor with inner radius or r1 and outer radius of r2, with charges (+/-)q on them and there is a dielectric material (with constant e) in between them with. What kind of a ...
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2answers
1k views

What exactly is electric field screening?

I've run into this concept of 'screening' several times before, but I admit I've never sat down and really thought about why the process works. My understanding of the effect is that mobile electric ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the physical meaning of the terms in the multipole expansion?

I have a few questions on multipole expansions and I have read about the topic in many places but could not find an answer to my questions, so please be patient with me. The electrostatic potential ...
7
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2answers
702 views

Capacitance of Non-concentric Spheres

We all know how to obtain the capacitance $C=\frac{ab}{b-a}$ (ignoring constants) for two concentric spheres of radii $a,b$. I was just thinking to myself, what would happen to the capacitance for ...
2
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2answers
428 views

Gauss' law giving zero field where field is not zero?

Two plastic sheets with charged densities as shown: I'm trying to find the field at $B$. I obtained the correct answer by adding up the fields created by each charge density. But I realized that ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Can Laplace's equation be solved using Fourier transform instead of Fourier series?

Sorry for the long text, but I am unable to make my question more compact. Any periodic function can be Fourier expanded. Usually, they say in mathematical physics books, if the function is not ...
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1answer
211 views

Can a super-extremal charged black hole be made out of electrons only?

In a previous Question it was argued that it would be impossible to add enough charge to a black hole to make it pass the extremal black hole limit since adding charge would increase the mass of the ...
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1answer
482 views

Sparks from van de graff generator

I was at a lecture yesterday and there was a demo of a van de graff generator. He held the smaller metal globe which is attached by a wire, about 4cm from the main globe. This created a spark between ...
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2answers
2k views

How can a conductor be grounded yet there are induced charges on it?

A classic example for the method of images is the following, quoted from Griffiths's Introduction to Electrodynamics, page 121: "Suppose a point charge $q$ is held a distance $d$ above an infinite ...
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591 views

Charge on Sphere due to Contact with Capacitor

Question: Consider a parallel plate capacitor which is connected to potential difference $V$. Let there be a small spherical conductor, assume that its radius is much smaller than the distance ...
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2answers
170 views

Can hair be used as an dielectric?

I was letting my mind freewheel, and it occurred to me that hair, containing keratin, is a polymer. It is also capable of acquiring and maintaining a charge as happens, on occasion, when brushed. So ...
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1answer
2k views

How does a Primary Charge Roller work?

I have been recently trying to get more deeply into the workings of a common laser printer. While the basic concept seems to be fairly simple to understand I have been having trouble finding more ...
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4answers
1k views

Is an electron/proton gun possible?

In the 1944 SF story “Off the Beam” by George O. Smith, an electron gun is constructed along the length of a spaceship. In order to avoid being constrained by a net charge imbalance, it is built to ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
298 views

Where does the smell of electrostatic charge come from?

Everybody knows you can produce electrostatic charge rubbing two different materials together. But have you ever smelt e.g. at the plastic after charging it? There actually is a distinct ...
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4answers
5k views

What is the electric potential at a point?

1) What does the electric potential at a point exactly mean? My teacher tells me that current flows from higher potential to lower potential but when I ask him the reason, he fails to give me a ...
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2answers
623 views

Electrostatics:Basic question on electric current

I've got two questions for you. Electric current is the flow of electrons across a conductor.Why has it always got to do with electrons and not with protons? (I know neutrons are not eligible for ...
3
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1answer
159 views

Capacitance of two cocentric spheres, contradicting results

Suppose we are given two conducting, cocentric spheres of radius $a_1$ and $a_2$ respectively. The inner sphere with charge $q$, the outer sphere with charge $-q$. I can calculate the capacitance of ...
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1answer
88 views

Creating the opposite of an optical lattice

Is it possible to create periodic potentials that instead of creating a well for an atom to be trapped in, repulsed by that specific location? If yes, can we use this as a means to make artificial ...
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1answer
469 views

Boundary Conditions Invariant Under Conformal Transformations in Electrostatics?

in two dimensional electrostatics it is assumed that the whole physical system is translationally invariant in one direction. Here, the two-dimensional Laplace equation $$\Delta \phi(x,y) = ...
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1answer
1k views

Electric field between two conducting plates of different potential?

not sure if this question's been asked before, though I couldn't see one in my brief search on here... Well, the problem I am trying to solve is that I want to determine the electric field strength ...
3
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4answers
892 views

How beam focusing looks like in electron microscope?

I mean I know there are electrostatic/electromagnetic lenses which does focus the beam, but I am not sure how it is possible to foсus beam down to a few 10nm while emitter might be 1mm thick while ...
2
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2answers
367 views

How does electron gun accelerates electrons?

I know that in electron guns we see in TV's and lots of other places, we have electron emitter (cold/hot W needle in the simplest case) and electrons are accelerated using lattice with high-voltage ...
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2answers
1k views

Electric field of not-grounded conducting plate with a given potential?

I have been trying to find an equation (or some solution) of how to calculate the electric field strength (in N/C) of a conducting rectangular (nearly flat) plate which has non-zero potential to it, ...
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4answers
4k views

Electric field outside a capacitor

I know that the electric field outside of a capacitor is 0 and I know it is easy to calculate using Gauss's law. We create cylindrical envelope that holds the same amount of charges (of opposite ...
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1answer
600 views

capacitance between widely-separated parallel plates

There's a caveat, which is often ignored, to the "easy" equation for parallel plate capacitors C = epsilon * A / d, namely that d must be much smaller than the dimensions of the parallel plate. Is ...
4
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2answers
474 views

Algorithm of Lightning Strikes? [duplicate]

Given an array of charge for a given area (2D or 3D), what algorithm would describe the path that lightning takes? An example algorithm would be from the highest charge of the cloud, find the lowest ...
3
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1answer
638 views

How many electrons are displaced when combing hair?

Feynman talking about electricity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhh32JYkQPk When brushing your hair, Feynman mentioned that a "few" electrons were transferred to the brush (or vice versa, can't ...
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2answers
270 views

Is it meaningful to imagine a sphere uniformly charged with 2e?

If the charge is large, considering charge density is usually meaningful despite the discrete nature of electrical charge. The following sentence is part of a problem in a textbook on ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Two spheres (A physics olympiad problem)

Browsing an archive of problems of a local physics olympiad, i stumbled upon a problem which seems not a very trivial. Given two identical metal spheres in vacuum, with mass $m$ and radius $R$. One ...
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2answers
12k views

Determine the point at which the electric field is equal to zero?

Two point charges, -2.5 micro coulombs and 6 micro coulombs, are separated by a distance of 1m (with the -2.5 charge on the left and 6 on the right). What is the point where the electric field is ...
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2answers
2k views

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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6answers
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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 ...
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1answer
426 views

Electric field of a charged spherical surface [closed]

Figure The dielectric shaped as on the figure has dielectric constant $\varepsilon=\varepsilon\left(r\right)$ and free charge density $\rho=\rho\left(r\right)$. What is the electric field and ...