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 ...

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Will a charged capacitor discharge if one lead is connected to ground?

If I charge a capacitor and connect one lead to ground keeping the other lead floating, will the capacitor discharge ? ...
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462 views

Why is the electric field inside a conductor zero in equilibrium?

My textbook says the field inside a conductor must be zero in order for the system to be equilibrium and therefore there must be no excess charge inside. Their proof: 1) Place a gaussian surface ...
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4answers
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Infinitely charged wire and Differential form of Gauss' Law

I have tried calculating the potential of a charged wire the direct way. If lambda is the charge density of the wire, then I get $$\phi(r) = \frac{\lambda}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 r} \int_{-\infty}^\infty ...
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2answers
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Electric field of a negative charge

How was it discovered that the electric field of a negative charge points towards the charge itself? Is it true? (Courtesy of wikipedia)
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878 views

Why doesn't a gaussian surface pass through discrete charges?

I have read that Gaussian surface cannot pass through discrete charges. Why is it so? I have even seen in application of Gauss' Law when we imagine a Gaussian Surface passing through a charge ...
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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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What are electromagnetic fields made of?

I am trying to understand electromagnetic fields so I have two question related to them. What is a electromagnetic field made of? Is it made of photons / virtual photons? How about a static electric ...
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2answers
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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: ...
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3answers
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Can someone give an intuitive way of understanding why Gauss's law holds?

Gauss' Law of electrostatics is an amazing law. It is extremely useful (as far as problems framed for it are concerned :D. I do not have a real world-problem solving experience of using Gauss' Law). ...
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1answer
832 views

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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80 views

Obtaining electric field of an uniformly charged sphere surface without using gauss law [closed]

How can i obtain the electric field due to a uniformly charged sphere surface without using gauss law on a point outside the sphere, im stuck not knowing what infinitesimal surface i shall consider so ...
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1answer
640 views

Finding the electric field for a shell of charge

Suppose we have charge density defined $$ \rho(x,y,z) = \begin{cases} 0 & 0 \leq r < a \\ K & a \leq r\leq b\\ 0 & b< r \end{cases} $$ For some constants $K,a,b$ How would ...
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Simulator for electrostatics [closed]

I am searching for a tool that visualizes the electric field/potential for simple electrostatic configurations like conducting/polarized sphere in an uniform electric field conducting/polarized ...
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2answers
543 views

Why do we say that in Coulomb's law the force is proportional to $\frac{1}{r^{2}}$ and not $\frac{1}{r^{3}}$?

I am going over Coulomb's law and there is something that is a bit confusing for me: According to Coulomb's law, if I have a charge $q_{1}$ at a point $\vec{r_{1}}$ and a charge $q_{2}$ at a point ...
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7answers
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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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5answers
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How can I prevent my son building up static on his trampoline? [duplicate]

Whenever my three year old son plays on his trampoline, it doesn't take very long for him to start building up a significant amount of static electricity. His hair stands on end (which is quite ...
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3answers
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Charge density in concentric spheres

Question: If there are two conducting spherical shells and the inner shell is grounded, what will be >the charge density in the inner shell if there is a charge Q placed on the outer shell? ...
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1answer
375 views

Coulomb interaction as virtual particles exchange?

I've been reading about virtual particle exchanges in physics books and in Physics SA posts, where a particle interpretation of gravity and Coulomb interaction is established. The Feynman Diagram ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What are the limits of applicability of Coulomb's Law?

Coulomb's law is formally parallel to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, which is known to give way to General Relativity for very large masses. Does Coulomb's Law have any similar limits of ...
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2answers
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How does rubbing cause the transfer of electrons from one object to the other? [duplicate]

I have just learnt about electrostatics. Why would there be a transfer of electrons? Is it because of the difference of the materials (i.e. triboelectric series)? So in the case of two different ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Is a capacitor in an open circuit charged?

Say I have a circuit consisting of a battery, a wire, an open switch, and a capacitor. The circuit is open since the switch is open. My book says that the capacitor will only be charged when the ...
3
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1answer
329 views

Are the axial electric field lines of a dipole the only ones that extend to infinity?

Consider an electric dipole and its electric field lines. There will be many field lines that do not extend to or originate from infinity, but rather begin at the positive charge and loop back ...
3
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1answer
971 views

Why does Hauksbee's electrostatic machine produce light?

I'm reading on the history of the discovery of electricity and the electron, and I've went from reading about Rutherford's gold leaf experiment all the way back to Francis Hauksbee's spinning glass ...
3
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1answer
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Electric Field Between Two Parallel Infinite Plates of Positive Charge and a Gaussian Cylinder

Is the electric field between two positively charged parallel infinite plates one with a charge density twice the other effect the electric field on the outside of the plates? I am thinking no, ...
3
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1answer
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Charge inside conductor

I know that the $E$ field inside a conductor is zero. What happens if I put a source of charge inside the conductor? Say the conductor was spherical centered on the origin and there exists a charge ...
2
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2answers
227 views

Electric potential inside a conductor

I just began studying electrostatics in university, and I didn't understand completely why the electric potential due to a conducting sphere is $$ V(\vec{r})=\begin{cases} ...
2
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1answer
235 views

An Electric Potential Glued to a Cube-Shaped Insulator to Replicate a Point Charge: Charge Distribution

I have been going back over this problem with a friend for the better part of a day: A potential is glued to a cube-shaped insulator so that outside of the insulator the field is the same as a point ...
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2answers
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Electric potential due to a point charge in Gaussian/CGS units

I learned electrostatics in SI units. In SI, the electrostatic potential due to a point charge $q$ located at $\textbf{r}$ is given by $\Phi(\textbf{r}) = \frac{q}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 |\textbf{r}|}$. ...
2
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1answer
589 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 ...
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2answers
94 views

Why does the superposition principle work in method of images?

Okay, let there be a conducting sphere having radius $a$ initially charged with $Q$ & insulated. Now, $q$ is brought in front of the conductor at $y$ from the center. Now, Jackson in his book ...
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1answer
47 views

Is the electron's magnetic dipole moment influenced by the measurement method?

The electric charge of an electron at rest is a constant value and is not influenced by the measurement instrument. The measurement instrument by itself can give more or less accurate result, but does ...
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2answers
96 views

Confusion with Grounded Conductor: bringing in a point from infinity

Suppose, for sake of argument, we have a spherical grounded conductor at the origin. Additionally, let our reference voltage be at infinity. Now, I view the potential of a point in space as being the ...
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2answers
577 views

In which cases is it better to use Gauss' law?

I could, for example calculate the electric field near a charged rod of infinite length using the classic definition of the electric field, and integrating the: $$ \overrightarrow{dE} = \frac{dq}{4 ...
0
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2answers
56 views

Electric field in a non-uniformly charged sheet [closed]

So if we have a large sheet that is not uniformly charged and is NOT a conductor, how can I find an expression for the electric field everywhere? Things we know about the sheet: the width is 2b it ...
0
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1answer
57 views

Why is this electric field due to one plate of a capacitor $\sigma / 2 \epsilon_0$ when the capacitor plates are finite?

We know that electric field due to an INFINTE large sheet is constant and at INFINTY the electric field is not zero. But say if I take a finite sheet of length l and width w. Then the electric field ...
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3answers
99 views

Electrostatics and two electric charges

How can two identical metallic objects have the same but opposite charges (one loses electrons and one gains electrons) when we know that metals have the ability to lose electrons only?
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2answers
14k views

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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3answers
8k views

Why does the area of the plates affect the capacitance?

Why does the area of the plates affect the capacitance? Lets say I have a parallel plate capacitor with a charge of 10C and a potential difference of 5V. By the definition $C=Q/V$, the capacitance is ...
0
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2answers
800 views

Calculate force of electric charges “suspended” by strings [closed]

In a question: Two small plastic balls hang from threads of negligible mass. Each ball has a mass of 0.110g and a charge of magnitude q. The balls are attracted to each other, and the ...
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1answer
80 views

Why is the strong nuclear force > electrostatic repulsion?

In a nucleus there is a gravitational force between the nucleons and also electrostatic repulsion between the protons, and since electrostatic repulson >> gravitational attraction, it follows that ...
20
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3answers
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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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4answers
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Is there a deep reason why springs combine like capacitors?

I was solving a practice Physics GRE and there was a question about springs connected in series and parallel. I was too lazy to derive the way the spring constants add in each case. But I knew how ...
10
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1answer
528 views

Confused medical student needs explanation of the electrocardiogram

From what I understand, as the heart depolarizes it turns into a lot of electric dipoles , the resultant of which can (somehow) be measured in the extremities. But how does this actually happen? How ...
7
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4answers
432 views

Distribution of point charges on a line of finite length

How will $N$ freely moving charges confined to a line with length $L$ be distributed? What are their equilibrium positions?
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3answers
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Force between two charged rods?

Suppose that we have two rods of length $l_1, l_2$ connected at one end but free to rotate. These rods have charge density $\lambda$ uniformly distributed, so the total charge of rod $i$ is $\lambda ...
4
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2answers
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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 ...
5
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1answer
206 views

What happens to 5 electrons on a sphere?

Let's suppose we put 5 electrons on a perfectly conducting (no resistance at all) sphere. There's no equilibrium configuration with 5 (though there is with 2, 3, 4 or 6). So will they keep moving on ...
4
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2answers
321 views

Why isn't there a potential difference across a disconnected diode?

I know this question sounds silly, as if there was a potential difference a current would be created when the terminals are connected together and this would mean energy has come from somewhere. The ...
4
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2answers
530 views

Gauss' law and an external charge

Gauss' law states that the net outward normal electric flux through a closed surface is equal to $q_{total, inside}/\epsilon_0$. However, I'm a bit confused of why the presence of an external charge ...
4
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4answers
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How does positive charge spread out in conductors?

I know that when there are excess positive charges in a conductor, for example, a metal sphere, the positive charges will spread out over its surface. However, I am confused about how this excess ...