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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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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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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646 views

How would charge be distributed in charged conductors if the Coulomb law was not ${1}/{r^2}$?

Would the excess charge on a conductor move to surface until the electric field inside become zero if the Coulomb law was for example $\frac{1}{r^3}$? If yes, would the distribution $\sigma(x,y)$ be ...
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11k views

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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4k views

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
792 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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2answers
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
638 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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2answers
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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
525 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
10k views

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
3k views

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? ...
4
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1answer
366 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 ...
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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
302 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
911 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
5k views

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
4k views

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
187 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
233 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 $\Phi(\textbf{r}) = \frac{q}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 |\textbf{r}|}$. ...
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1answer
586 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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1answer
40 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
92 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
568 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 ...
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1answer
48 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
93 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
13k 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
7k 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 ...
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2answers
785 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
77 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 ...
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3answers
5k views

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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4answers
1k views

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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4answers
425 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
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
202 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
votes
2answers
310 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
518 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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1answer
4k views

The formula of the force exerted on an electric dipole by non-uniform electric field

When an electric dipole of moment $\mathbf{P}$ is located in a non-uniform electric field $\mathbf{E}$, there is an net force exerted on it. However, the formula of the force in some books is read ...
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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 ...
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4answers
6k 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 ...
2
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2answers
231 views

Why do electric field lines start and end at 90 degree at the surface of a conductor? [duplicate]

There is one property of electric lines of forces which states that: Electric field lines start and end at 90 degree at the surface of the conductor. But why is that so? Is there any proof for ...
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3answers
588 views

Is this really how a capacitor works? Why doesn't it behave like a resistor?

My book says a capacitor is two conducts being connected by an insulator. Now let's take a parallel plate capacitor to simplify the problem I have. Suppose I got two parallel plate capacitor in ...
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6answers
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Electrostatic Potential Energy Derivation

How is the boxed step , physically as well as mathematically justified and correct ? Source:Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential_energy As work done = $- \Delta U $. for Conservative ...