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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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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What are the units or dimensions of the Dirac delta function?

In three dimensions, the Dirac delta function $\delta^3 (\textbf{r}) = \delta(x) \delta(y) \delta(z)$ is defined by the volume integral: $$\int_{\text{all space}} \delta^3 (\textbf{r}) \, dV = ...
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665 views

How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?
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Why a glass rod when rubbed with silk cloth aquire positive charge and not negative charge?

I have read many times in the topic of induction that a glass rod when rubbed against a silk cloth acquires a positive charge. Why does it acquire positive charge only, why not negative charge? It ...
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130 views

Do we apply electrostatics correctly?

In the definition of the electrical field we use the concept of a test charge because we state that the point charge is required for the direct application of the Coloumb's Law and its infinitesimal ...
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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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107 views

What causes a spark to move along rods that are not parallel?

I took my son to a science museum where they had a gadget that many of us probably saw in movies involving a mad scientist. The gadget had two metal rods about two inches apart at the bottom. The rods ...
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479 views

Ionized Depletion Region, Why aren't those charged being excited?

Ok so I understand the PN junction, and how when 2 Semiconductor materials are placed together the Electrons will jump into the Holes near the junction creating a Negatively Ionized Atoms on the ...
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155 views

What does really attracts a water stream to a charged object?

I saw this video by Varitasium and I was not 100% sure about the third phenomena, a statically charged object attracting a stream of water, especially because he explicitly mentioned that it is not ...
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114 views

Green function two solutions questions

I am having some trouble with Green functions in electrostatics What is the meaning of this trick: Given $$\vec{\nabla}^2 V(\vec{r}) = \frac{-1}{\varepsilon_0}\rho(\vec{r}) = ...
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478 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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131 views

Quantization of electrostatic $\vec E$ field?

Can a electrostatic field $\vec E=\vec E(x,y,z)$ (time-independent) or electrostatic potential $\phi=\phi(x,y,z)$ be quantized? If yes, will these quanta be photons again? But we don't have an ...
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Voltage and current of positive lightning

For a physics issues investigation I chose to investigate what effects lightning could have on an aeroplane while in flight if it was struck and then go on to discuss some possible implications of ...
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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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644 views

In Method of images type problems, why isn't the induced charge taken into account while solving it via Green's functions?

To take the simplest example, $$\Phi(\vec{r}) = \begin{cases} V & r\leq a \\ 0 & r\geq a \end{cases}$$ For a plane conducting surface that extends all the way. Choosing an appropriate ...
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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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4answers
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Why is electric potential scalar?

I can't conceptually visualize why it would be so. Say you have two point charges of equal charge and a point right in the middle of them. The potential of that charge, mathematically, is proportional ...
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341 views

Horizontal $E$-field for a charged conducting disk

For part of a simulation I am writing, I need to know the electric field emitted from a charged conducting disk. If the disk was laid out in the $x$-$y$ plane, I am interested in the field in that ...
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What is the purpose of differential form of Gauss Law?

I am learning the differential form of Gauss Law derived from the divergence theorem. $${\rm div}~ \vec{E} =\frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0}.$$ So far in my study of math and physics, the word "differential" ...
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What defines the maximum charge a capacitor can store?

The formula for a capacitor discharging is $Q=Q_0e^{-\frac{t}{RC}}$ Where $Q_0$ is the maximum charge. But what property defines the maximum charge a capacitor can store? If it depends on ...
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378 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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433 views

Is the electrostatic field inside of any closed, uniformly charged surface zero?

We know that a simple application of Gauss's law tells us that the field inside of a uniformly charged spherical shell is zero. Does this hold for all uniformly charged closed surfaces? If so, how ...
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443 views

Energy Gain with capacitor?

I have a question about energy gain in capacitors. Assume the following system: As the electron gets accelerated inside the capacitor, it will have more kinetic energy coming out than going in. But ...
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130 views

Does a AAA battery have a dipole moment?

Does a AAA or D battery have an electric dipole moment? Why don't the opposite poles of two batteries attract each other like that of magnet's?
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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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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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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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Curvature of electrostatic potential is zero

Could you please expound upon this claim? I found such claim on Zangwill's Classical Electrodynamics, which states that constraint coming from Laplacian equation implies electrostatic potential has ...
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660 views

Why does a faraday cage protect you from high currents?

In an electrostatic case it is clear that that in a space enclosed with a conductor (without charge in it) the electric field is zero. This is often demonstrated in physics shows like on the ...
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Is there any good reason/argument/heuristic why one can approximate forces by approximating the potentials?

My question Is there any good reason/argument/heuristic why one can approximate forces by approximating the potentials? (As a concrete example, in Electrostatics.) Motivation for the question I am ...
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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
111 views

Why does static electricity not make a charged body reflective?

If mirrors work by deflecting photons by free electrons in surface layer of mirror, so it could be possible to take a glass pane and provide it with extra free electrons by giving it massive static ...
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Computing a “best-fit” of discrete points from a multipole expansion, i.e. invert the multipole moments

Take a field $\phi(\bf{x})$ created from a charge distribution contained within a radius $R$. The multipole expansion in spherical harmonics $Y_{\ell,m}$ outside of $R$ is approximated by: $$ ...
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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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186 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 ...
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242 views

What equation describes the electrostatic potential in these circumstances?

I have a solver for Poisson's equation and it works nicely. It uses finite differences. It works in the presence of multiple dielectrics. It also solves the Poisson Boltzmann equation. That is, fixed ...
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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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214 views

Density of repulsive particles on a disk?

NB: the external circle (where particle or water is in it) is fixed ! It's a 2D theoretical problem (just for understand something in particular). Here, no gravity, no temperature. I put in a disk a ...
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802 views

How much negative charge do I accumulate by touching the earth?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs (according to different sources I've seen). If I touch the Earth I should therefore pick up some of this electric charge ...
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Charge Distribution on a Parallel Plate Capacitor

If a parallel plate capacitor is formed by placing two infinite grounded conducting sheets, one at potential $V_1$ and another at $V_2$, a distance $d$ away from each other, then the charge on either ...
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Fluctuation interaction between two uncharged spheres

I'm trying to figure out quantitatively what is the force, acting between two uncharged conducting spheres and I've got stuck. It is not a kind of homework - it is just a simple act of curiosity. I'd ...
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676 views

Why is the electric field of an infinite insulated plane of charge perpendicular to the plane?

I'm studying Gauss' Law, and I came across a section where we're supposed to find the electric field of various shapes (like an infinite line of charges, etc), and for an infinite plane with a uniform ...
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Divergence of a field and its interpretation

The divergence of an electric field due to a point charge (according to Coulomb's law) is zero. In literature the divergence of a field indicates presence/absence of a sink/source for the field. ...
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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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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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390 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 ...
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443 views

Change in attraction of charged bodies

If I insert a piece of glass between two objects carrying different charges, would they still attract? If they attract, does the piece of glass affect the force of attraction and is there any formula ...
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Sign of Work and potential energy in electrostatics

Conceptual question: Suppose we have a configuration of point charges. If the potential of the energy of the system is negative, this means work is positive. I'm kind of rusty with my mechanics, ...
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If we charge a capacitor can we discharge it into a battery?

I have read that we can charge a capacitor using a battery, but can the vice versa happen? My project needs to show a battery being charged through a fully charged capacitor.
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2D Gauss law vs residue theorem

I used to have a vague feeling that the residue theorem is a close analogy to 2D electrostatics in which the residues themselves play a role of point charges. However, the equations don't seem to add ...