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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Trying to understand Laplace's equation

I'm struggling here so please excuse if I'm writing nonsense. I understand that the gravitational potential field, a scalar field, is given by $$\phi=\frac{-Gm}{r}$$ where $\phi$ is the ...
2
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2answers
583 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

When the electric field in an electrostatic charged conductor is zero, is the potential within also zero?

Let's say you have a point charge inside a conducting shell with an inner radius of 5cm and an outer radius of $7cm$. The point charge has a chard of $-4C$ and the shell a charge of $6C$. This means ...
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2answers
1k views

The energy of electric interaction between these dipoles?

I'm a physics tutor. This is not a homework problem. I'm unable to solve this problem. The energy of electric interaction between these dipoles will be: Choose the correct answer from: I tried ...
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2answers
769 views

Help me find electric field strength vector for this given equipotential line

I'm a physics tutor. This is the question from a High school book. The equation of an equipotential line in an electric field is y = 2x, then the electric field strength vector at (1, 2) may be ...
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2answers
711 views

Image charges, laplace equation and uniqueness theorem

Consider a well-known problem of the electric field generated by a system composed of a point charge in proximity of a large earthed conductor. It is said that the potential due to an image charge ...
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1answer
288 views

Why does hair stand up when standing under power lines?

My initial guess would be the immense electric field around the lines, that causes hair to get charged and due to each hair having the same charge they start to repel each other. So what is exactly ...
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1answer
70 views

Potential at a point

What is the electric dipole moment of the charge distribution with $q$ at $(0,0,1)$, $q$ at $(0,0,-1)$ and $-2q$ at $(0,0,0)$? I would think that it is $\vec{0}$ by the definition ...
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1answer
910 views

Given charge distribution find electric field

Given a charge distribution $\rho(\vec{r})$ where $\vec{r}$ is the position vector and that $\rho$ is a function of only $|x|$, Why is it that the corresponding electric field $E$ is necessarily of ...
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3answers
2k views

Electric field at a point inside a capacitor

Let's say I have a parallel plate capacitor. How would I find the electric field at a certain point INSIDE the capacitor (inside the dielectric let's say). From what I understand, the flux of the ...
2
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2answers
187 views

Differences In Potential Equations

Could someone please describe the differences between the uses each of these potential equations: Potential due to a point charge: $V = \frac{k \cdot q}{r} - \frac{k \cdot ...
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1answer
1k views

As ISA Practical - Resistors in Parallel [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Current against the inverse of resistance graph, I = V/R +c How would you set up a circuit with a fixed resistor in parallel with a variable one. We are told to measure ...
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1answer
273 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
1k 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
521 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 ...
3
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1answer
233 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
229 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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3answers
240 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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2answers
967 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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2answers
280 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
170 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 ...
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0answers
760 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 ...
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2answers
598 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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1answer
221 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
489 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
173 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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550 views

Torque of an electric engine

So I have some follow up questions from this thread: Electric engine transmission Basically, I am looking for a more precise mathematical statement that makes this true. Why is it that the electric ...
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1answer
302 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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Why isn't there a centre of charge?

When determining the gravitational attraction between 2 solid bodies, we can simplify computations by taking their masses to be concentrated at their respective centres of mass. However, had they been ...
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1answer
163 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
89 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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4answers
926 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 ...
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1answer
475 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
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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 ...
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2answers
372 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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1answer
652 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 ...
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1answer
674 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
274 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 ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
13k 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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1answer
642 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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1answer
434 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 ...
4
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1answer
423 views

Balloon rubbing; where do the electrons go?

If you rubbed a balloon with a towel, where would the electrons go: the balloon or the towel? Why? I'm guessing the electrons would go to the object with a larger mass, but it's just a guess. :)
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2answers
945 views

What is the effect of temperature on electrostatic-gravitational balance?

We have two identical massive metal spheres at the same temperature at rest in free space. Both have an identical charge and the Coulomb force [plus the black-body radiation pressure if the ...
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3answers
606 views

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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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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Resistance between two points on a conducting surface

Suppose we have a cylindrical resistor, with resistance given by $R=\rho\cdot l/(\pi r^2)$ Let $d$ be the distance between two points in the interior of the resistor and let $r\gg d\gg l$. Ie. it is ...
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4answers
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Method of Images

The method of image charges is a well-known and very useful tool for solving problems in electrostatics. Unfortunately, when I was taught this method, it was presented simply as an algorithm. No real ...
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2answers
223 views

energy field of a newly created particle

The question is: How to calculate the energy of electrostatic field of a newly created particle. The usual formula involves integration 'all over space'. According to GR I believe that 'all over ...