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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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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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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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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What is the electric field in a parallel plate capacitor?

When we find the electric field between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor we assume that the electric field from both plates is $${\bf E}=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}\hat{n.}$$ The factor of two ...
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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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What is the origin of the Dirac delta term in the dipole electric field?

I am a bit lost how one has deduced the formula for electric field with electric dipole because of some inconsistency between different sources. The Wikipedia article contains a delta function in the ...
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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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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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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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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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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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What will be final velocity of three charges $q$, $q$, $2q$? [closed]

What will be final velocity of three charges q, q and 2q kept along an equilateral triangle of side r at infinite distance. All three masses are equal. I tried to conserve Total Energy ...
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Poisson equation in 2D and 3D: geometrical reason for the difference

The Poisson equation in 3D shows a fundamental solution in 3D which decays with $\sim 1/r$, whilst in 2D it shows a much different decay $\sim -\ln r$. While in 3D not only the solution, but also its ...
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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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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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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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Charge distribution on a plate of Capacitor with Dielectrics .

I had this Homework Problem with a capacitor (parallel plate) that has a group of 3 dielectrics between it like so : Now We were asked to find the equivalent capacitance and the distance of ...
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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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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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How do aspherical gravitational monopoles look like?

I was recently pointed by laboussoleestmonpays to a beautiful paper from some time ago, Aspherical gravitational monopoles. Alain Connes, Thibault Damour and Pierre Fayet. Nucl. Phys. B 490 no. ...
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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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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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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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How does an object regains its neutrality after being charged by rubbing?

Objects (like comb) can be charged by rubbing as charged particles, particularly electrons, are transferred from one object to other. This can be seen as the object (comb) attracts small bits of ...
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Why resistivity of copper wire is not zero even at zero kelvin?

At zero kelvin, everything seems dead stop. There is no movement occurring at zero kelvin, even at atomic level. As there is no movement in atoms, there is no vibration of atoms about their mean ...
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metal die charged, where do the charges go?

I'm puzzled by this question: I have a metal die (a regular cube, completely filled with homogeneous iron for instance); I charge it with some µCoulombs. Where do the charges go? Can the faces of the ...
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Is the charge distribution for an electric field unique?

If the electric field and boundary conditions are known exactly for a region of space, is it true that there exists only one charge distribution in that region of space that could have produced it? ...
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Potential generated by a hollow sphere with a hole

The sphere has radius $R$ and is missing its "pole" - meaning that in the area $\theta\leq\alpha$ there is nothing. The object has a homogenous charge density $\sigma=\frac{Q}{\pi R^2}$ I'm trying to ...
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Electrostatic adhesion instead of glue. Is it possible?

I am thinking about the way to attach the printed photographs to the wall but not using the frame. And the most interesting idea for me is the use of electrostatics. In addition I have found the ...
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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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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 ...
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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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Levitating capacitor

As the title already says, I would like to make a large capacitor levitate. Before you dismiss this question please hear me out: In essence, this is intended to be a way to avoid the constrains of a ...
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Earnshaw Theorem for ionic solids

Is a single molecule of sodium chloride (say) or a cluster of molecules of NaCl unstable, although macroscopically NaCl is in fact, stable? How can I reason this based on Earnshaw's theorem?
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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 ...
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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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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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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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Mutual $E$ force due to charged coaxial rings [closed]

I found the following question in a good physics book I was solving and although this is a computer problem, I wonder if it can be done without using computers. $Q.$ Find the force of attraction ...
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Fluctuation interaction between two uncharged spheres

TL;DR: The problem is to determine force, acting between two uncharged conducting spheres, induced by correlated fluctuations of charge densities in these spheres. I've got stucked along the way and ...
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967 views

What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
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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 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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Explanation for $E~$ not falling off at $1/r^2$ for infinite line and sheet charges?

For an infinite line charge, $E$ falls off with $1/r$; for an infinite sheet of charge it's independent of r! The infinitesimal contributions to $E$ fall off with $1/r^2$, so why doesn't the total $E$ ...
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Is the electric field of a volume charge distribution well defined?

Consider a volume charge distribution $\rho({\bf r'})$. The electric field at ${\bf r}$ is $${\bf E}({\bf r})=\iiint\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\frac{\rho({\bf r'})}{R^2}\hat{\bf R}\, \mathrm d^3{\bf ...
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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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Why the direction of dipole moment is from negative charge to positive charge?

An electric dipole moment is defined as $p = q\times 2d$. How to understand it physically? Why the direction of the electric dipole moment is from negative charge to positive charge?
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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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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 ...