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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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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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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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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202 views

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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222 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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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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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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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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Gauss Law for a Modified Coulomb's Law

A problem out of a certain popular book on electricity and magnetism dealt with the resulting electrostatic theory if Coulomb's law was replaced with the following equation: $$ \mathbf{F} = ...
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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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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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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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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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Do electric and magnetic lines of force physically exist?

As per my imagination any thing can't impose force on the other by not giving even a touch(i,e action at a distance). So I thought there must be some physical existence of lines of force. Although ...
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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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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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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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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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633 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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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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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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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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Meaning of “Grounded”

In my opinion, "grounded" means having the same potential as the potential at infinity, which is usually set to zero. Now if we consider a conductor inside a uniform electric field, what is the ...
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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 ...
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Why can you make two repelling positively charged rods touch? Shouldn't the Coulomb force become infinite?

For a physics lab on the Triboelectric effect, we rubbed two rods with fur which gave both of them a positive charge. We then brought them close together, and they obviously repelled. We then held ...
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Do inner shell electrons feel the electric field/force from an outer shell electron in an atom?

We just finished studying Gauss’ law and were puzzled by this thought. If I look at a copper atom and focus on the 29th electron in the 4th shell, according to Gauss’ law, I can draw a Gaussian ...
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Meaning of the phrase “dipole moment of the combination”

Here is a question I came across in a book: Three point charges $-q$,$-q$ and $2q$ are placed on the vertices of an equilateral triangle of side length $d$ units.What is the dipole moment of the ...
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Do we know why the field produced by charge extends to infinity?

Do we have any model to show why charge field or magnetic field extends till infinity. Edit: I agree that according to coulombs law $1/r^2$ cannot be 0 but do we know why this happens.I think I am ...
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Using the image charges method to find the electric field

The following is a question from a tutorial in my Physics 2 course about conductors and the Method of image charges. We are given two infinite perpendicular and grounded plains. The first ...
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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 ...
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Field due to current in a wire

Suppose a current flows in a straight cylindrical wire so that an electric field $\textbf{E}$ is maintained in the wire. Will there be an electric field just outside the wire..?
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Why we cannot use Gauss's Law to find the Electric Field of a finite-length charged wire?

One of my physics books has a nice example on how to use Gauss's Law to find the electric field of a long (infinite) charged wire. However, at the very end of the example, the author ends by saying ...
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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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Couch shocks everything!

How do I get rid of the static charge I get from my microfiber couches? Every time I get up and touch something it zaps me... I'm mostly worried about my laptop getting fried.
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What restores balance to a repulsive electric force on an electroscope?

I am an amateur physics enthusiast (during the day I am a police officer), and recently, I learned how to build an electroscope. I regret that I am learning how wonderful our universe is so late in my ...
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Integrating Radial Vector Fields

Given a integral $$\int_vd^3{r} \;\vec{r}\;\rho(r)$$ and How do you convert it to spherical coordinate system, noting that $\rho(r)$ is indeed as it is without vector, i.e. it is spherically symmetric ...