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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
3answers
270 views

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 $E$ ...
3
votes
2answers
539 views

Does a conductor of total charge zero placed in a uniform external electric field experience net force?

The question I have in mind is: If we place a conductor (arbitrary shape) of total charge zero in a uniform external electric field $\textbf{E}_0$, does it experience any net force? Why (not)? Now I ...
3
votes
2answers
338 views

Shape of electric charges on sphere in equilibrium state

When electric charges of equal magnitude and sign are released on a regular sphere (and assume that they stick to the surface of the sphere, but they are free to move along its surface), what is the ...
3
votes
3answers
807 views

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). ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

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?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

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)
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is an electron/proton gun possible?

In the 1944 SF story “Off the Beam” by George O. Smith, an electron gun is constructed along the length of a spaceship. In order to avoid being constrained by a net charge imbalance, it is built to ...
3
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

What is the first non-vanishing multipole moment of this configuration?

Imagine that you have a triangle where each side has the length $a$ and a charge $q$ sitting at every vertex. Additionally, we have a charge $-3q$ sitting in the center of the triangle. What is the ...
3
votes
2answers
538 views

Potential of arbitrary charge distribution

Imagine this: You have a sphere of air where you have no charge and around this sphere you have a charge distribution $\rho(r,\theta,\phi)$. (For instance, this could be ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the electric field at the edge of a uniformly charged disk infinite?

Consider a disk with a radius $R$ (I'll use $R=1$ at various points here) that has a constant surface charge density $\sigma$. Unlike the similar problem of the field in the vicinity of a infinitely ...
3
votes
4answers
943 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Why would a rotating charged sphere not have time varying electric field?

I have seen Gauss Law being used for a uniformly charged hollow sphere rotating with $\omega$. How is that valid to use Gauss law since it is an electrostatic law and if it is valid, why do we get a ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Why is electric potential positive?

If there is a positive charge $q$ at the origin of a coordinate system, the electric potential $\phi$ at a distance $r$ from $q$ is (by definition, if we take the point of zero potential at infinity): ...
3
votes
3answers
623 views

Charged particle between two parallel likely charged plates, is it affected by the plates?

Imagine two parallel conductive plates. Charge up both to have the same amount of positive charge. Then put positive test particle between the two. The Coulomb's law is an inverse square law, so one ...
3
votes
1answer
640 views

Electric field in a wire?

The electric field in a wire is parallel to the wire's surface (it is always pointing "to the front"). If the electric field did not point in this direction, surface charges would build up and ...
3
votes
2answers
150 views

Relation between Gauss' law and Coulomb's law

In Coulomb's law if the relation was as if electric field intensity was to vary inversely $1/r$ with distance rather than the inverse $1/r^2$ of square of distance, would the Gauss's law still be ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
488 views

Metal sphere and charged ring

I think this is an interesting question, to which I don't really know the answer to. (Also, not a homework question.) Say you have an uncharged metal sphere constrained to move in the z-axis. There ...
3
votes
2answers
238 views

Will the positive ions in an aqueous solution be attracted to a charged body ?

If I had a negatively charged body , say an electret , and i put it in a container of NaCl solution . Will the positive ions of sodium be attracted to it ? and why? If no, why do the positive ions ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Will two magnets lose magnetism if they stick to each other for infinitely long time?

Here we have two magnets and they are sticking to each other. What I've learned that could possibly explain it is one magnet holds positive charge and the other one holds negative. But when the ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Intuitive explanation of difference in $r$-dependence between dipole and monopole

For an electric monopole, its potential scales with $\frac{1}{r}$, where $r$ is the distance from the point of interest to the charge. However, for a dipole, its potential scales with $\frac{1}{r^2}$. ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

Why is charge $q$ symmetrically distributed?

Simple question: Why is charge $q$ outside symmetrically distributed? The material is a conductor.
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Flux through side of a cube

I am looking at Griffiths introduction to Electrodynamics 3rd ED. Problem 2.10 asks for the flux of $E$ through the right face of the cube, when a charge $q$ is in the back left corner of the cube. ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Why is the radial direction the preferred one in spherical symmetry?

I am learning about electricity and magnetism by watching MIT video lectures. In the lecture about Gauss's law, while trying to calculate the flux through a sphere with charge in it, the lecturer ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Electric field and electric potential of a point charge in 2D and 1D

in 3D, electric field of a piont charge is inversely proportional to the square of distance while the potential is inversely proportional to distance. We can derive it from Coulomb's law. however, I ...
3
votes
2answers
209 views

The appearance of volume $V$ in the Fourier series representation of a periodic cubic system

In the textbook Understanding Molecular Simulation by Frenkel and Smit (Second Edition), the authors represent a function $f(\textbf{r})$ (which depends on the coordinates of a periodic system) as a ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

Semiconductors and energy bands

The valence and conduction band of a semi-conductor are often drawn as here click. This plot has essentially two features and I would like to understand them. The peak and the valley of the two ...
3
votes
3answers
228 views

How to solve the Laplace Equation in the hollow square region?

Suppose the values of $a$, $b$, $V_1$ and $V_2$ is given. I want to find the solution of the Laplace equation, $$\frac{\partial^2 \phi}{\partial x^2}+\frac{\partial^2 \phi}{\partial y^2}=0$$ in the ...
3
votes
2answers
635 views

Motion of a dipole in an electric field

Assume that we have some non-constant electric field $E(x,t)$ and a point-dipole at a position $q$ with a constant dipole moment $\vec{p}$. How would you describe the time evolution, i.e. the motion ...
3
votes
2answers
202 views

Why 3 dipole terms in a multipole expansion?

As can be seen on this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multipole_expansion when we take a multipole expansion without assuming azimuthal symmetry we end up with $2l+1$ coefficients for the $l^{th}$ ...
3
votes
2answers
752 views

Prove a dielectric with infinite dielectric constant behaves as a conductor for static fields

I read the following problem: Prove that a dielectric medium for which $\varepsilon \to \infty$ behaves as a perfect conductor in the presence of static electric fields. So, the easy part is that the ...
3
votes
1answer
405 views

Revealing Electric field lines through Grass seeds in mineral oil

In one of Walter Lewin's famous lectures, he takes a small container almost completely filled with mineral oil and grass seeds (I'll keep looking for the video to link to it). He connects two ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Electric Potential of a Charged Sphere

Problem Consider a sphere with radius $R$, and with a charge distribution $\rho(r)=\rho_0r$. Using Poisson's equation, calculate the electric potential inside and outside the sphere. Solution I don't ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the physical meaning of the terms in the multipole expansion?

I have a few questions on multipole expansions and I have read about the topic in many places but could not find an answer to my questions, so please be patient with me. The electrostatic potential ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
688 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
89 views

How would you define electrostatics and magnetostatics starting from Maxwell's equations?

I'm reading Griffith's text, and he starts by defining Electrostatics as requiring the source charges don't move. I've seen a few slightly different definitions of electrostatics and magnetostatics. ...
3
votes
4answers
246 views

How can I calculate the force that is applied on a tube by another tube?

Let's say there is two tubes(cylinders with no tops or bottoms) with charges $q_1$ and $q_2$, radii $b_1$ and $b_2$, lengths $l_1$ and $l_2$. These tubes are located along the axis of each other's ...
3
votes
2answers
527 views

Charge distribution on conductors?

You have seen that the excess charge on an isolated conductor moves entirely to the conductor’s surface. However, unless the conductor is spherical, the charge does not distribute itself uniformly. ...
3
votes
1answer
564 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
votes
1answer
145 views

Local nature of a surface charge density

Boundary S of a cavity in a very large (perfect) conductor is a connected compact (smooth) surface. A positive point charge +q is placed inside this cavity. From Gauss' law we know that the total ...
3
votes
1answer
4k 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
votes
1answer
273 views

Information content of the electrostatic Maxwell equations vs Coulomb's Law vs Poisson's Equation

In electrostatics, we have Maxwell's equations: $\nabla \cdot E = \rho$ $\nabla \times E = 0$ These four equations (the second line standing for three equations) can also be written in terms of the ...
3
votes
2answers
180 views

Moving the plates of a charged capacitor to calculate energy density - where's the flaw in my argument?

For a charged air-dielectric capacitor, let the plates be parallel to the $xy$ plane, with the top carrying a positive charge $+Q$, the bottom a charge $-Q$. The force on an infinitesimal charge ...
3
votes
1answer
263 views

Coulomb potential

It is known that the Coulomb potential can be obtained by Fourier transform of the propagator from E&M. Is this because one of Maxwell's equations have the form $\nabla \cdot \mathbf{E}=\rho$?
3
votes
1answer
258 views

what is the electric field intensity inside a charged metallic shell if there is a point charge inside the shell?

What I know so far: - Charges (electrons) inside a conductor will repel (Coulomb's law). - The charges will experience repulsion which results in maximum separation distances between the charges. - ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Electric field a distance $z$ above the center of a circular loop. The Hard way [closed]

Problem 2.5: Find the electric field a distance $z$ above the center of a circular loop of radius $r$ which carries a uniform line charge $\lambda$. This problem is in refereced here (with ...