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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How to get the electric field strength of a plate as approximation of a sphere

Suppose you know that the electric field in distance $r > R$ from the center of a charged sphere with charge $Q$ and radius $R$ is given by: $$ E = \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \frac{Q}{r^2} $$ ...
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1answer
150 views

Flashing a fluorescent light bulb with high voltage

My son and I built a Wimshurst machine (our second try) over the last couple of weekends. It works -- not terribly well, as it only makes 2cm sparks with 20 cm disks (something like 60 kVolt when it ...
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1answer
499 views

Calculating the electrostatic energy per unit length of a cylindrical shell surrounded by a coaxial cable

Suppose an infinitely long cylindrical shell of radius $a$ carries a surface charge density $\sigma_0$ and is surrounded by a coaxial cable of inner radius $b$ and outer radius $c$ with uniform charge ...
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2answers
555 views

Electric field in a sphere with a cylindrical hole drilled through it

Suppose that you have a sphere of radius $R$ and uniform charge density $\rho$; a cylindrical hole with radius $a$ ($a\ll R$) is drilled through the center of the sphere, leaving it like a "necklace ...
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2answers
170 views

Argument for symmetry of potential

Consider the following electrostatic charge configuration of a spherically symmetric, perfect conductor with total charge $Q = 2q$, where $q > 0$. A point charge $q$ is placed at the position ...
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1answer
465 views

What determines how much electrical charge an object can hold?

What determines how much electrical charge an object can hold? Does increase voltage force more electrical charge to be store in an object (Van de Graaff generator), since electric field increase as ...
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121 views

electrical potential energy stored in vacumm for a single point charge?

I have come to know the electrostatic potential energy in vacuum is given by $${\frac{1}{2}} \epsilon_0\int d^3x {E^2} $$ and this energy is due to the mutual electrostatic coulomb potential energy. ...
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5answers
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Conductors and their charge?

Why does excess positive charge stay on the surface of a conductor? This is what I understood from: How does positive charge spread out in conductors? and other resources on the web: If there is a ...
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165 views

In Jackson's expression for the electrostatic Green function, why is the Laplacian taken with respect to the primed coordinates?

Jackson writes, The function $1/|\mathbf{x} - \mathbf{x}'|$ is only one of a class of functions depending on the variables $\mathbf{x}$ and $\mathbf{x}'$, and called Green functions, which satisfy ...
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2answers
210 views

What happens to this potential energy?

Let's say I turn on a Van de Graaff which creates a large positive charge. Now let's say I have an object with a positive charge in my hand and I start walking toward the Van de Graaff from $x$ meters ...
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1answer
671 views

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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1answer
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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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2answers
310 views

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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1answer
162 views

Electric arc due to static discharge in a T-Shirt possible?

Yesterday, when I came home, I went to the bathroom (lights off) and i took off my T-Shirt (100% cotton) which I wore under a Shirt (50% cotton, 50% polyester). I believe to have seen a small but well ...
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1answer
197 views

Quadrupole potential generation in Paul traps

I am currently getting familiar with the concept of the Paul trap and the underlying physical principles. I do understand what kind of potentials are needed to trap charged particles, e.g. for the 3D ...
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1answer
59 views

Charge in a layered ball

A ball (radius $R$) has three layers. For $0<r<a$ it is a conductor with free charge $+Q$. For $a<r<b$ it is a linear dielectric $\epsilon$ with free charge embedded in it with density ...
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1answer
1k 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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1answer
4k views

Force from point charge on perfect dipole

Have a point charge and a perfect dipole $\vec{p}$ a distance $r$ away. Angle between $\vec{p}$ and $\hat{r}$ is $\theta$. Want to find force on dipole. I'm having more than a little difficulty ...
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3answers
372 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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2answers
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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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2answers
168 views

Will the electrostatic force between two charges change if we place a metal plate between them?

If a thin metal plate is placed between two charges $+q$ and $+q$, will this cause a change in the electrostatic force acting on one charge due to another? What is the concept behind this? What will ...
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0answers
135 views

Green's function for a dielectric with a charge [closed]

Suppose there are two infinite planes, one in $z=a$ and the other in $z=b$, with $a<b$. Between the planes, there is a dielectric medium with constant $\epsilon_1$. The differential equation for ...
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1answer
112 views

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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Conductors connected with a wire

Let's say I have two spherical conductors with different radii and different amount of positive charge on them. The spheres are far enough from each other. I connect them with a conducting wire. I'm ...
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0answers
252 views

Electron hopping among molecules - Marcus equation

I'm running out of professors to talk to, and I need to clarify a couple of things for the sake of making a realistic model of electron travel through a mesh. This is about calculations of electron ...
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2answers
2k views

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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3answers
302 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 $E$ ...
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2answers
579 views

Why electric field inside charged conductor is zero in the electrostatic case?

I am trying to understand the idea (or the fact) that most books introduce which is about the electric field inside a charged solid conductor Books tell that the field has to be zero everywhere ...
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2answers
846 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 ...
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2answers
393 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 ...
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1answer
198 views

Need of small charge in definition of electric field?

Why do we need infinitesimally small charge in definition of electric field? Since the test charge cannot exert force on itself, F on test charge will not change whatever the value of test charge q ...
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3answers
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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). ...
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2answers
891 views

Why is electric flux defined as $\Phi = E \cdot S$?

Flux, as I understand it, is the amount of substance passing through a particular surface over some time. So, from a simple perspective, considering photons that go through some virtual surface $A$ ...
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1answer
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Charge inside conductor

I know that the $E$ field inside a conductor is zero. What happens if I put a source of charge inside the conductor? Say the conductor was spherical centered on the origin and there exists a charge ...
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2answers
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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)
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4answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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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
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4answers
370 views

Surface charge density for an off-centre charge in a spherical shell?

How would I evaluate the surface charge density on the inner and outer surface of a neutral, spherical, conducting shell which has an off-centre charge $q$ inside? I believe that we can not use the ...
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2answers
226 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 ...
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2answers
643 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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4answers
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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
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1answer
260 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
71 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): ...
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3answers
1k 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
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1answer
772 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 ...
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2answers
174 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 ...
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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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1answer
607 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
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2answers
292 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 ...