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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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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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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271 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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115 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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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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149 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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57 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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303 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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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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119 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
86 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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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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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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289 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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651 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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358 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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160 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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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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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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If something has zero resistance, does it have infinite amperage?

If amps = volts / ohms, and ohms is 0, then what is x volts / 0 ohms?
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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
6k 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 ...
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202 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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596 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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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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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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168 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 ...
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55 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
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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 ...
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1answer
719 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
159 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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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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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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564 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 ...
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2answers
257 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
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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 $\frac{1}{r^2}$. ...
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97 views

Why is charge $q$ symmetrically distributed?

Simple question: Why is charge $q$ outside symmetrically distributed? The material is a conductor.
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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. ...
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285 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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
231 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
272 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 ...
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4answers
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Is a capacitor in an open circuit charged?

Say I have a circuit consisting of a battery, a wire, an open switch, and a capacitor. The circuit is open since the switch is open. My book says that the capacitor will only be charged when the ...
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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 ...
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214 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 $l^{th}$ ...
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935 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 ...