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 [tag:magnetic-...

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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 ...
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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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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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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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616 views

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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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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487 views

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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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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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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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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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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Electric field on the surface of a charged sphere

We know that the electric field for a point charge is $$ E = \frac{KQ}{R^2}. $$ If $R$, i.e. distance from the electric field producer to the point where we want to find the electric field becomes ...
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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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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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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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271 views

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 ...
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Will there be any force of attraction or repulsion between an electrified body and a non-electrified body?

Up to my knowledge an electrified (charged) body can attract a non-electrified (neutral) body. I thought this because, when we bring a charged (suppose negatively charged) body near a neutral one. ...
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250 views

Experimental relationship between linear dependence and superposition

From Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics The principle of superposition may seem obvious to you, but it did not have to be so simple: if the electromagnetic force were proportional to the ...
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How is Gauss' Law (integral form) arrived at from Coulomb's Law, and how is the differential form arrived at from that?

On a similar note: when using Gauss' Law, do you even begin with Coulomb's law, or does one take it as given that flux is the surface integral of the Electric field in the direction of the normal to ...
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Electrostatic Pressure Concept

There was a Question bothering me. I tried solving it But couldn't So I finally went up to my teacher asked him for help . He told me that there was a formula for Electrostatic pressure $\...
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Balloon rubbing; where do the electrons go?

If you rubbed a balloon with a towel, where would the electrons go: the balloon or the towel? Why? I'm guessing the electrons would go to the object with a larger mass, but it's just a guess. :)
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Spherical Shell with Electric Field Zero Everywhere Inside It

If an isolated, charged spherical shell has a uniform charge distribution, the electric field everywhere inside it is 0, by Gauss' Law. Is the converse true? That is, given an isolated, charged ...
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Speakers and Static from Hands

Why is it that when you touch the a bare male end of a speaker feed that the speaker makes hissing noises? Is it just (eddy?) currents running through you?
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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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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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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 ...
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Algorithm of Lightning Strikes? [duplicate]

Given an array of charge for a given area (2D or 3D), what algorithm would describe the path that lightning takes? An example algorithm would be from the highest charge of the cloud, find the lowest ...
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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 ...
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181 views

Need help on electric potential definition

I'm having trouble understanding electric potential. In my book it says "an electric force acts on a charge situated in an electric field." I understand this part. Then it goes on to say "If a charge ...
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Electric field due to a uniformly charged FINITE rectangular plate

I was teaching kids about how to find electric field using the superposition principle for continuous charge distributions, I thought may be I should derive the formula for electric field due to the ...
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535 views

Simulate / plot electrostatic field

I have something like this: For given voltage (9 V red wire, 0 V blue wire) I want to simulate electrostatic field. I already know, for example that in the point (10.5;0) there are 10 V and etc. I ...
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322 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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What are the limits of applicability of Coulomb's Law?

Coulomb's law is formally parallel to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, which is known to give way to General Relativity for very large masses. Does Coulomb's Law have any similar limits of ...
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Conservation of Charge and Method of Images

Consider the typical problem, "You have a conducting sphere of charge $Q$ and a point charge q a certain distance away, what is the force on the point charge?". The solution is a simple application of ...
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How does rubbing cause the transfer of electrons from one object to the other? [duplicate]

I have just learnt about electrostatics. Why would there be a transfer of electrons? Is it because of the difference of the materials (i.e. triboelectric series)? So in the case of two different ...
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90 views

What moves the charges between capacitors?

Suppose I charged two capacitors to charges Q1 and Q2. By charging a capacitor to charge +Q , I mean that one plate acquires a net charge +Q and another plate acquires a net charge -Q.The capacitors ...
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69 views

Electric field due to a charged irregularly shaped balloon

There is a question in my textbook that says: A rubber balloon is given a charge $Q$ distributed uniformly over its surface. Is the field inside the balloon zero everywhere if the balloon does not ...
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1answer
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Why aren't +/- test leads connected to battery terminals attracted to each other?

Similar to static electricity, why wouldn't the negative charges accumulate on the wire connected to the negative terminal of a battery be attracted to the positive wire (lead) when their ends are ...
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Inconsistency with electrostatic energy formulas

The energy of point charge configuration can be written as: $$W = \frac{1}{2}\sum_{i=1}^{n}q_{i}V(r_{i}) \, ,$$ which can take both positive and negative values. However, when we integrate the ...
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Does the electric force on a charged particle in a uniform electric field increase?

If I have a proton in a uniform field between two parallel oppositely charged plates and the proton accelerates, the electric force acting on it stays constant seeing it is a uniform field and as a ...
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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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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
776 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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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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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 shown....
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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. ...
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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 ...