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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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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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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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 ...
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484 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 ...
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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 ...
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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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179 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 ...
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813 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 ...
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41 views

Potential energies of charges and spring

I wonder if someone could sanity check this very simple calculation. Consider a pair of charges $+q$ at rest separated by a spring of length $d$ and stiffness $k$. The spring provides the force that ...
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225 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. ...
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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 ...
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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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Are the axial electric field lines of a dipole the only ones that extend to infinity?

Consider an electric dipole and its electric field lines. There will be many field lines that do not extend to or originate from infinity, but rather begin at the positive charge and loop back ...
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806 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 ...
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158 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 ...
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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, ...
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354 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 ...
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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 ...
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297 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 $\nabla \cdot \mathbf{E}=\rho$?
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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. - ...
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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 ...
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Make water droplets charged?

Normally water molecules are electrically neutral. But I have seen somewhere ideas about electric energy generators mentioning that water droplets might be used in some applications as they are ...
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174 views

Electric Field One-Form

I know for instance that we can interpret the electric field as the one-form that given a vector gives the change in potential in the direction of the vector, however I'm very unsure about how to ...
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465 views

Electric field lines

If electric field lines cannot terminate in empty space, in the simple example of two equal charges what happens to the line starting from one of the charges toward the other in the middle?
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What is the role of battery across a Parallel plate capacitor having equal charge?

Each plate of a parallel plate capacitor has a charge $q$ on it. The capacitor is now connected to a battery. Now, which of the following options are correct? a) The facing surfaces of the ...
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91 views

Unrolling electrolytic capacitors

If I take an electrolytic capacitor, remove the aluminium casing, unroll the foil/ electrolyte-soaked paper, if charged, will it still work? And what if I took of the cathode foil and wrapped the ...
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When I connect in series two floating capacitors, one charged and the other not charged, does current flow?

Suppose I energize one capacitor by connecting it across a battery, allowing it to achieve some potential difference V0 across its plates, then disconnect it and allow both of its leads to float in ...
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111 views

Scaling of Static Electric Field

The electric field of a point charge goes like $\displaystyle\frac{1}{r^2}$ The electric field of an infinite line goes like $\displaystyle\frac{1}{s}$ The electric field of an infinite plane is ...
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Given charge distribution find electric field

Given a charge distribution $\rho(\vec{r})$ where $\vec{r}$ is the position vector and that $\rho$ is a function of only $|x|$, Why is it that the corresponding electric field $E$ is necessarily of ...
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198 views

Finding the direction of the magnetic force acting on a conducting wire

I have a problem in finding the direction of the force when a conducting wire is placed in a magnetic field. If I use Fleming's Right Hand rule I get a circular magnetic field, so what will be ...
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140 views

Electric flux through nonspherical surphace

Here's an explanation from a book that I read: Now, I have a few problems with this explanation as well as with the "cone method". I guess that all my problems boil down to the concept of ...
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143 views

When to use which representation for an electric field

In class we covered three types of possibilities to evaluate the electric field for static problems. Unfortunately, most physics textbooks cover these ways without addressing the question of ...
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130 views

Solving non-linear ODE for divalent solution at a 1-D surface boudary

I am trying to solve the following equation for a positively charged plane with charge density $\sigma$ at $z = 0$. $$ \phi''(z)=-\frac{e}{\epsilon \epsilon_0} \big(z_+n_{+} e^{-\beta z_+ ...
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72 views

Does it really make sense to talk about field lines?

Field lines should only provide a visual representation of a field. There is a rule for their construction: take an object subject to a field, move it by d$\mathbf{r}$ and draw the direction of the ...
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78 views

Correct formula to express the potential generated by a single layer charge distribution

Assume that the closed surface $S$ encircles a volume $V$, and that a surface charge with density $\sigma$ ("single layer") is distributed over $S$. My question regards the electrostatic potential ...
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1answer
150 views

Polarization vector and bound charge

Why is it that the bound charge is $Q_b = - \oint_S{\mathbf{P} \cdot d\mathbf{S}}$? In particular, why is there a negative sign? Hayt's book on electromagnetism describes this as the "net increase in ...
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Electric field intensity in a dielectric inside a capacitor

In the question A parallel plate capacitor is charged from a cell and then isolated from it. A dielectric slab of dielectric constant $K$ is now introduced in the left half region between the ...
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1answer
183 views

A dielectric sphere in an initially uniform electric field and representation theory of SO(3)

I learned recently that the highest order spherical harmonic required to represent the spatial distribution of decay products of a particle can be used to determine its spin, by using arguments ...
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71 views

What is the potential field of an ion near the Bohr radius?

I figure that at large enough distances, the potential field of an ion is just the Coulomb potential for its net charge. But what happens at scales comparable to the ion's Bohr radius? Could there be, ...
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123 views

Realistic vs Idealistic capacitance

I am doing an investigation into the differences of calculating capacitance using the well know formula for an idealistic parallel plate capacitor, based on the assumption of a uniformly distributed ...
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1answer
421 views

Frank-Hertz experiment setup

The usual schematic representing the setup of Frank-Hertz experiment is the following: However, sometimes, you can see a bit different schematic: My question is: what function does $V_{G_1K}$ ...
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1answer
262 views

Method of images tutorial?

I'm having an exam in Electrodynamics soon. I think I have most of it under control, but the method of images I'm not quite sure about. There is not much in my book about, so I was thinking some of ...
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642 views

Electric Field due to a charged sphere

Suppose we have a spherical surface with a surface charge density varying as $cos(\theta)$. Apparently one can find the electric field both outside and inside such a spherical surface by superposing ...
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1answer
857 views

Calculating the electric relative permittivity of fluid or medium?

I'm unsure of how to calculate the permittivity of a fluid. Permittivity differs from one fluid to another: $$\varepsilon=\varepsilon_r\varepsilon_0$$ Since it is an electrical property combined ...
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3answers
563 views

Electrostatic notion of voltage as it applies to circuits

I have a question that's been bothering me about electric fields, voltage, and circuit analysis. Initially, I came to understand voltage as it was taught in the context of electrostatics - through ...
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1answer
317 views

Why do hydrogen atoms attract?

That is, why is the potential energy with the orbitals overlapping less than with the Hydrogen atoms 'independent'. Similarly, why is a noble gas configuration stabler than if an electron were to be ...
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How does an object regains its neutrality after being charged by rubbing?

Objects (like comb) can be charged by rubbing as charged particles, particularly electrons, are transferred from one object to other. This can be seen as the object (comb) attracts small bits of ...
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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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244 views

What force is acting on the charge in the dielectric?

For example I have a dielectric solid with a small charged ball in it. And I have external electric field $E$. So what force is acting on this ball? The field in dielectric is $\frac{E}{\epsilon}$, ...