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.

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My conundrum with Gauss’ law in electrostatics

If I use Gauss’ law to calculate the electric field outside of a charged (conducting or insulating) sphere or a point charge, the fields are the same. However, as a test approaches a point charge, the ...
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2answers
1k views

Why does the electric field perpendicular to every point on the surface of a conductor?

I am reading Berkeley Physics Course, Volume 2 (Electricity and Magnetism by Edward M. Purcell). I am in chapter $3$ pg $92$, and the book discusses conductors. The following is from the book: ...
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6answers
1k views

Is voltage electric potential or electric potential difference?

On Wikipedia, voltage is defined to be the electric potential difference. However, I am still not certain as to whether voltage is the electric potential ($PE/q$) or electric potential change ...
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2answers
7k views

Dirichlet and Neumann Boundary condition: physical example

Can anybody tell me some practical/physical example where we use Dirichlet and Neumann Boundary condition. Is it possible to use both conditions together at the same region? If we have a cylindrical ...
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2answers
147 views

Determination of auxiliary scale in dimensional regularization

My questions are in italics. In the article [1] a dimensional regularization is presented on an electrostatic example of an infinite wire with constant linear charge density $\lambda$. It is shown ...
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2answers
1k views

Electric potential due to a point charge in Gaussian/CGS units

I learned electrostatics in SI units. In SI, the electrostatic potential due to a point charge $q$ located at $\textbf{r}$ is given by $\Phi(\textbf{r}) = \frac{q}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 |\textbf{r}|}$. ...
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2answers
393 views

Gauss' law giving zero field where field is not zero?

Two plastic sheets with charged densities as shown: I'm trying to find the field at $B$. I obtained the correct answer by adding up the fields created by each charge density. But I realized that ...
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2answers
110 views

Absolute value in the argument of a logarithm

I am wondering how the author rationalizes the removal of absolute value bars around the quotient argument of a natural logarithm. My take on this is that the potential at point $b$ MUST be greater ...
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4answers
133 views

Why does $E=\nabla\phi$ follow from $\nabla\times E=0$?

I understand that using one of Maxwell's equations, $$\vec{\nabla} \times \vec{E}(\vec{x})=0,$$ it can be said that $$\vec{E}(\vec{x})=-\vec \nabla \phi(\vec{x}).$$ However, I can't find or ...
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4answers
976 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
84 views

Why change in Capacitance?

I do know it that the overall capacitance decreases if two or more capacitors are connected in series,but do not understand why? I do understand it mathematically but don't get the physics behind it.
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74 views

Why can you touch two positively charged rods?

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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414 views

Is the Earth negatively or positively charged?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
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2answers
2k 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. ...
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2answers
2k views

Calculating the field of an infinite flat sheet of charge using the superposition principle

I am trying to calculate the field of an infinite flat sheet of charge (a plain with uniform charge density $\sigma$) using the superposition principle. I know that the field of an infinite line ...
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1answer
10k views

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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3answers
408 views

continuity of the electric potential due to a surface charge

The Electric potential due to a charge distribution on a surface is : $\Phi \left ( x \right )=\int \frac{\sigma \left ( {x^{}}' \right )dx{}'}{\left \| x-x{}' \right \|}da$ I want to show that it's ...
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4answers
192 views

Capacitance of a capacitor

Why does the capacitance of a capacitor increase if the distance between the two plates of a parallel plate capacitor is decreased? I think, with decreasing distance between the two plates, the force ...
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1answer
1k views

Gradient of the electric potential

I was wondering if for a point-like charged object, does the gradient of the electric potential point in the direction of maximum increase or maximum decrease of the function $V$?
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3answers
2k views

What are the applications of Gauss's law in technology? [closed]

Freshmen physics textbooks use Gauss's law plus symmetry to calculate the electric field. I was wondering if this method of finding the electric field using a symmetry is used in real applications in ...
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2answers
261 views

Scale invariance symmetry as a simple argument in an electrostatics problem

In the comments to this post, it was hinted that proving that the force acting on a charge at a vertical distance from a uniformly charged plane is independent of that distance can be done by ...
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2answers
442 views

Why does the induced charge have to have the same magnitude as the inducing charge?

Why is it that the total induced charge on a conducting, grounde,d infinite plane must be of the same magnitude as the inducing charge?
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174 views

Differences In Potential Equations

Could someone please describe the differences between the uses each of these potential equations: Potential due to a point charge: $V = \frac{k \cdot q}{r} - \frac{k \cdot ...
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2answers
790 views

What is the effect of temperature on electrostatic-gravitational balance?

We have two identical massive metal spheres at the same temperature at rest in free space. Both have an identical charge and the Coulomb force [plus the black-body radiation pressure if the ...
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1answer
52 views

A zero gravitational potential and non zero gravitational field

Give an example of a situation in which there is a non-zero gravitational field and a zero gravitational potential at the same point? $$dV=-\vec E\cdot d\vec r.$$ The above equation implies that ...
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4answers
103 views

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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3answers
79 views

Calculating the Potential from the E-Field

I find that often times I'll be tripped up by questioning whether or not I can do something mathematically, and be unable to come up with a satisfying answer. This is, unfortunately, one of those ...
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1answer
185 views

Spherical harmonics

Given the following potential: $$V(\theta,\phi)=\frac{Q}{a}\left(\sin\theta \cos\phi+\frac{1}{2}\cos^2\theta\right)$$ on the surface of a sphere of radius $a$ I am trying to solve Laplace's Equation ...
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1answer
107 views

is it possible to have magnetic flux density B not in the same direction of magnetic field intensity H?

it is said that direction of magnetic flux density B in the same direction of magnetic field intensity H for isotropic media so what is isotropic media and is it possible to have B not in the same ...
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2answers
559 views

When can a surface charge density exist?

In my syllabus about electromagnetism, they state: "This surface charge density will not always be present, e.g. when considering two non-conducting dielectrics such surface charge density remains ...
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1answer
422 views

Electric field in a capacitor with a dielectric with variable permittivity

Consider the following parallel-plate capacitor, with a potential difference of $V$ across it's plates: I've seen some problems that assume a dielectric with a variable electric permittivity of ...
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1answer
270 views

Two electron beams exert different forces on each other depending on frame of reference?

I am sure there is a simple explanation for my confusion, but I am a little puzzled: We are dealing with two parallel electron cannons that each produces a straight beam of electrons. They are placed ...
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2answers
257 views

Electrostatic Potential Definition

In the book, Introduction to electrodynamics by David J. Griffiths, he introduces potential separately as a function and potential energy through that function. How can potential be defined before ...
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1answer
244 views

Taylor expansion of an integral in spherical co-ordinates

I've some difficulty deriving this equation from Jackson electrodynamics (The equation after 1.30) $$\nabla^2 \Phi_a\left({\textbf{x}}\right)=-\frac{1}{\epsilon_0}\int_{0}^{R} ...
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3answers
330 views

Explanation on the resulting forces of two positive point charges

Why will the resulting force lines of two positive point charges be like this: I would expect this:
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1answer
108 views

Electric force on spherical surface

I have a doubt about electrical forces on surfaces, for instance, on the surface of a sphere. I'll explain my point: let's say we have some spherical surface of unit radius and there's one point ...
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1answer
2k views

The formula of the force exerted on an electric dipole by non-uniform electric field

When an electric dipole of moment $\mathbf{P}$ is located in a non-uniform electric field $\mathbf{E}$, there is an net force exerted on it. However, the formula of the force in some books is read ...
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2answers
891 views

How do electrons repel?

I understand the basics, protons have a positive charge, neutrons have no charge, and the electron has a negative charge. But looking at the lines of force from a proton, they flow outward and push ...
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1answer
225 views

Complex Potentials, Potentials and Fields

Suppose an electric field $E=-\nabla \psi$ where $\psi=-Q\ln r$ where $Q$ is just some constant and I have found its harmonic conjugate to be $-Q\theta+c$ where $c$ is some constant. What does it say ...
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1answer
471 views

Electrical flow in a simple parallel circuit

I'm having trouble understanding something in one of my text books: Let’s have a look at the implications of each circuit configuration. Figure 3.13 shows the Conventional representation of a ...
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3answers
100 views

Force on a point charge q inside a cavity in an uncharged conductor

This is problem 2.40 from Introduction to Electrodynamics by D. J. Griffiths: A point charge $q$ is inside a cavity (not necessarily spherical or anything similarly regular) in an uncharged ...
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2answers
136 views

Why isn't the electrical field between two parallel conducting plates quadrupled?

For the sake of clarity and brevity, here is the description from my textbook (Halliday & Resnick 9th): This description states that the electric field is doubled. I am seriously confused. When ...
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1answer
78 views

How to find the equillibrium points using Jacobian and Hessian?

Given that I have Jacobian and Hessian matrices of three particles interacting with each other in a harmonic trap through Coulomb's law in a 2D plane, how do I find the equilibrium points of them (I ...
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2answers
188 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 ...
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1answer
182 views

Coulomb interaction as virtual particles exchange?

I've been reading about virtual particle exchanges in physics books and in Physics SA posts, where a particle interpretation of gravity and Coulomb interaction is established. The Feynman Diagram ...
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3answers
268 views

Electrostatic energy integral for point charges

The electric energy stored in a system of two point charges $Q_1$ and $Q_2$ is simply $$W = \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\frac{Q_1Q_2}{a}$$ where $a$ is the distance between them. However, the total ...
2
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1answer
107 views

Volume charge density of H-atom

I have a problem where I am supposed to calculate the volume charge density of a neutral hydrogen atom. The potential is given to be $$ \Phi = k \frac{e^{-ar}}{r} \left(1 + \frac{ar}{2}\right) $$ Now ...
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1answer
732 views

How are excess charges distributed over non-spherical conductors?

My textbook gives the following explanation on how excess charges are spread over conductors: The excess charge on an isolated conductor moves entirely to the conductor's surface. However, ...
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1answer
142 views

Mathematical problem in integral arising in electrodynamics

I want to calculate the total electrostatic energy of the Cavendish Experiment (two concentric spheres of radii $R_{1,2}$ which are connected, outer one gets charged, then removed, then after removing ...