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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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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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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613 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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295 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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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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112 views

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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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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371 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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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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286 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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33 views

What does a hexadecapole look like

Two dipoles can form a quadrupole, two quadropoles an octopole. The textbook by Griffith then says ' and so on'. So how would a hexadecapole really look like? My impression was that the construction ...
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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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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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236 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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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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516 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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535 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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196 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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876 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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158 views

Electric field in a conductor

Is it always true that the electric field in a conductor is zero? What would happen if I put a very big charge inside an ungrounded hollow conducting sphere like this image? The charges inside the ...
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47 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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329 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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271 views

Electric force between charges in two different media

As far as I know, Coulomb's law of electrostatic force is applicable on two different charges situated in same medium. But if two individual charges are in different media (say one charge on a iron ...
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260 views

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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309 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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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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329 views

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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1answer
971 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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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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391 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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327 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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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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275 views

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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184 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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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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114 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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307 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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2answers
159 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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2answers
149 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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132 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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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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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 ...