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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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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Why do same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

I know plus pushes another plus away, but why, really, do they do that? On the other hand, molecules of the same type are attracted to each other. I find that weird. I do know some stuff about four ...
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Does Coulomb's Law, with Gauss's Law, imply the existence of only three spatial dimensions?

Coulomb's Law states that the fall-off of the strength of the electrostatic force is inversely proportional to the distance squared of the charges. Gauss's law implies that a the total flux through a ...
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Virtual photon description of B and E fields

I continue to find it amazing that something as “bulky” and macroscopic as a static magnetic or electric field is actually a manifestation of virtual photons. So putting on your QFT spectacles, look ...
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Why two objects get charged by rubbing?

It is always told as a fact without explaining the reason. Why do two objects get charged by rubbing? Why one object get negative charge and other get positive charge?
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What prevents the accumulation of charge in a black hole?

What prevents a static black hole from accumulating more charge than its maximum? Is it just simple Coulomb repulsion? Is the answer the same for rotating black holes? Edit What I understand from ...
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Coulomb force in SI and cgs

Coulomb force in SI is $ F = \frac{Q1*Q2}{4\pi\varepsilon R^{2}} $ while in CGS $ F = \frac{Q1*Q2}{R^{2}} $ why is it? I mean doesn't it any make difference in dimension? since $ \varepsilon $ ...
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Negative Mass and gravitation

Since Newtonian gravity is analogous to electrostatics shouldn't there be something called negative mass? Also, a moving charge generates electric field, but why doesn't a moving mass generate some ...
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Tension in a curved charged wire (electrostatic force) - does wire thickness matter?

Consider a conducting wire bent in a circle (alternatively, a perfectly smooth metal ring) with a positive (or negative) electric charge on it. Technically, this shape constitutes a torus. Assume ...
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Are the Maxwell's equations enough to derive the law of Coulomb?

Are the 8 Maxwell's equations enough to derive the formula for the electromagnetic field created by a stationary point charge, which is the same as the law of Coulomb? If I am not mistaken, due to ...
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Is there really no meaning in potential energy and potential?

I have been told all my physics life that potential energy between two mass/charge has no meaning and only their difference has meaning. The same goes for electric potential, only the difference ...
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Laplacian of $1/r^2$ (context: electromagnetism and poisson equation)

We know that a point charge $q$ located at the origin $r=0$ produces a potential $\sim \frac{q}{r}$, and this is consistent with the fact that the Laplacian of $\frac{q}{r}$ is ...
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Capacitor with different charges on each plate

I am confused as to whether/how capacitance changes when each plate has a different charge. For example, consider a coaxial cable and put $20Q$ on the outer cable, and $-Q$ on the inner. Or how about ...
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Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
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No magnetic field from a static charge - Is there a simple physical argument to show why?

For a charge moving in an electric field $\vec E$, its equation of motion is given by the electric part of the Lorentz force $$\frac d {dt}\gamma m \vec v = e\vec E$$This comes from the conservation ...
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Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller?

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller? Intuitively, most people (including I) think of the dust will not stick to rotating fan propellers. EDIT 1: Thank you for the great explanations. I am ...
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Why is there a factor of $4\pi$ in certain force equations?

I mean to ask why there is $4\pi$ present in force equations governing electricity? Though all objects in universe are not spherical and circular, the constant of proportionality in both equations ...
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Paradoxical interaction between a massive charged sphere and a point charge

Suppose we have a sphere of radius $r$ and mass m and a negatively charged test particle at distance d from its center, $d\gg r$. If the sphere is electrically neutral, the particle will fall toward ...
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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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How does electricity flow in conductor when potential difference is applied?

Electrons move from higher potential to lower potential. When a conductor is connected to battery, electron move from negative terminal to positive terminal. But the battery itself forms a Electric ...
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Why do surfaces act like barriers for electrons?

Say you have a conductor, filled with free electrons. The nuclei have a weak pull on the valence electrons so they are moving around in the conductor. But the electrons don't leave the solid. If you ...
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Is Newton's universal gravitational constant the inverse of permittivity of mass in vacuum?

Is it possible to consider Newton's universal gravitational constant, $G$, as inverse of vacuum permittivity of mass? $$\epsilon_m=\frac {1}{4\pi G}$$ if so, then vacuum permeability of mass will ...
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Why is electric field strong at sharp edges?

I learned about the coronal discharge, and the common explanation is because the electric field is strong where radius of curvature is small. But I haven't found anything yet that explains why ...
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A problem of missing energy when charging a second capacitor

A capacitor is charged. It is then connected to an identical uncharged capacitor using superconducting wires. Each capacitor has 1/2 the charge as the original, so 1/4 the energy - so we only have 1/2 ...
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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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Paradox with Gauss' law when space is uniformly charged everywhere

Consider that space is uniformly charged everywhere, i.e., filled with a uniform charge distribution, $\rho$, everywhere. By symmetry, the electric field is zero everywhere. (If I take any point in ...
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What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
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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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What are electromagnetic fields made of?

I am trying to understand electromagnetic fields so I have two question related to them. What is a electromagnetic field made of? Is it made of photons / virtual photons? How about a static electric ...
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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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Finding the electric field for a shell of charge

Suppose we have charge density defined $$ \rho(x,y,z) = \begin{cases} 0 & 0 \leq r < a \\ K & a \leq r\leq b\\ 0 & b< r \end{cases} $$ For some constants $K,a,b$ How would ...
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Charge density in concentric spheres

Question: If there are two conducting spherical shells and the inner shell is grounded, what will be >the charge density in the inner shell if there is a charge Q placed on the outer shell? ...
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An Electric Potential Glued to a Cubic Insulator to Replicate a Point Charge: Charge Distribution

I have been going back over this problem with a friend for the better part of a day: A potential is glued to a cube insulator so that outside of the insulator the field is the same as a point ...
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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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Definition of electric charge and proper explanation

Is there a definition of electric charge and proper explanation of it? It is said "Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when close to other ...
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Calculate force of electric charges “suspended” by strings [closed]

In a question: Two small plastic balls hang from threads of negligible mass. Each ball has a mass of 0.110g and a charge of magnitude q. The balls are attracted to each other, and the ...
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What is the answer to Feynman's Disc Paradox?

[This question is Certified Higgs Free!] Richard Feynman in Lectures on Physics Vol. II Sec. 17-4, "A paradox," describes a problem in electromagnetic induction that did not originate with him, but ...
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Is there a deep reason why springs combine like capacitors?

I was solving a practice Physics GRE and there was a question about springs connected in series and parallel. I was too lazy to derive the way the spring constants add in each case. But I knew how ...
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How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?
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Electrostatic Potential Energy Derivation

How is the boxed step , physically as well as mathematically justified and correct ? Source:Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential_energy As work done = $- \Delta U $. for Conservative ...
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What is the net charge of the Earth?

This question arose in a seminar today about the solar wind... This is my vagueish understanding of the problem - please correct if you see errors! The 'classical' picture of atmospheric electricity ...
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Distribution of point charges on a line of finite length

How will $N$ freely moving charges confined to a line with length $L$ be distributed? What are their equilibrium positions?
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Will a charged capacitor discharge if one lead is connected to ground?

If I charge a capacitor and connect one lead to ground keeping the other lead floating, will the capacitor discharge ? ...
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What happens to 5 electrons on a sphere?

Let's suppose we put 5 electrons on a perfectly conducting (no resistance at all) sphere. There's no equilibrium configuration with 5 (though there is with 2, 3, 4 or 6). So will they keep moving on ...
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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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In electrostatics, why the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

In electromagnetism books, such as Griffiths or the like, when they talk about the properties of conductors in case of electrostatics they say that the electric field inside a conductor is zero. I ...
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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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Is this really how a capacitor works? Why doesn't it behave like a resistor?

My book says a capacitor is two conducts being connected by an insulator. Now let's take a parallel plate capacitor to simplify the problem I have. Suppose I got two parallel plate capacitor in ...
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Why doesn't a gaussian surface pass through discrete charges?

I have read that Gaussian surface cannot pass through discrete charges. Why is it so? I have even seen in application of Gauss' Law when we imagine a Gaussian Surface passing through a charge ...
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How would charge be distributed in charged conductors if the Coulomb law was not ${1}/{r^2}$?

Would the excess charge on a conductor move to surface until the electric field inside become zero if the Coulomb law was for example $\frac{1}{r^3}$? If yes, would the distribution $\sigma(x,y)$ be ...