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 ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

33
votes
4answers
24k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

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?
13
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

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 $ ...
5
votes
3answers
436 views

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 ...
43
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
25k views

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 ...
7
votes
6answers
848 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

What is the force between two charged objects when the space between them is partially filled by a dielectric medium?

I am given two charged particles of same charge at a distance of $r$. They initially apply force $F$. Now an infinite dielectric (of dielectric constant $4$) of width $\frac{r}{2}$ is introduced ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

How is the electostatic field propagated by the vacuum? How does a charge feel the presence of another charge when there is NOTHING between them?

Is the word "vacuum" equal to "nothing"? Imagine two charges of opposite sign, far from one another in vacuum, and moving with constant velocity - s.t. none radiates energy, none emits photons. At ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

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. ...
3
votes
3answers
302 views

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 $E$ ...
1
vote
2answers
321 views

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 ...
1
vote
6answers
4k views

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 ...
44
votes
11answers
10k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
11k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Electric field lines density

When we're dealing with problems in electrostatics (especially when we use Gauss' law) we often refer to electric field lines density which is inversely proportional to radius in case of a single ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

How do we make symmetry assumptions rigorous?

I have, for instance, a problem with a spherically symmetric charge distribution. I deduce here, in order to solve the problem easily, that the corresponding electric field must be symmetric. How is ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

electric field inside a conductor?

We have studied so far that electric field inside a conductor if no charge is placed inside is zero. But we know that every conductor has only a limited number of electrons. What happens when ALL the ...
3
votes
2answers
6k 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
184 views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
669 views

Where's the energy in a boosted capacitor?

Suppose I look at a parallel plate capacitor in its rest frame and calculate the electrostatic energy, $E$. Next, I look at the same capacitor in a primed frame boosted in the direction perpendicular ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
586 views

Hexadecapole potential using point particles?

We can get monopole $1/r$, dipole $1/r^2$, quadrupole $1/r^3$ and octupole $1/r^4$ potential falloff by placing opposite point charges at the corners of a point, line, square and cube, respectively. ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
394 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
630 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
748 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
275 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Force when distance between charge is zero

According to coulomb law $$ F = \frac{q_1q_2}{r^2} $$ I want to know what happens to force when $r=0$. If $F \to \infty$ then the charges can't be separated! But if an unlike charge of higher ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Using photons to explain electrostatic force

I am trying to understand the idea of a force carrier with the following example. Let's say there are two charges $A$ and $B$ that are a fixed distance from each other. What is causing the force on ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the range of the validity of Coulomb's law?

What is the smallest and biggest distance in which Coulomb's law is valid? Please provide a reference to a scientific journal or book. Just saying that this law is valid from this range to that range ...
6
votes
2answers
941 views

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)?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Resistance between two points in an infinite metal sphere/cube

Let's imagine that we have a tridimensional metal object of infinite size, and decide to calculate the resistance between two arbitrary points. How would we go about doing this? I have thought of two ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

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 ? ...
5
votes
5answers
432 views

Why is the electric field inside a conductor zero in equilibrium?

My textbook says the field inside a conductor must be zero in order for the system to be equilibrium and therefore there must be no excess charge inside. Their proof: 1) Place a gaussian surface ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Infinitely charged wire and Differential form of Gauss' Law

I have tried calculating the potential of a charged wire the direct way. If lambda is the charge density of the wire, then I get $$\phi(r) = \frac{\lambda}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 r} \int_{-\infty}^\infty ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Why is the conductor an equipotential surface in electrostatics?

Since the electric field inside a conductor is zero that means the potential is constant inside a conductor, which means the "inside" of a conductor is an equal potential region. Why do books also ...