I read a statement about the lines of forces of an electric field:

Total number of lines of force emanating from a charge body is equal to the charge of the body measured in Coulombs.

The statement seems to confuse me. Does this mean that 1 Coulomb of charge(Q) has only one line of force associated to it?
So if more than one test charge is placed in the vicinity of this Q then only one of them would experience the force since the line of force should pass through the center of Q and the test charge which should mean that there is only one line of force?
Is this statement correct or am I misconstruing something here?


I'm adding this after some thinking of my own: Let $d \phi$ be the flux through a small element of a Gaussian surface dS $$d\phi = \vec E.d\vec S=E.dS cos{\theta}$$ Assuming E to be perpendicular to the surface which would mean $theta =0$ due to charge Q would be given as $$E=\frac{Q}{4\pi \epsilon_o r^2}$$ which would mean

$$\phi = \int_S \vec E.d \vec S = \int_S { E} {dS }= E \times 4\pi r^2$$

(Gaussian surface if a sphere of radius r)

which would mean $\phi= E \times 4\pi r^2 = \frac{Q}{4\pi \epsilon_o r^2} \times 4\pi r^2 = \frac{Q}{\epsilon_0} $

but I cannot see how flux is equal to the charge.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That statement is wrong; any nonzero charge has $\beth_1$ field lines emanating from it. This question may be worth reading. $\endgroup$
    – Sandejo
    Jan 20, 2021 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


The electric lines of force is conceptual, and as such it does not have any physical existence, as it is commonly described.

If we place a unit charge at an infinite number of points in an electric field, then in theory there will be an infinite number of lines of force in the field, because at every point in space the unit charge experiences a force. But mathematically, the total number of lines of force emanating from an electric charge is taken as equal to the value of electric charge as measured in coulombs. It basically means that a charged particle of $Q$ Coulomb, “generates” $Q$ lines of force around it.

That is why you hear the phrase, the total number of lines of force emanated from a charge body is equal to the charge of the body measured in Coulomb. It is a bit misleading.

  • $\begingroup$ I'am still confused....if I have 10 unit charges placed around a 1 Coulomb charge....which of the charges will experience the force or will the force from the 1 Coulomb charge affect all the 10 charges and if all 10 charges do experience a force then shouldn't that mean there are 10 lines of force...which violates the original statement that 1 Coulomb of force has only 1 line of force...! $\endgroup$
    – Orpheus
    Jan 20, 2021 at 11:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.