I have recently come across a statement in my book that, "when a test charge is released at a point in an electrostatic field, the direction of traversal of the test charge will not be along the field line passing through the point at which the test charge is released."

Why is this so? Wouldn't the charge travel along the electric field line passing through the point?? Could someone explain my why the above mentioned statement is true ?

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/178467/50583 $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ I would add that it is Falematte's answer the relevant one. At least, by interpreting released as with zero initial velocity. $\endgroup$
    – GiorgioP
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GiorgioP. Does Earth follow the Sun's gravitational field lines? Thankfully: No. $\endgroup$
    – JEB
    Jun 5, 2021 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ so if we release it with zero initial velocity , the path traced by the test charge will be along the direction of electric field only, right ??? $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2021 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ No, field line and trajectory will have a common tangent at the starting position, but the trajectory will not coincide with the line fields. $\endgroup$
    – GiorgioP
    Jun 5, 2021 at 19:43


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