Questions tagged [gauss-law]

A law in classical electromagnetism and Newtonian gravity which relates (charge) density to the divergence of a field, or alternatively the charge in a volume to the flux through the bounding surface.

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36
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5answers
5k views

Why are so many forces explainable using inverse squares when space is three dimensional?

It seems paradoxical that the strength of so many phenomena (Newtonian gravity, Coulomb force) are calculable by the inverse square of distance. However, since volume is determined by three ...
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Gravitational field intensity inside a hollow sphere

It is quite easy to derive the gravitational field intensity at a point within a hollow sphere. However, the result is quite surprising. The field intensity at any point within a hollow sphere is zero....
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Why does the density of electric field lines make sense, if there is a field line through every point?

When we're dealing with problems in electrostatics (especially when we use Gauss' law) we often refer to the density of electric field lines, which is inversely proportional to the radius in the case ...
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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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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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Field between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor using Gauss's Law

Consider the following parallel plate capacitor made of two plates with equal area $A$ and equal surface charge density $\sigma$: The electric field due to the positive plate is $$\frac{\sigma}{\...
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Intuitive explanation of the inverse square power $\frac{1}{r^2}$ in Newton's law of gravity

Is there an intuitive explanation why it is plausible that the gravitational force which acts between two point masses is proportional to the inverse square of the distance $r$ between the masses (and ...
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What is the electric field in a parallel plate capacitor?

When we find the electric field between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor we assume that the electric field from both plates is $${\bf E}=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}\hat{n.}$$ The factor of two ...
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3answers
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What do we mean with magnetic monopole and dipole?

What do we mean with magnetic monopole and dipole? I can not find a way to relate magnetic monopoles and dipoles with electric ones. I do not understand their outcomes. Also,what is their role in ...
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670 views

Gauss's law in a uniform charge distribution extending infinitely in all directions

Let us assume the universe filled with positive charge. About a particular point, all the positive charged particles will be symmetrical. Now consider a sphere of radius $r < \infty$ and apply ...
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1answer
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Inverse Square Law and extra space dimensions

Newton's famous Inverse Square Law says that in $n=3$ dimension of space, force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between a source and a target. I understand that for higher ...
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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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Period of oscillation through a hole in the earth

Special mention to the QI episode that kicked this off: Anyway, the host points out that a tunnel that connects a pair of points on the earth's surface can be thought of as a gravity train - where ...
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986 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 $E$ ...
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What is the electric field flux through the base of a cube from a point charge infinitesimally close to a vertex?

I'm having some trouble with the following problem: A charge $q$ is placed on the body diagonal of the cube very close to one of the corners (distance $\delta$ from the corner, $\delta$ tending to ...
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1answer
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Why we cannot use Gauss's Law to find the Electric Field of a finite-length charged wire?

One of my physics books has a nice example on how to use Gauss's Law to find the electric field of a long (infinite) charged wire. However, at the very end of the example, the author ends by saying ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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Does the induced charge on a conductor stay at the surface?

My textbook says that when a conductor is placed in an electric field, the electrons in it realign so that the net electric field inside the conductor is zero. There isn't a proof for this. It merely ...
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3answers
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Divergence of Electric Field Due to a Point Charge

I am trying to formally learn electrodynamics on my own (I only took an introductory course). I have come across the differential form of Gauss's Law. $$ \nabla \cdot \mathbf E = \frac {\rho}{\...
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4answers
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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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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 \...
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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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3answers
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Why are the two outer charge densities on a system of parallel charged plates identical?

One of the ways examiners torture students is by asking them to calculate charge distributions and potentials for systems of charged parallel plates like this: the ellipsis is meant to indicate any ...
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1answer
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Charge inside conductor

I know that the $E$ field inside a conductor is zero. What happens if I put a source of charge inside the conductor? Say the conductor was spherical centered on the origin and there exists a charge ...
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1answer
333 views

Gauss's law not making sense

If we have a point charge and outside of it we have a non-conducting Gaussian sphere, then Gauss's law says that the net flux should be zero. I agree that the total field lines coming in are equal to ...
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Electric flux due to external charge

Why is electric flux due to external charge i.e a charge outside a closed surface equal to 0? P.S:Moreover I found this statement confusing:- Electric field appearing in the Gauss' law is the ...
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2answers
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Why $1/r^2$ and not another power of $r$ in Newton's law of gravitation?

My book introduces the force of gravitation as a non-contact force between two bodies of mass $M_1$ and $M_2$ separated by a distance $r$ . Then it says it is directly proportional to the product of ...
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3answers
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Coulomb's law and Gauss' Law

Which of these laws is more fundamental or forms the basis of electrostatics? I started off with Coulomb's law and then I studied Gauss' law. I was wondering which one is more universal? My professor ...
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1answer
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Formal Connection Between Symmetry and Gauss's Law

In the standard undergraduate treatment of E&M, Gauss's Law is loosely stated as "the electric flux through a closed surface is proportional to the enclosed charge". Equivalently, in differential ...
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4answers
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Force between the plates of a capacitor

As we know that the electric field between two parallel plates of a capacitor is $$E=\frac{\sigma}{\epsilon_0}$$, so the magnitude of force exerted by one plate on the other should have been $$F=QE$$. ...
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2answers
999 views

Gauss' law in differential form and electric fields

I know Gauss' divergence theorem, according to which $$\iiint_D\nabla\cdot\boldsymbol{F}\text{d}x\text{d}y\text{d}z=\iint_{\partial D}\boldsymbol{F}\cdot\boldsymbol{N}_e\text{d}\sigma$$ where $D$ is a ...
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The relation between Gauss's law and Coulomb law and why is it important that the electric field decrease proportionally to $\frac{1}{r^{2}}$?

My question relates to the third MIT's video lecture about Electricity and Magnetism, specifically from $21:18-22:00$ : http://youtu.be/XaaP1bWFjDA?t=21m18s I have watched the development of Gauss's ...
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5answers
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The discontinuity of Electric Field

''electric field always undergoes a discontinuity when you cross a surface charge $\sigma$'' GRIFFITHS In the derivation; Suppose we draw a wafer-thin Gaussian Pillbox, extended just barely over the ...
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1answer
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Gravity force strength in 1D, 2D, 3D and higher spatial dimensions

Let's say that we want to measure the gravity force in 1D, 2D, 3D and higher spatial dimensions. Will we get the same force strength in the first 3 dimensions and then it will go up? How about if ...
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Is there a limitation on Gauss' law? [duplicate]

Recently I had a question to find the electric field at a distance $R$ from the origin, where the space is filled with charge of density $\rho$. I did this by assuming a Gaussian surface of radius $R$....
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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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3answers
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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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2answers
278 views

Calculating the potential on a surface from the potential on another surface

The question is short: If a charge (or mass) distribution $\rho$ is enclosed by surface $S_1$, I can calculate the electrostatic (or gravitational) potential on that surface by integrating $\rho(r') \ ...
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4answers
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Electric Flux - What is the point?

Electric flux is a defined quantity that is proportional to the no. of field lines passing through a given area element for a given electric field. It is not proportional to the relative density of ...
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4answers
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Why are excess charges in a conductor at the surface?

I’ve been told that coulomb repulsion pushes excess electrons to the surface of a conductor (i.e. sphere) electrostatic equilibrium, and this symmetry causes the net electric field inside to be zero. ...
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Why do magnetic field field lines behave the way they do?

So I learned that the bar magnet makes a magnetic field and the field lines have a certain shape which kinda resembles 2 semi-ovals. And if we pass current through a conductor then it makes a ...
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2answers
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Electric Field “at” the surface of a conductor

It has been pointed out to me that the Electric field exactly on the surface of the conductor is conventionally taken to be $E=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}$; does this come from taking the midpoint of ...
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2answers
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Electric Field from charged sphere within another charged sphere does not reinforce?

Lets say I have a positively charged conducting sphere of Q. The electric field outside the sphere is $$E = \frac Q{4\epsilon\pi r^2}.$$ Now suppose this sphere is enclosed inside another hollow ...
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3answers
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Why does the electric field of an infinite line depend on the distance, but not on an infinite plane?

I understand that with an infinite plane, as you get closer, the infinitesimal contributions to the electric field become greater in module. The direction of the vectors become less perpendicular to ...
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1answer
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Electric field at a point on axis of uniformly charged ring using Gauss law

I know we can find out the electric field using the electric field $$E=\frac{KQ}{R^2}$$ taking small element $dq$ and finding the electric field by integrating the value of $dE$ over the circumference ...
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2answers
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gauss law and electric flux

Can you please explain me what is electric flux. I know it is $\oint\mathbf{E}\cdot\mathrm{d}\mathbf{S}$, but in many place its given flux means to flow. But how does electric field "flow"? Also if we ...
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1answer
301 views

Does Gauss law depend on the fact that electric force law is inverse square law?

Feynman starts the derivation of Gauss law by stating the it depends specifically and directly on the fact that force law is inverse square. Does it mean that if electric force law varied as $1/r^3$,...
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1answer
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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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2answers
4k views

Electric field inside a conductor and induced charges

My textbook says two different things and I'm not sure how to reconcile these two: electric field inside a conductor is always 0. for a conductor with a cavity with a charge q inside it, the field ...