# 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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### 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 the total flux through a ...
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### 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 ...
6answers
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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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### Basis for the Generalization of Physics to a Different Number of Dimensions

I am reading this really interesting book by Zwiebach called "A First Course in String Theory". Therein, he generalizes the laws of electrodynamics to the cases where dimensions are not 3+1. It's an ...
8answers
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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 ...
3answers
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### “Find the net force the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the northern hemisphere”

This is Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 2.43, if you have the book. The problem states Find the net force that the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the ...
4answers
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### Divergence of a field and its interpretation

The divergence of an electric field due to a point charge (according to Coulomb's law) is zero. In literature the divergence of a field indicates presence/absence of a sink/source for the field. ...
4answers
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### Using Gauss's law when point charges lie exactly on the Gaussian surface

Suppose you place a point charge $+Q$ at the corner of an imaginary cube. Since electric field lines are radial, there is no flux through the three adjacent (adjacent to the charge) sides of the cube....
3answers
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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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### Why is electric flux through a cube the same as electric flux through a spherical shell?

If a point charge $q$ is placed inside a cube (at the center), the electric flux comes out to be $q/\varepsilon_0$, which is same as that if the charge $q$ was placed at the center of a spherical ...
4answers
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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 $R$....
4answers
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### Divergence of $\frac{ \hat {\bf r}}{r^2} \equiv \frac{{\bf r}}{r^3}$, what is the 'paradox'?

I just started in Griffith's Introduction to electrodynamics and I stumbled upon the divergence of $\frac{ \hat r}{r^2} \equiv \frac{{\bf r}}{r^3}$, now from the book, Griffiths says: Now what is the ...
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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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### What is the purpose of differential form of Gauss Law?

I am learning the differential form of Gauss Law derived from the divergence theorem. $${\rm div}~ \vec{E} =\frac{\rho}{\epsilon_0}.$$ So far in my study of math and physics, the word "differential" ...
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### The roundabout definition of electric charge

In the book called Electricity and magnetism by Purcell, in page-240, he writes that Q in a surface is defined as $$Q = \epsilon_{o} \int_{\partial S(t)} \vec{E} \cdot \vec{dA}$$ Now, I'm quite ...
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### Why doesn't Gauss's law for gravity apply for an unbounded, continuous, and homogeneous mass?

Consider Gauss's law for gravity, in its differential form: $$\vec{\nabla}\cdot \vec{g}=-4\pi G\rho,$$ or in its integral form: $$\iint\vec{g}\cdot d\vec{A}=-4\pi G M.$$ This law intuitively makes ...
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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 ...
3answers
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### Would a gauss rifle based on generated magnetic fields have any kickback?

In the case of currently developing Gauss rifles, in which a slug is pulled down a line of electromagnets, facilitated by a micro-controller to achieve great speed in managing the switching of the ...
5answers
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### How to show mathematically that the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

The electric field is characterized by the equations $$\nabla\cdot \mathbf{E} = \dfrac{\rho}{\epsilon_0}$$ $$\nabla \times \mathbf{E} = 0$$ Or equivalently, $\nabla^2 V = -\rho/\epsilon_0$ and then ...
4answers
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### Electric field on the surface of a charged sphere

We know that the electric field for a point charge is $$E = \frac{KQ}{R^2}.$$ If $R$, i.e. distance from the electric field producer to the point where we want to find the electric field becomes ...
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### Is there a good experiment to demonstrate Gauss's Law for Magnetism?

I'm trying to come up with a simple experiment that can demonstrate the properties of Gauss's Law for Magnetism. I am aware that it is a mathematical representation of the fact that magnetic ...
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### Aren't Gauss's law for magnetism and Faraday's law of induction contradictory?

Gauss's law states that $\int_S \vec B\cdot d\vec S=0$. But law of induction states that $\xi=-\frac {d\phi}{dt}$, where $\phi=\int_S \vec B\cdot d\vec S$. So if Gauss's law was to be correct there ...
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### Can Newton’s law of gravitation be derived from Coulomb’s law? [duplicate]

I’m casually learning physics and have noticed that Newton’s law of gravitation and the electrostatic force formulas look similar. I’ve asked this question before but would really appreciate another ...
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### Flux received by a negative charge

Consider two charges $+q$ and $-Q$ placed at a distance, note- charge q and Q are different In terms of magnitude. My question: is number of flux lines received by $-Q$ proportional to its own charge,...
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### Why is electric field inside a cavity of a non-conducting sphere not zero? [closed]

Consider a charged non conducting solid sphere of uniform charge density, and it as hole of some radius at the centre. Now suppose I apply Gauss law. As there is no charge inside the cavity, no ...
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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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### 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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### 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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### Why can we neglect surface terms in Field Theory?

My teacher says that the integral $$\int _{-\infty }^{\infty }\frac{\partial J^{\mu }}{\partial x^{\mu}}d^4x$$ that we met in QFT can always be neglected since \int _{-\infty }^{\infty }\frac{\...
1answer
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### The shell theorem and the Hairy Ball theorem

To get straight to the question, skip to the 'This is what spherical symmetry really means' paragraph. I recently inquired about the shell theorem but this is a different matter (link), so I hope it ...