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# Solution for Multiple-Choice Homework 3 Beginning Electric Fields

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.1(Electric Field Due to Equal but

Opposite Charges)
Problem: The figure below shows two charged particles with equal but opposite charges Q. The two particles
are a distance d from the origin. The point a is at the origin. Select the vector that is in the direction of the
total electric field at the point a?

(a)

(b)

-Q
a

+Q

(c)

(d)

## Select One of the Following:

(a) Vector (a)
(c) Vector (c)
(d) Vector (d)
(e) The electric field is zero at the origin.
Solution
(a) The electric field points toward negatively charged particles
and away from positively charged particles, so the electric field
due to the Q at point a points in the +x direction and the
electric field due to the +Q charge points in the +y direction.

-Q
x

+Q

(b) Add the vectors by placing the tail of one vector at the head of the second vector. The resultant is the vector
from the tail of the first vector to the head of the second vector as drawn to the right.
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.2(Conductor Shields Its Interior

from the Electric Field)
Problem: You are carrying out a sensitive experiment and do not wish the apparatus to be affected by external
electric fields. Which of the following will protect an apparatus from external fields?
Select One of the Following:
(a) wrapping the apparatus in plastic
(b) encasing the apparatus in a wood box
(c-Answer) wrapping the apparatus in aluminum foil
(d) surrounding the apparatus with magnets
(e) filling the apparatus with an inert gas
Solution
The electric field inside of a conductor is zero. Therefore, wrapping the container in aluminum foil will protect
the interior.
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.3(Comparison of Electric Field Magnitudes For Different Systems of Charges)
Problem: The figure to the right shows four systems of charged
particles labeled (a)-(d). Each system contains two charges. Systems (a) and (c) contain two positively charged particles with
charge +q. Systems (b) and (d) contain particles with equal but
opposite charge q. The particles are a distance d from the central point P in systems (c) and (d) and a distance 2d from the
central point in (a) and (b). Rank the magnitude of the electric
field, E, at the point P of the four systems.
Select One of the Following:

(a) +q

+q

(b) +q

-q

(c)

+q

+q

(d)

+q

-q
d

## (a) Eb = Ed < Ea < Ec

2d

(b) Ea = Eb < Ec = Ed

d
2d

(c) Ea = Ec < Eb = Ed
(d-Answer) Ea = Ec < Eb < Ed
(e) Ea < Eb < Ec < Ed
Solution
In system a and c, the symmetry of the system ensures that there is zero net electric field at the central point,
since the electric fields of the left and right point charge point in opposite directions. The net electric field at the
central point due to the charges in system d is greater than the net electric field at the central point due to the
charges in system b because the electric field due to a point charge falls off with the square of the distance from
the point charge.In situation b and d, the electric field of the charges add at point P , with the electric field of
both charges pointing to the right of the page. The relative magnitudes of the field is then Ea = Ec < Eb < Ed .
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.4(Principle of Superposition Applied

to System of Charges)
2

Problem: The two infinite parallel planes to the right have equal
but opposite uniform charge densities, . A particle with charge
+q is placed between the planes. Rank the magnitude of the total
electric field due to the two planes and the point charge at the
four points labeled (a) through (d). The points are equidistant
from the +q particle.

## Select One of the Following:

a
(a-Answer) Ea < Eb = Ed < Ec
(b) Ea > Eb = Ec > Ed

+q

## (c) Ea < Eb < Ec < Ed

(d) Eb = Ed < Ea < Ec

(e) Ea = Eb = Ec = Ed

Solution
(a) Parallel Planes Produce Uniform Field: Between the plates: The infinite parallel planes produce a uniform
field. The field of the left plane points to the right of the page as does the field of the right plane. The total field
of the two planes points to the right of the page and has the same magnitude at the points a-d.
(b) Determine the Direction of the Field of the Point Charge: The electric field of the +q charge points
radially outward from the charge and has the direction of the force a positive test charge would experience if
placed at the point.
(c) Reason about the Addition of the Vectors: The fields point in the same direction at point (c) and
therefore add, so Ec is the largest. The fields are oppositely directed at point (a) and therefore cancel, so Ea is
the smallest. The fields are at right angles at points (b) and (d) and therefore the magnitudes at these points is
less than the magnitude at (c).
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.5(Writing a Uniform Field)

Problem: A uniform electric field produces an acceleration (10m/s2 , 10m/s2 , 0) at (1m, 1m, 1m) for a 5C
charge of mass 10g. Write the electric field at all points in space. (Hint: it would be a good idea to know what
uniform means here).
Select One of the Following:
(a) (2 104 N/Cx, 2 104 N/Cy, z)

## (c-Answer) (2 104 N/C, 2 104 N/C, 0)

(d) (10N/C, 10N/C, 0)

## (e) (5N/C, 5N/C, 0)

Solution
~ and by Newtons Second Law, F~ = q E
~ = m~a. Solving gives
By definition of the electric field F~ = q E
~ = m ~a
E
q
3
~ = 10 10 kg (10m/s2 , 10m/s2 , 0)
E
5 106 C

= 2 104 N/C(1, 1, 0)

3

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.6(Lightning Striking Power Lines)

C
. Model
Problem: Lightning strikes the power lines, briefly transferring a linear charge density of 1.0 103 m
the power lines as a single infinite straight uniform line charge. Calculate the magnitude of the electric field at
the ground a distance of 5.0m from the wire.

(a) 3.6 105 N
C

## (b) 1.8 106 N

C

C
(d) 7.2 105 N
C
(e) 3.5 108 N
C

Solution
The electric field of an infinite line charge is
~ =
|E|

C
1 103 m
N
||
= 3.6 106
=
2
C
12
20 r
C
2(8.85 10
Nm2 )(5m)

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.7(Electric Field Due to Equal but

Opposite Charges)
Problem: The figure to the right shows two charged particles
with equal but opposite charges Q. The two particles are a
distance d apart and the negatively charged particle is a distance
d from the point a. What is the direction of the electric field at
the point a?

-Q
a

## Select One of the Following:

(a) The electric field is zero.
(b-Answer) The electric field points in the positive x direction.
(c) The electric field points in the negative x direction.
(d) The electric field points in the positive y direction.
(e) The electric field points in the negative y direction.
Solution

+Q
x

(a) The electric field points toward negatively charged particles and away from positively charged particles, so
the electric field due to the Q at point a points in the +x direction and the electric field due to the +Q charge
points in the negative x direction.
(b) The point a is closer to the Q charge, so its field is stronger. Since electric fields obey the principle of
superposition, the total field at a points in the direction of the Q chargess field, which is in the +x direction.
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.8(Electric Field of Crossed Planes)

Problem:
Two infinite planes of charge are drawn to the
right. One infinite uniform plane of charge occupies the x y
plane with charge density, xy = 3.0C/m2 . Another infinite
uniform plane of charge occupies the y z plane with charge
density, yz = 2.0C/m2 . Compute the electric field at
~r0 = (1.0cm, 0, 1.0cm).

z
_
_

(a) 2.8 105 N
C z

3N
(b) 1.0 103 N
C x + 3.1 10 C z
5N
(c) 1.1 105 N
C x + 1.7 10 C z

+_ +
_

## (d) 6.0 104 N

C x

5N
C x + 1.7 10 C z

Solution
Definitions

z
~ xy Electric Field at Point 0 for x y Plane
E
~ yz Electric Field at Point 0 from y z Plane
E
~ 0 Total Electric Field at Point 0
E

_
E0

Exy

_
Eyz

_
+

## ~r0 = (1cm, 0, 1cm) Position where Field is Computed

(a) Compute the Electric Field Due to the x y Plane: The electric field above an infinite plane of charge
in the x y plane is given by
~ xy = xy z.
E
20
~ xy =
E

3 106 C/m2
N
z = 1.7 105 z
C2
12
C
2(8.85 10
Nm2 )

(b) Compute the Electric Field Due to the y z Plane: The electric field to the right of an infinite plane
of charge in the y z plane is given by
~ yz = yz x.
E
20
~ yz =
E

N
2 106 C/m2
z = 1.1 105 x
C2
12
C
2(8.85 10
Nm2 )
5

(c) Use Linear Superposition: The total field at point ~r0 is the sum of the electric fields from the individual
planes,
~0 = E
~ xy + E
~ yz = 1.7 105 N z 1.1 105 N x.
E
C
C
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.9(Fully Three Dimensional Field of

a Point Charge (Delete: Dup))
Problem: A +2nC point charge is at the point (1cm, 2cm, 3cm). Compute the electric field at a point P
at (2cm, 6cm, 2cm).
Select One of the Following:
3N
3N
C , 9.4 10 C , 2.4 10 C )
5N
5N
(b) (2.4 105 N
C , 9.4 10 C , 2.4 10 C )
3N
3N
(c) (2.4 103 N
C , 9.4 10 C , 2.4 10 C )

5N
5N
(d) (2.4 105 N
C , 9.4 10 C , 2.4 10 C )

4N
4N
(e) (2.4 104 N
C , 9.4 10 C , 2.4 10 C )

Solution
Definitions

y
~rQ = (1cm, 2cm, 3cm) Position of Q
~rP = (2cm, 6cm, 2cm) Position of P

## ~rQP = ~rP ~rQ Displacement vector

~ QP = kq rQP Electic field of Q at P
E
rQP 2

q = 2nC Charge of Q

Q
rQP

P
Strategy: Find displacement vector and use Coulombs Law
(a) Find displacement vector: The displacement vector is ~rQP = ~rP ~rQ

~rQP

## = ((2cm) (1cm)), ((6cm) (2cm)), ((2cm) (3cm))

~rQP = (1cm, 4cm, 1cm)

(b) Find modulus: The modulus (magnitude) of the vector is its length:
p

## rQP = |~rQP | = (1cm)2 + (4cm)2 + (1cm)2 = 3 2cm = 0.03 2m

(c) Find unit vector:

rQP

rx ry rz
rQP =
, ,
r r r

1 4 1
1cm 4cm 1cm

, ,
=
,
,
=
3 2cm 3 2cm 3 2cm
3 2 3 2 3 2
6

## (d) Use Coulombs Law:

2

9 Nm
9
~ QP = kq rQP = (8.99 10 C2)(2.0 10 C) rQP
E
rQP 2
(0.03 2m)2

1 4 1
3N
~
EQP = (9.99 10 ) , ,
C 3 2 3 2 3 2
~ QP = (2.4 103 N , 9.4 103 N , 2.4 103 N )
E
C
C
C
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points

## Solution to Multiple-Choice Homework Problem 3.10(Two Floating Pith Balls)

Problem: A pith ball with charge +1.5nC is fixed at the origin. A second +1.5nC pith ball floats vertically
above the first. Modelling both pith balls as point charges, compute the center-to-center separation of the two
pith balls. The mass of a pith ball is 6.0 105 kg. Note, the distance calculated may or may not be larger than
the radius of the pith ball.
Select One of the Following:
(b) 3.4 105 m

## (c) 6.3 101 m

(d) 1.3m

(e) 150m
Solution
For a pith ball to float, the force of gravity mg must be balanced by the electric force on the charge q, therefore
using Coulombs law for the electric force
kq 2
mg = 2
d
where d is the center-to-center separation. Solve for d,
s
s
2
9 C)2
(8.99 109 Nm
kq 2
C2 )(1.5 10
= 5.9 103 m
d=
=
m
5
mg
(6.0 10 kg)(9.81 s2 )
Total Points for Problem: 3 Points