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# Electrostatics

Electromagnetic Theory1

Physics Department
BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus
manjula@pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in

manjula@pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in
Assignment Problems from Chapter 2:

## Problem: 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 14, 20, 25,

27, 30, 31, 32, 39, 44, 45, 46, 48,
49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55

## Assignment Problems from Chapter 3:

Problem: 31,34,35

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Electrostatics:
Coulomb’s Law: Force on a test charge Q due to a single point charge q which is
at rest a distance 𝓇 away:

𝓇⃗ ≡ 𝑟⃗ - 𝑟′
q

## 𝜖= 8.85 × 10 (SI Units)

. Q

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Electric Field
q2 q3
q1

𝑞 1 𝑞 𝑄 𝑞 𝑄
𝐹 = 𝐹 +𝐹 +⋯ 𝓇 = 𝓇 + 𝓇 +⋯
𝓇 4𝜋𝜀 𝓇 𝓇

=𝑸𝑬

## Electric Field of the source charges

or
Force per unit charge that would be exerted on test charge

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Continuous Charge distributions

𝟐
𝟎

𝟐 Coulomb’s law
𝟎
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Example 2.2. Find the electric field a distance z above
the midpoint of a straight
line segment of length 2L that carries a uniform line
charge λ (Fig. 2.6).

𝟏 𝟐𝝀𝑳
𝑬= 𝒛
𝟒𝝅𝝐𝟎 𝒛𝟐 + 𝑳𝟐

𝟏 𝟐𝝀𝑳
𝑬≅ for z>>L
𝟒𝝅𝝐𝟎 𝒛𝟐

## Field due to a point charge q=2L

𝟏 𝟐𝝀
𝑬≅ for L
𝟒𝝅𝝐𝟎 𝒁
Field of an infinite straight wire
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Problem 2.6 Find the electric field a distance z above the center of a
flat circular disk of radius R (Fig. 2.10) that carries a uniform surface
charge σ. What does your formula give in the limit R→∞? Also
check the case z >>R.

𝟐𝝅𝝈𝒛 𝟏 𝟏
𝑬= − 𝒛
𝟒𝝅𝜺𝟎 𝒛 𝟐
𝒛 +𝑹 𝟐

𝜎
𝐸= 𝑧̂ for R>>z
2𝜀

𝑄
𝐸= 𝑧̂ for z>>R
4π𝜀 𝑧
𝑄 = 𝜋𝑅 𝜎
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Problem2.7 Find the electric field a distance z from the center of a
spherical surface of radius R (Fig. 2.11) that carries a uniform charge
density σ. Treat the case z < R (inside) as well as z > R (outside).
Express your answers in terms of the total charge q on the sphere.
[Hint: Use the law of cosines to write r in terms of R and θ. Be sure to
take the positive square root:
√R2 + z2 − 2Rz = (R − z) if R > z, but it’s(z − R) if R < z.]

2𝜋𝑅 𝜎 𝑧−𝑅 −𝑧 − 𝑅
𝐸= −
4𝜋𝜀 𝑧 𝑧−𝑅 𝑧+𝑅

𝑞
𝐸=
4π𝜀 𝑧
𝑧̂ for z>R (Outside)
(q= 4𝜋𝑅 𝜎)
𝐸=0 for z<R (Inside)

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Problem 2.8 Use your result in Prob. 2.7 to find the field inside and
outside a solid sphere of radius R that carries a uniform volume charge
density ρ. Express your answers in terms of the total charge of the sphere,
q. Draw a graph of |E| as a function of the distance from the center.
|E|

4𝜋𝜀 𝑅
r 1/r2

## Outside the sphere

R r

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Field lines

Point charge

𝑛
density of lines is the total number
divided by the area of the sphere: 2𝜋𝑟
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Field lines

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Field lines

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Flux of E through a surface is:

## For a point q at origin the flux of E through

a spherical surface of radius r is:

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For any closed surface:

## Applying Gauss law of divergence we get

𝑺 𝑽

𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒍
𝑽

𝟎
Gauss’s law in differential form
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Gauss Law
𝟎

𝒆𝒏𝒄
𝟎 𝟎
𝑽 𝑺 𝑽

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Application of Gauss’s law

Find the field outside a uniformly charged solid sphere of radius R and total
charge q.

Gaussian surface

By symmetry

=4 =

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Application of Gauss’s law

Gauss’s law.

## Three kinds of symmetry:

1.Spherical symmetry
2.Cylindrical symmetry
3.Plane symmetry: a Gaussian “pillbox”

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Application of Gauss’s law

Gauss’s law.

## Three kinds of symmetry:

1.Spherical symmetry
2.Cylindrical symmetry
3.Plane symmetry: a Gaussian “pillbox”

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Example 2.6. Two infinite parallel planes carry equal but opposite
uniform charge densities ±σ (Fig. 2.23). Find the field in each of
the three regions: (i) to the left of both, (ii) between them, (iii) to
the right of both.

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Example 2.6. Two infinite parallel planes carry equal but opposite
uniform charge densities ±σ (Fig. 2.23). Find the field in each of
the three regions: (i) to the left of both, (ii) between them, (iii) to
the right of both.

## (i) Zero (ii) /0 (iii) zero

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Problem 2.11 Use Gauss’s law to find the electric field inside and
outside a spherical shell of radius R that carries a uniform surface

## Spherical shell of radius R

R
Gaussian surface r<R
r
r

## Gaussian surface r>R

𝜎𝑅
𝐸= 𝑟̂ for r>R (Outside)
𝜀 𝑟

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Problem 2.12 Use Gauss’s law to find the electric field inside
a uniformly charged solid sphere (charge density ρ). Compare

𝒓
𝑬=
𝟑𝜺𝟎
r

## 𝒒𝑟̂ Gaussian surface

𝑬= R
𝟒𝜺𝟎 𝒓𝟐

𝑞 = (4/3)𝜋𝑅 ρ
Prob. 2.8

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Problem 2.13 Find the electric field a distance s from an
infinitely long straight wire that carries a uniform line charge λ.
Compare Eq. 2.9.

 S

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Problem 2.15 A thick spherical shell carries charge density
ρ = k/r2 (a ≤ r ≤ b) (Fig. 2.25). Find the electric field in the three regions:
(i) r < a, (ii) a < r < b, (iii)r > b.
Plot |E| as a function of r , for the case b = 2a.

|E|

a b r

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Problem 2.16 A long coaxial cable (Fig. 2.26) carries a uniform volume charge
density ρ on the inner cylinder (radius a), and a uniform surface charge density on
the outer cylindrical shell (radius b). This surface charge is negative and is of just
the right magnitude that the cable as a whole is electrically neutral. Find the electric
field in each of the three regions: (i) inside the inner cylinder (s < a), (ii) between the
cylinders (a < s < b), (iii) outside the cable (s > b). Plot |E| as a function of s.

|E|

a b s

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Problem 2.17 An infinite plane slab, of thickness 2d, carries a uniform
volume charge density ρ (Fig. 2.27). Find the electric field, as a function of
y, where y = 0 at the center. Plot E versus y, calling E positive when it
points in the +y direction and negative when it points in the −y direction.

d/0
-d d y

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Problem 2.18 Two spheres, each of radius R and carrying uniform volume
charge densities +ρ and −ρ, respectively, are placed so that they partially
overlap (Fig. 2.28). Call the vector from the positive center to the negative
center d. Show that the field in the region of overlap is constant, and find its
value. [Hint: Use the answer to Prob. 2.12.]

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Curl of E

## For a point charge at origin

z

b
rb
q
y
ra
a
𝒒
dr
𝟒𝝅𝜺𝟎 𝒓𝟐 x

𝐸 ⋅ d𝑙⃗ = 0  ∇×𝐸 = 0

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Example 2.7. Find the potential inside and outside a
spherical shell of radius R (Fig. 2.31) that carries a uniform
surface charge. Set the reference point at infinity.

## V 0 inside the shell (E=0)

V is a constant in this region
Such that V=0

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Problem 2.21 Find the potential inside and outside a
uniformly charged solid sphere whose radius is R and
whose total charge is q. Use infinity as your reference
point. Compute the gradient of V in each region, and
check that it yields the correct field. Sketch V(r ).

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Problem 2.22 Find the potential a distance s from an
infinitely long straight wire that carries a uniform
line charge λ. Compute the gradient of your
potential, and check that it yields the correct field.

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𝒓

## Gradient of a scalar potential

Poisson’s equation

Laplace’s equation

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Potential of a localized charge distribution

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Problem 2.26 A conical surface (an empty ice-cream cone) carries a
uniform surface charge σ. The height of the cone is h, as is the radius of
the top. Find the potential difference between points a (the vertex) and b
(the center of the top).

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Problem 2.28 Use Eq. 2.29 to calculate the potential
inside a uniformly charged solid sphere of radius R and

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Boundary conditions

V E

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Boundary conditions

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Boundary conditions

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as the path length shrinks to zero at boundary
Potential is continuous across any boundary
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Boundary conditions

But is discontinuous

𝜕𝑉
= ∇V𝑛
where 𝜕𝑛

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Work and Energy

𝑤
𝑉 𝑏 −𝑉 𝑎 =
𝑄
W= [V( )−V()]

## W= [V( )] Setting the reference point at infinity

Potential is potential energy (the work it takes to create the system)per unit charge.

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Energy of a point charge distribution
Work done to assemble entire collection of point charges

1 𝑞
W = 𝑞
4𝜋𝜀 𝓇

1 𝑞 𝑞
𝑊 = 𝑞 +
4𝜋𝜀 𝓇 𝓇

1 𝑞𝑞 1 𝑞𝑞
𝑊= 𝑊=
4𝜋𝜀 𝓇 8𝜋𝜀 𝓇

## Energy stored in the configuration

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Problem 2.32 Two positive point charges, qA and qB
(masses mA and mB) are at rest, held together by a
massless string of length a. Now the string is cut, and the
particles fly off in opposite directions. How fast is each
one going, when they are far apart?

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Energy of a continuous charge distribution

## For a volume charge density 

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Ex:2.9 discussed in class

## Problem 2.34 Find the energy stored in a uniformly charged

solid sphere of radius R and charge q. Do it three different
ways:
(a) Use Eq. 2.43. You found the potential in Prob. 2.21.
(b) Use Eq. 2.45. Don’t forget to integrate over all space.
(c) Use Eq. 2.44. Take a spherical volume of radius a.
What happens as a→∞?

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Problem 2.36 Consider two concentric spherical shells, of radii a and b.
Suppose the inner one carries a charge q, and the outer one a charge −q
(both of them uniformly distributed over the surface). Calculate the energy
of this configuration, (a) using Eq. 2.45, and (b) using Eq. 2.47 and the
results of Ex. 2.9.

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Conductors
Basic Properties:

## 1. E=0 inside a conductor

2. =0 inside a conductor
3. A conductor is a equipotential surface
4. Any net charge resides on the surface.
5. E is perpendicular to the surface, just outside the surface

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Induced charges

## If you hold a charge +q near an uncharged conductor, the two will

attract one another. The reason for this is that q will pull minus charges over to
the near side and repel plus charges to the far side.

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Induced charges

## hollow cavity in a conductor and within that cavity

some charge is placed, then the field in the cavity will
not be zero.

## No external fields penetrate the conductor; they are

canceled at the outer surface by the induced charge
there. Similarly, the field due to charges within the
cavity is canceled, for all exterior points, by the induced
charge on the inner surface. However, the compensating
charge left over on the outer surface of the conductor
effectively “communicates” the presence of q to the
outside world.

For a guassian surface within the conductor but outside the cavivty
𝐸 ⋅ d𝑎⃗ =0 Qencl=Q+Qind

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Example 2.10. An uncharged spherical conductor
centered at the origin has a cavity of some weird
shape carved out of it (Fig. 2.46). Somewhere
within the cavity is a charge q. Question: What is
the field outside the sphere?

## 3 different fileds: Eq , E induced, and E leftover. sum of

the three is zero inside the conductor, ( the first two
alone cancel, while the third is separately zero there)

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Surface charge and Force on a conductor

## Field immediatey outside the conductor

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Surface charge and Force on a conductor

## In the presence of an electric field,

a surface charge will experience a force.

## Force per unit area f=σE.

As the electric field is discontinuous at a
surface charge,
We take the average of the two:
Eabove and Ebelow

E2
manjula@pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in Outward Electrostatic pressure
on the surface
Problem 2.41 Two large metal plates (each of area A) are held a
small distance d apart. Suppose we put a charge Q on each plate;
what is the electrostatic pressure on the plates?

## Problem 2.42 A metal sphere of radius R carries a total charge Q.

What is the force of repulsion between the “northern”
hemisphere and the “southern” hemisphere?

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Capacitor

where 𝟐
𝟎

## As E is porpoportinal to Q , We can write C=Q/V

Constant of porportionality here is the Capacitor
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Capacitance is a purely geometrical parameter determined by
• Size
• Shape
• Separation between the conductors.

## Potential difference between the plates

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Work done to charge a capacitor to a final amount of Q

At a stage in the charging process, the charge on positive plate is q, and V=q/C

Total Work:

## V is the final potential of the capacitor.

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Problem 2.43 Find the capacitance per unit length of
two coaxial metal cylindrical tubes, of radii a and b
(Fig. 2.53).

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Problem 2.47 Find the net force that the southern
hemisphere of a uniformly charged solid sphere exerts on the
radius R and the total charge Q.

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Multipole Expansion
Example 3.10. A (physical) electric dipole consists of two
equal and opposite charges (±q) separated by a distance d.
Find the approximate potential at points far from the
dipole.

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Potential of a localized Charge distribution

Multipole expansion of V:

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Potential of a localized Charge distribution

Multipole expansion of V:

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Monopole and dipole terms

## = For a point charge at the origin the

Monopole term is the exact
potential

If the total charge is zero, dipole term will be the dominant term
( for some charge configuration even that term can vanish)

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As

## Dipole term of the potential: =

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For a collection of point charges

Physical dipole: +

## pure dipole : In the limit q

d0, such that p=qd is finite
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Monopole term is zero
Dipole term is zero
For this charge configuration

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Origin of co-ordinates in multipole expansion

## 𝓇 If Q is not at origin(fig), has a dipole moment

qd and hence the exact potential
will be & not 
𝓇

system.

## • If the total charge is zero, then the dipole

moment is independent of the choice of origin.
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If origin is displaced by a distance a

## New dipole moment is:

𝑝⃗ = 𝑟 𝜌 𝑟 d𝜏 = 𝑟 − 𝑎⃗ 𝜌 𝑟 d𝜏

= 𝑟 𝜌 𝑟 d𝜏 − 𝑎⃗ ∫ 𝑟 𝜌 𝑟 d𝜏 = 𝑝⃗ -𝑄𝑎⃗

## If Q0, then dipole moment will be dependent on origin

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Electric Field of a Dipole

## If p is at origin and pointing in the z direction then

= =

As V

=
In spherical co-ordinates

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Electric Field of a pure dipole Electric Field of a physical dipole

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