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EM Lecture Notes Chapter 2 Griffiths

EM Lecture Notes Chapter 2 Griffiths

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- 1 -
Chapter 2. Electrostatics
2.1. The Electrostatic Field
To calculate the force exerted by some electric charges,
q
1
,
q
2
,
q
3
, ... (
the source charges
) onanother charge
Q
(
the test charge
) we can use the
principle of superposition
. This principlestates that the interaction between any two charges is completely unaffected by the presence of other charges. The force exerted on
Q
by
q
1
,
q
2
, and
q
3
(see Figure 2.1) is therefore equal to thevector sum of the force
1
exerted by
q
1
on
Q
, the force
2
exerted by
q
2
on
Q
, and the force
3
exerted by
q
3
on
Q
.
q3q1q2QF2F3F1Ftot 
Figure 2.1. Superposition of forces.
The force exerted by a charged particle on another charged particle depends on theirseparation distance, on their velocities and on their accelerations. In this Chapter we willconsider the special case in which the source charges are stationary.The
electric field
produced by stationary source charges is called and
electrostatic field
.The electric field at a particular point is a vector whose magnitude is proportional to the totalforce acting on a test charge located at that point, and whose direction is equal to the direction of 
 
- 2 -the force acting on a positive test charge. The electric field
 E 
, generated by a collection of source charges, is defined as
 E 
=
Q
where
is the total electric force exerted by the source charges on the test charge
Q
. It isassumed that the test charge
Q
is small and therefore does not change the distribution of thesource charges. The total force exerted by the source charges on the test charge is equal to
=
1
+
2
+
3
+
...
=
14
pe 
0
q
1
Qr
12
 ˆ
r
1
+
q
2
Qr
22
 ˆ
r
2
+
q
3
Qr
32
 ˆ
r
3
+
...
Ê Ë Áˆ ¯ ˜ =
Q
4
pe 
0
q
i
r
i
2
 ˆ
r
ii
=
1
n
Â
The electric field generated by the source charges is thus equal to
 E 
=
Q
=
14
pe 
0
q
i
r
i
2
 ˆ
r
ii
=
1
n
Â
In most applications the source charges are not discrete, but are distributed continuously oversome region. The following three different distributions will be used in this course:1.
line charge
 
l
: the charge per unit length.2.
surface charge
 
s
: the charge per unit area.3.
volume charge
 
r
: the charge per unit volume.To calculate the electric field at a point
P
generated by these charge distributions we have toreplace the summation over the discrete charges with an integration over the continuous chargedistribution:1. for a line charge:
 E P
( )
=
14
pe 
0
 ˆ
rr
2
dl
 Line
Ú 
2. for a surface charge:
 E P
( )
=
14
pe 
0
 ˆ
rr
2
da
Surface
Ú 
3. for a volume charge:
 E P
( )
=
14
pe 
0
 ˆ
rr
2
Volume
Ú 
 
- 3 -Here ˆ
r
is the unit vector from a segment of the charge distribution to the point
P
at which weare evaluating the electric field, and
r
is the distance between this segment and point
P
.
Example: Problem 2.2
a)Find the electric field (magnitude and direction) a distance
 z
above the midpoint between twoequal charges
q
a distance
apart. Check that your result is consistent with what you wouldexpect when
 z
»
.b)Repeat part a), only this time make he right-hand charge
-q
instead of +
q
.
 zd/2d/2P
a)
 Er El Etot  zd/2d/2P
b)
 El Er Etot 
Figure 2.2. Problem 2.2
a)Figure 2.2a shows that the
 x
components of the electric fields generated by the two pointcharges cancel. The total electric field at
P
is equal to the sum of the
 z
components of theelectric fields generated by the two point charges:
 E P
( )
=
214
pe 
0
q
14
2
+
 z
2
Ê Ë ˆ ¯ 
 z
14
2
+
 z
2
 ˆ
 z
=
12
pe 
0
qz
14
2
+
 z
2
Ê Ë ˆ ¯ 
3/2
 ˆ
 z
When
 z
»
this equation becomes approximately equal to
 E P
( )
@
12
pe 
0
q z
2
 ˆ
 z
=
14
pe 
0
2
q z
2
 ˆ
 z

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