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1
Electric Charge
• Types:
– Positive
• Glass rubbed with silk
• Missing electrons
– Negative
• Rubber/Plastic rubbed with fur
• Extra electrons
• Arbitrary choice
– convention attributed to ?
• Units: amount of charge is measured
in [Coulombs]
• Empirical Observations:
– Like charges repel
– Unlike charges attract
Electrostatic” Force
•Electrostatic” Force
•Coulombs law states that the force between two electric
charges is proportional to the product of the charges and
inversely proportional to their separation
1 2
2
E
c
q q
F k
r
=
•q charge, Coulomb ,C
•r distance between charges, m
•F
E
Electric Force, Newton ,N VECTOR
•k
c
coulomb constant, 8.99x10
9
Nm
2
/C
2
Coulomb's Law
• The force between charges is directly
proportional to the magnitude, or
amount, of each charge.
• Doubling one charge doubles the
force.
• Doubling both charges quadruples the
force.
• The force between charges is inversely
proportional to the square of the distance
between them.
• Doubling the distance reduces the force by
a factor of 2
2
= (4), decreasing the force to
onefourth its original value (1/4).
• .
•7
•Notes
•k is a constant (9×10
9
), Q is in Coulombs, r in meters
•One unit of charge (proton) has Q = 1.6×10
19
Coulombs
•Looks a lot like Newton’s gravitation in form
•Electron and proton attract each other 10
40
times stronger
electrically than gravitationally!
•Two charges, Q
1
and Q
2
, separated by distance r exert a
force on each other:
F = (k·Q
1
·Q
2
) / r
2
•Good thing charge is usually balanced!
•Coulomb Law Illustrated
•Like charges repel
•Unlike charges attract
•+ •+
•r
•– •+
•– •–
•If charges are of same magnitude (and same
separation),
•all the forces will be the same magnitude, with different
•directions
•Coulomb Force Law, Qualitatively
•Double one of the charges
•force doubles
•Change sign of one of the charges
•force changes direction
•Change sign of both charges
•force stays the same
•Double the distance between charges
•force four times weaker
•Double both charges
•force four times stronger
•11
•An object, A, with +8.25 x 10
6
C charge, has two other charges nearby.
Object B, 3.5 x 10
6
C, is 0.030 m to the right. Object C, +2.50 x 10
6
C, is 0.050 m below. What is the net force and the angle on A?V
X
Y
•12
•Three point charges lie along the x axis as shown in
Figure. The positive charge q
1
! 15.0 C is at x ! 2.00
m,the positive charge q
2
! 6.00 C is at the origin, and
the resultant force acting on q
3
is zero. What is the x
coordinate of q
3
?
•Solution Because q
3
is negative and q1 and q2 are positive,
•For the resultant force on q
3
to be zero, F
23
must be equal in
magnitude and opposite in direction to F
13
. Setting the magnitudes
of the two forces equal,
•if the charges have opposite
signs, the force is negative
•Attractive
•If the charges have the
same sign, the force is
positive
•Repulsive
Electric Force Vector
Electric force in vector form
r
r
q q
k F
ˆ
2
2 1
2
=
r
r r
r
r
r
r r r
1 2
1 2
ˆ
÷
= =
÷ =
•14
•x
•y
•q
1
•q
2
•r
2
•r
1
•r
( ) r
r
q q
k F
ˆ
2
2 1
1
÷ =
Superposition Principle
of vector sum The net force acting on any charge is the
the forces due to the remaining charges in the
distribution.
¦
¦
¹
¦
¦
´
¦
+ + + =
+ + + =
+ + + =
+ + + =
z n
F
z
F
z
F
z
F
y n
F
y
F
y
F
y
F
x n
F
x
F
x
F
x
F
n net
, 1 , 13 , 12 1
, 1 , 13 , 12 1
, 1 , 13 , 12 1
, 1 3 , 1 2 , 1 , 1
F F F F
•1/10/2006 •184 Lecture 3 •15
Learning Goals  we will learn:
• How to use Coulomb’s Law (and vector
addition) to calculate the force between
electric charges.
• How to calculate the electric field caused
by discrete electric charges.
• How to calculate the electric field caused
by a continuous distribution of electric
charge.
•17
•Example:
•What is the force between two charges of 1 C
separated by 1 meter?
•Answer: 8.99 x 10
9
N,
•i.e., huge!
Example  Equilibrium Position
Consider two charges located on the x axis
The charges are described by
q
1
= 0.15 µC x
1
= 0.0 m
q
2
= 0.35 µC x
2
= 0.40 m
Where do we need to put a third charge for that
charge to be at an equilibrium point?
At the equilibrium point, the forces from the two
charges will cancel.
•18
x
1
x
2
•The equilibrium point must be along the xaxis.
•Three regions along the xaxis where we might place our
third charge
x
1
x
2
•x
3
< x
1
•x
1
< x
3
< x
2
•x
3
> x
2
•third charge to be at an
equilibrium point when
2
2
2
1
2
0 2
2
1
) 4 . 0 (
) 4 . 0 (
x
q
x
q
x
q kq
x
q kq
o
÷
=
÷
=
2 1
F F =
= 0.12m or = 0.72m X
×
_ _
•example
•Two electrostatic point charges of
+20.0 μC and –30.0 μC exert attractive
•forces on each other of –145 N. What
is the distance between the two
•charges?
•q
1
= 2.00 × C q
2
= −3.00 × C
•Felectric = −145 N k
C
= 8.99 × 10 N•m2/C2
•r = 0.193 m)
5
10
÷
5
10
÷
•9
145
10 54
10 3 10 2 10 9
145
1
2
5 5 9
2
2 1
÷
÷ ÷
×
=
× ÷ × × ×
= ÷
=
r
r
N
r
q kq
F
•Example
•Suppose two charges having equal but
opposite charge are separated by
•6.4 × 10 m. If the magnitude of the
electric force between the charges
•is 5.62 ×10
–14
N, what is the value of q
•8
example
•How will the force between two spheres
change if the distance between two
sphere doubles?
(a) double (b) one half (c) quadruple
(d) one forth (e) same
•example
•Therearetwoballs.BallAhasachargeof+1.8x10
8
CandBall
Bhasachargeof+1.5x10
8
Candis0.002mawayfromA.
a.WhatistheforceactingonA?
•example
•Charged spheres A and B are fixed in position, as shown,
and have charges of +7.9 x 10
6
C and 2.3 x 10
6
C,
respectively. Calculate the net force on sphere C, whose
charge is +5.8 x 10
6
C.
]
) 10 15 (
10 3 . 2
) 10 25 (
10 9 . 7
[ 10 8 . 5 10 9
2 2
6
2 2
6
6 9
÷
÷
÷
÷
÷
×
×
÷
×
×
× × × =
c
F
Left the to N F .. 26 . 1 =
The Helium Nucleus  Example
Part 1: The nucleus of a helium atom has two protons and two
neutrons. What is the magnitude of the electric force between
the two protons in the helium nucleus? R of nucleus =
•27
•Answer: 58 N
•Part 2: What if the distance is doubled; how
will the force change?
•Answer: 14.5
N
•Inverse square law: If the distance is doubled
then the force is reduced by a factor of 4 .
Example  Charged
Pendulums
Consider two identical charged
balls hanging from the ceiling by
strings of equal length 1.5 m (in
equilibrium). Each ball has a
charge of 25 µC. The balls hang at
an angle u = 25° with respect to the
vertical. What is the mass of the
balls?
Step 1: Three forces act on each
ball: Coulomb force, gravity and
the tension of the string.
•28
mg T F
d
kq
T F
y
x
÷ =
÷ =
u
u
cos
sin
: left on Ball
2
2
•x
•y
) 2 ( Charged Pendulums  Example
u
u
u
tan
/
cos
sin
2
2
2 2
d
kq
mg
mg
d kq
T
T
=
=
•29
•Step 2: The balls are in equilibrium
positions. That means the sum of all
forces acting on the ball is zero!
•Answer: m = 0.76 kg
•A similar analysis applies to
the ball on the right.
•d=2 l sin u
Four Charges  Example
Consider four charges
placed at the corners of a
square with sides of length
1.25 m as shown on the
right. What is the
magnitude of the electric
force on q
4
resulting from
the electric force from the
remaining three charges?
•30
•Set up an xycoordinate system
with its origin at q
2
.
Three Charges in a Line
•31
Question: Suppose that three point charges ,q
a
,
q
b
,and q
c
, are arranged at the vertices of a
rightangled triangle, as shown in the diagram.
What is the magnitude and direction of the
electrostatic force acting on the third charge, and
•m
•m
Solution: The magnitude of the force exerted by charge on charge is given by
Three Charges in a Plane
•35
•+Q
0
Electric Field
r
r
E
ˆ
  4
1
2
0
Q
tc
=
0
Q
F
E =
•Electric Field E is defined as the force acting on
a test particle divided by the charge of that test
particle
•Thus Electric Field
from a single charge is
r r
ˆ
F
E
•A charged body creates an
electric field.
Coulomb force of repulsion
between two charged bodies at
A and B, (having charges Q and
q
o
respectively) has magnitude:
F = k Q q
o
/r
2
= q
o
[ k Q/r
2
]
where we have factored out the
small charge q
o
.
We can write the force in
terms of an electric field E:
Therefore we can write for
•the electric field
E = [ k Q / r
2
]
•Electric Force and Field Force
•What?  Action on a
distance
•How? – Electric Field
•Why? – Field Force
•Where? – in the space
surrounding charges
•Electric Field
•Electric field is said to exist in the
region of space around a charged object:
the source charge.
•Concept of test charge:
•Small and positive
•Does not affect charge distribution
•Electric field:
•Existence of an electric field is a
property of its source;
•Presence of test charge is not
necessary for the field to exist;
0
q
F
E
=
Electric charge
Condense charge E = (kQ/r
2
)r
•Instead we choose to represent the
electric field with lines whose
direction indicates the direction of the
field
•Notice that as we move
away from the charge, the
density of lines decreases •These are called
•Electric Field Lines
Electric field lines
Lines of force
Quiz: The field direction
A charge +q is placed at (0,1)
A charge –q is placed at (0,1)
What is the direction of the field at (1,0)
A) i + j
B) i  j
C) j
D) i
Superposition & Electric Field
1
E
•Q
1
1
r
1
ˆ
r
•Q
2
2
r
2
E
¿
=
i
i
i
i
Q
r
r
E
ˆ
  4
1
2
0
tc
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
+ =
02
2
02
2 0
01
2
01
1 0
0
0
ˆ
 
ˆ
  4
1
r
r
r
r
F
Q Q Q Q
tc
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
+ =
02
2
02
2
01
2
01
1
0
ˆ
 
ˆ
  4
1
r
r
r
r
E
Q Q
tc
Shark
Fish to detect object
Electric Field of a single charge
•+
r
E
•+Q
0
•+Q
0
•+Q
0
•Note: the Electric Field is defined
everywhere, even if there is no
test charge is not there.
•+Q
0
•Electric field
from test
particles
•Electric
Field from
isolated
charges
(interactive)
Charged particles in electric field
E
E F Q =
E F Q =
•+Q
•Q
•Using the Field to determine the force
•Ch16 •49
•Example 3A. A +100 µC point charge is separated from a
•50 µC charge by a distance of 0.50 m as shown below. (A) First
calculate the electric field at midway between the two charges. (B)
Find the force on an electron that is placed at this point and then
calculate the acceleration when it is released.
•E
1
•E
2
•+
•Q
1
•_
•Q
2
2
1
1
r
Q
k E =
2
2
2
r
Q
k E =
( )
( )
C
N
m
C
C
m N
7
2
6
2
2
9
10 4 . 1
25 . 0
10 100
10 0 . 9
+
÷
+
× =
×
× =
( )
( )
C
N
m
C
C
m N
6
2
6
2
2
9
10 2 . 7
25 . 0
10 50
10 0 . 9
+
÷
+
× =
×
× =
2 1
E E E + =
C
N
C
N
C
N
7 6 7
10 1 . 2 10 2 . 7 10 4 . 1
+ + +
× = × + × =
•Ch16 •50
•Example 2. Particles of charge Q
1
= +5.00 µC, Q
2
= 6.00 µC
and Q
3
= +8.00 µC are placed on the corners of a square of side
0.400 m as shown below. Calculate the force on Q
2
(Magnitude
and direction).
•+
•Q
1
•_
•Q
2
•+ •Q
3
21
F
23
F
•Note that the charges and distances
are the same as in Example 1, so we do
not need to use Coulombs Law again.
N F 7 . 1
21
=
N F 7 . 2
23
=
2
23
2
21
F F F + =
N N N 2 . 3 ) 7 . 2 ( ) 7 . 1 (
2 2
= + =
F
•u
23
21
tan
F
F
= u


.

\

=
÷
23
21
1
tan
F
F
u
o
N
N
32
7 . 2
7 . 1
tan
1
=


.

\

=
÷
•Ch16 •51
•Example . A +100 µC point charge is separated from a
•50 µC charge by a distance of 0.50 m as shown below. (A) First
calculate the electric field at midway between the two charges. (B)
Find the force on an electron that is placed at this point and then
calculate the acceleration when it is released.
•+
•Q
1
•_
•Q
2
E
In part A we found that E = 2.1x10
7
N/C and is directed to the right.
q
F
E
=
E e E q F = =
( ) ( )
C
N
C F
7 19
10 1 . 2 10 6 . 1 × × =
÷
N
12
10 4 . 3
÷
× =
a m F
=
•( to left )
m
F
a =
2
18
31
12
10 7 . 3
10 1 . 9
10 4 . 3
s
m
kg
N
+
÷
÷
× =
×
×
=
•( to left )
Electric field of a dipole along the yaxis…
r
E
+
r
E
÷
r
E
total
r
E
net
= E
i
i
¿
=
r
E
+
+
r
E
÷
r
E
+
= +K
q
r
+
2
r
E
÷
= +K
q
r
÷
2
r
E
net
= E
i
i
¿
=
r
E
+
+
r
E
÷
r
E
net
( )
x
=
r
E
+
( )
x
+
r
E
÷
( )
x
=
Kq
r
2
cosu +
Kq
r
2
cosu
= 2
Kq
r
2
cosu
= 2
Kq
r
2
d
r

\

.
= 2
Kqd
r
3
=
2Kqd
d
2
+ y
2
( )
3
2
r
+
= r
÷
= r = d
2
+ y
2
r
E
+
=
r
E
+
= K
q
r
2
r
E
total
( )
y
=
r
E
+
( )
y
+
r
E
÷
( )
y
= 0
u
u
u
u
r
+
r
÷
The Electric Field
•53
•Electric Field
•Electric “field lines” tell a positive
•charge which way to move.
•For example, a positive charge itself
•has field lines pointing away from it,
•because this is how a positivelycharged
•“testparticle” would respond if placed
•in the vicinity (repulsive force).
•Run
Away!
•+
Electric line
Two charges are placed on the x axis. The first,
with a charge of +Q, is at the origin
•he second, with a charge of 2Q, is at x = 1.00
m. Where on the x axis is the electric field equal
to zero
•The answer to go with is x = 2.41 m. This corresponds to 2.41 m to
the left of the +Q charge. The other point is between the charges. It
corresponds to the point where the fields from the two charges have
the same magnitude, but they both point in the same direction there
so they don't cancel out.
•example
•Find electric field at point P in
the figure
•solution
C N
r
kq
E / 18
4
10 8 10 9
9 9
2
=
× × ×
÷ =
÷
87 . 306
2 . 1
6 . 1
tan
1 ÷
= u
Solution (details given in class):
A vector may
be decomposed
into its x and
ycomponents
as shown:
2 2 2
cos
sin
x
y
x y
A A
A A
A A A
u
u
=
=
= +
•E
Y
=8N/c +3.456N/ C
• E
X
=2.28 N/C
•E
net
= 11.7N/C
•u = 171.2°
•
•example
•Find electric field at
point P
3
in the figure
•solution
Example Problem
Solution (details given in class):
0
tot
= E
•30°
•E
1
•E
2
•E
3
•Three identical charges (q = –5.0 mC)
lie along a circle of radius 2.0 m at angles
of 30°, 150°, and 270°, as shown. What is
the resultant electric field at the center of
the circle?
Example
•Find the electric field at point p in figure .due to
the charges shown.
•Solution
• E
x
= E
1
 E
2
= 36´10
4
N/C
E
y
= E
3
= 28.8´10
4
N/C
E
p
= [(36´10
4
)
2
+(28.8´10
4
)
2
] = 46.1N/C
u = 141
o
2
1
Solution (details given in class):
•Example Electric Fields Around Charges
Electric Field lines
•Rank the electric
field strength in
order from smallest
to largest.
•A: E
1
< E
2
< E
3
= E
4
•B: E
3
= E
4
< E
2
< E
1
•C: E
2
= E
3
< E
4
< E
1
•D: E
1
< E
4
< E
2
= E
3
1. A test charge of +3 µC is at a point P
where an external electric field is
directed to the right and has a
magnitude of 4×10
6
N/C. If the test
charge is replaced with another test
charge of –3 µC, what happens to the
external electric field at P ?
A. It is unaffected.
B. It reverses direction.
C. It changes in a way that cannot be
determined
•Electric Field due to a Point Charge Q
r
r
Qq
F ˆ
4
1
2
0
0
tc
=
r
r
Q
q
F
E ˆ
4
1
2
0 0
tc
= =
Direction is radial: outward for +Q
• inward for Q
Magnitude: constant on any spherical
shell
Flux through any shell enclosing Q is
the same: E
A
A
A
= E
B
A
B
•Q
r
•q
o
•B
•A
n
F F F F
0 02 01 0
...
+ + + =
n
n
E E E
q
F
q
F
q
F
q
F
E
+ + + =
+ + + = =
...
...
2 1
0
0
0
02
0
01
0
0
¿
=
i
i
i
i
r
r
q
E ˆ
4
1
2
0
tc
•Electric Field due to a group of
individual charge
•Example: Electric Field of a Dipole
.
+
÷
= y
a r
kq
E
2
) (
y
a r
kq
E
.
÷
+
=
2
) (
•The total field at P
is
y
a r a r
kq E E
.
÷ +
+
÷
÷
= + }
) (
1
) (
1
{
2 2
.
÷
= y
a r
karq
E ]
) (
4
[
2 2 2
.
= y
r
kqa
E
3
4
•Example
•Find the electric field due to electric dipole shown in figure 3.10
along xaxis at point p which is a distance r from the origin. then
assume r>>a
•Solution
•When x>>a then
•Example
•In figure shown, locate the point at which
the electric field is zero? Assume a = 50cm
•E
1
= E
2
•d = 30cm
Electric Field Lines
The lines must begin on a positive
charge and terminate on a negative
charge. In the case of an excess of
one type of charge, some lines will
begin or end infinitely far away.
The number of lines drawn leaving
a positive charge or approaching a
negative charge is proportional to
the magnitude of the charge.
No two field lines can cross.
Electric Field
3. Rank the magnitudes E of
the electric field at points
A, B, and C shown in the
figure.
A) E
C
>E
B
>E
A
B) E
B
>E
C
>E
A
C) E
A
>E
C
>E
B
D) E
B
>E
A
>E
C
E) E
A
>E
B
>E
C
•September 18, 2007
•.C
•.A
•.B
Properties of Electric fields
Concentric spherical shells:
E = 4tko?
Electric Displacement (Electric Flux)
•74
•+Q
•Q
•+Q
•Q
•+Q
•Q
•Spherical Symmetry
•
•Spherical Symmetry charge distribution
•The electric field produced by the sphere must be the same as that
•Of the point charge . This is true everywhere outside the sphere
.
= r
r
2
KQ
E
.
.
=
=
=
=
x
A
Q
E
x
A
Q
E
A
r
r A
t
t
t
t
2
4
4
4
2
2
The field look like two parallel
planes so it is the same in
both cases and that
•Excerpt: ... n of the electric field above is Imagine that, instead of a point
particle, the charge q > 0 were to be distributed uniformly on the surface
of a spherical shell . By symmetry, the field outside the shell must be the
same as that of a point charge, as shown below. The field is zero
everywhere inside the shell. Therefore, the magnitude of the field due the
charged spherical shell has a discrete jump at the surface of the shell
(see below) Since the electric field obeys the superposition principle, you
can use the above discussion about field due to a charged spherical
shell to describe a charged solid sphere. To do so, represent the solid
sphere as a sequence of concentric spherical shell s. To find the total
field at any one point, simply add the values of the field due to each of the
concentric shells
Example
Three particles of unknown charge are placed at rest in a
uniform electric field, as shown. The acceleration of
each particle after being placed in the field is indicated.
What is the sign of the electric charge of each particle?
a)+A ,B neutral , C
b) –A ,B C, neutral
C) A neutral ,  B ,+C
D) Non of the above
Spherical Symmetry
Now consider a Gaussian surface with radius r
2
> R.
Again by spherical symmetry we know that the electric field will
be radial and perpendicular to the Gaussian surface.
Gauss’ Law gives us
Solving for E we find
( ) ( )
3
3
4
2
2 0 0
4 R Q r E dA E t µ t c c = = = ·
}
2
2
r
kQ
E =
•1/18/07 •184 Lecture 7 •83
•area
•outside
•full charge
•same as a point charge!
•Field Due to a Thin Spherical
•Shell
•Use spheres as the Gaussian surfaces
• When r > a, the charge inside the
surface is Q and
•E = keQ / r
2
• When r < a, the charge inside the
surface is 0 and E = 0
Ch 238 Applying Gauss’ Law: Planar
Symmetry
Two conducting plates with charge density o
1
All charges on the two faces of the plates
For two oppositely charged plates placed near each other, E
field outer side of the plates is zero while inner side the E
field= 2 o
1
/c
0
1
0
2
i
E
o
c
=
•85
•Phys 133
Find the electric field inside capacitor
E
inside
=
o
c
0
E
outside
= 0
Ch Applying Gauss’ Law: Planar Symmetry
Two nonconducting plates
with charge density o
+
All charges on the one face of
the plates
For two oppositely charged
plates placed near each other, E
field outer side of the plates is E
L
or E
R
with E
L
= E
R
= E(+) E(+)
and between the plates the field
E
B
= E(+)+ E()
•87
•Consider a conducting slab in an
external field E
•If the field inside the conductor were
not zero, free electrons in the
conductor would experience an
electrical force
•These electrons would accelerate
•These electrons would not be in
equilibrium
•Therefore, there cannot be a field
inside the conductor
•Physics 133
•For two oppositely charged plates placed near each
other, E field outer side of the plates is zero while inner
side the Efield
Calculate E
1
, E
2
, and E
TOTAL
at point “C”:
q
= 12 nC
See Fig. 21.23: Electric field at
“C” set up by charges q
1
and q
1
(an electric dipole)
At “C” E
1
= 6.4 (10)
3
N/C
E
2
= 6.4 (10)
3
N/C
E
C
= 4.9 (10)
3
N/C
in the +xdirection
A
C
Lab #2
Need TABLE of ALL
vector component
VALUES.
•92
Potential Difference in a Uniform Field
• The A V in a uniform field varies with the
displacement from a reference point.
• A V = EA d
• The displacement is moved in the direction
of the field.
• Any displacement perpendicular to the field
does not change the electrical potential
energy.
The electric potential energy
Start
Then
So
The electric potential
Electric Potential
q
U
V =
q
U
q
U
q
U
V V V
i
f
i f
A
= ÷ = ÷ = A
s d F dW
· =
s d E q dW
· =
0
s d E q W
f
i
· =
}
0
}
· ÷ = ÷ = ÷ = A
f
i
i f
s d E q W U U U
0
}
· ÷ =
A
÷ A
f
i
s d E
q
U
V
0
Potential difference depends only
on the source charge distribution
(Consider points i and f without
the presence of the test charge;
The difference in potential energy
exists only if a test charge is
moved between the points.
Units of Potential Difference
Joules J
Volt V
Coulomb C
( (
= = =
( (
¸ ¸ ¸ ¸
•Because of this, potential difference is often referred to as “voltage”
b a ba
ba b a
U U W
V V V
q q
÷
= ÷ ÷ = ÷
•So what is an electron Volt (eV)?
•In addition, 1 N/C = 1 V/m  we can interpret the electric field as a
measure of the rate of change with position of the electric potential.
Potential Due to a Point Charge
Start with (set V
f
=0 at · and V
i
=V at R)
We have
Then
So
A positively charged particle produces a positive
electric potential.
A negatively charged particle produces a negative
electric potential
2
0
4
1
r
q
E
tc
=
2
0
4
1
r
q
E
tc
=
} } }
·
÷ = ° ÷ = · ÷ = ÷ = A
f
i R
f
i
i f
Edr ds E s d E V V V ) 0 cos (
r
q
r V
0
4
1
) (
tc
=
R
q
r
q
dr
r
q
V
R
R
0 0
2
0
4
1 1
4
1
4
0
tc tc tc
÷ =
(
¸
(
¸
= ÷ = ÷
·
·
}
Potential due to a group of point charges
Use superposition
For point charges
The sum is an algebraic sum, not a vector sum.
E may be zero where V does not equal to zero.
V may be zero where E does not equal to zero.
¿ ¿
} }
= =
· ·
= · ÷ = · ÷ =
n
i
i
n
i
r
i
r
V s d E s d E V
1 1
¿ ¿
= =
= =
n
i
i
i
n
i
i
r
q
V V
1
0
1
4
1
tc
•q •q
Just as with potential energy, only differences in electric potential are meaningful.
Relative reference: choose arbitrary zero reference level for ΔU or ΔV.
Absolute reference: start with all charge infinitely far away and set U
i
= 0,
then we have and at any point in an electric field,
where W
·
is the work done by the electric field on a charged particle as that
particle moves in from infinity to point f.
SI Unit of electric potential: Volt (V)
1 volt = 1 joule per coulomb
1 J = 1 VC and 1 J = 1 N m
Electric field: 1 N/C = (1 N/C)(1 VC/J)(1 J/Nm) = 1 V/m
Electric energy: 1 eV = e(1 V)
= (1.60×10
19
C)(1 J/C) = 1.60×10
19
J
Electric Potential
·
÷ = W U q W V /
·
÷ =
•99
Electric potential and capacitance
•Calculate the electric potential, V, at 10 cm
from a 60µC charge.
•Equation:
•V = kq
• r
•
•Answer:
•V = 5.4x 10
6
V
•Calculate the electric potential, V, at the midpoint
between a 250 µC charge and a 450 µC separated
by a distance of 60 cm.
•Equation:
•V = kq
• r
•Answer: •V = 6.0x10
6
V
•October 3, 2007
Electric Potential Energy
of a System of Point Charges
Start with (set U
i
=0 at · and U
f
=U at r)
We have
If the system consists of more than two charged
particles, calculate U for each pair of charges and sum
the terms algebraically.
r
q
V
1
0
4
1
tc
=
r
q q
V q U
2 1
0
2
4
1
tc
= =
) (
4
1
23
3 2
13
3 1
12
2 1
0
23 13 12
r
q q
r
q q
r
q q
U U U U + + = + + =
tc
W W
app
÷ =
app i f
W U U U = ÷ = A
W U U U
i f
÷ = ÷ = A
r E q r F W
A · = A · =
•q
1
•q
2
•q
3
Electric Potential Difference
•The electric potential
energy depends on the
charge present
•We can define and electric
potential V which does not depend
on charge by using a “test” charge
Ed Q U
0
÷ = A
•Change in potential is
change in potential
energy for a test
charge divided by the
unit charge
Ed
Q
U
V ÷ =
A
= A
0
•Remember that for uniform field
0
Q
U
V
A
= A
•101
E. Potential & Potential Energy vs
Electric Field & Coulomb Force
•If we know the potential field this allows
us to calculate changes in potential energy
for any charge introduced
•Coulomb Force is
thus Electric
Field multiplied
by charge
•Electric Field is
Coulomb Force
divided by test
charge
•D Potential is
D Energy
divided by
test charge
•D Energy is D
Potential
multiplied by
test charge
0
Q
U
V
A
= A
0
Q
F
E =
V Q U A = A
E F Q =
•102
Potential Difference Near a Point Charge
• An electric potential exists at some point in an
electric field regardless of whether there is a
charge at that point.
• The electric potential at a point depends on only
two quantities: the charge responsible for the
electric potential and the distance (r)from this
charge to the point in question.
• A V = ke q/r
•103
Electric Potential, units
•SI Units of Electric Potential
0
Q
U
V
A
= A
Ed V ÷ = A
•Units are J/C
•Alternatively called Volts (V)
•We have seen
d V E / A = •Thus E also has units of V/m
•104
Electric Potential
• Since the electrical potential energy can change
depending on the amount of charge you are moving, it
is helpful to describe the electrical potential energy per
unit charge.
• Electric potential: the electrical potential energy
associated with a charged particle divided by the
charge of the particle.
• A larger charge would involve a larger amount of PEe,
but the ratio of that energy to the charge is the same
as it would be if a smaller charge was in that same
place.
•105
•106
The Volt
• The commonly encountered unit joules/coulomb is called the
volt, abbreviated V, after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta
(1745  1827)
• With this definition of the volt, we can express the units of the
electric field as
• For the remainder of our studies, we will use the unit V/m for the
electric field.
1 V =
1 J
1 C
m
V
C
J/m
C
N
] [
] [
] [ = = = =
q
F
E
Potential Difference: The Change in Energy per Unit
Charge
• A V = A PEe/q
• The unit for Potential Difference (voltage) is the
volt.
• 1 volt is equivalent to one joule per coulomb.
• As a 1 C charge moves through a potential
difference of 1 V, the charge gains/loses 1 J of
energy.
•107
Potential Difference in a Uniform Field
• The A V in a uniform field varies with the
displacement from a reference point.
• A V = EA d
• The displacement is moved in the direction
of the field.
• Any displacement perpendicular to the field
does not change the electrical potential
energy.
•108
Potential Difference in a Uniform field
E
•+Q •+Q
•+Q
•A •B
•C
0

= = d F W
BC
 
QEd d F W
AB
= =
BC AB AC
W W W + =
 
QEd =

QEd U
AC
÷ = A
•d


Ed V
AC
÷ = A
•109
Electric Potential of a single charge
•+
r •if V = 0 at r
A
=·
r
Q
V
1
4
0
tc
+ =
•E
•B
•A
•It can be shown that
2
0
1
4 r
Q
E
tc
=
•Remember that
r E V =
•so
•This looks a bit like
the formulae for the
potential in a Uniform
Field

Ed V
AC
÷ = A
•Potential energy
Arbitrary shape
•Potential difference
•Arbitrary shape
•110
Electric Potential is a scalar field
•Electric Potential is a scalar field
•it is defined everywhere
•but it does not have any direction
•it doesn’t depend on a charge being there
•111
•General Points for either positive or negative charges
•The Potential increases if you move in the
direction opposite to the electric field
•and
•The Potential decreases if you move in the
same direction as the electric field
Electric Potential
•112
ElectronVolts
• Another unit of energy that is commonly used
in atomic and nuclear physics is the electron
volt
• One electronvolt is defined as the energy a
chargefield system gains or loses when a
charge of magnitude e (an electron or a
proton) is moved through a potential
difference of 1 volt
– 1 eV = 1.60 x 10
19
J
•113
•114
• If a charged particle moves perpendicular to electric field lines,
no work is done.
• If the work done by the electric field is zero, then the electric
potential must be constant
• Thus equipotential surfaces and lines must always be
perpendicular to the electric field lines.
•if d ± E
General Considerations
AV = ÷
W
e
q
= 0 ¬V is constant
Electrical Potential Energy of Two Charges
• V
1
is the electric potential
due to q
1
at some point P
• The work required to
bring q
2
from infinity to P
without acceleration is
q
2
V
1
• This work is equal to the
potential energy of the
two particle system
r
q q
k V q PE
2 1
e 1 2
= =
•115
Electric Potential of Multiple Point Charges
• Superposition principle applies
• The total electric potential at some point P due to
several point charges is the algebraic sum of the
electric potentials due to the individual charges
– The algebraic sum is used because potentials are
scalar quantities
•116
Superposition of potentials
0 1 2 3
V V V V ... = + + +
•+Q
3
•+Q
2
•+Q
1
10
r
20
r
30
r
•0
3 1 2
0
10 20 30
kQ kQ kQ
V ...
r r r
= + + +
N
i
0
i 1
i0
kQ
V
r
=
=
¿
• In the drawing on the right, q = 2.0 μC and d =
0.96 m. Find the total potential at the location P,
assuming that the potential is zero at infinity.
V 4 . 9
2 96 . 0
2
9
2
2
2
10
10
10
3
6
9
× =
×
×
× × ÷ = ÷ =

.

\

÷ ÷ + =
÷
+
÷
+ + =
÷
V
d
q
K V
d
q
d
q
d
q
d
q
K V
d
q
K
d
q
K
d
q
K
d
q
K V
•118
( )( ) ( )( )
V 240
m 60 . 0
C 10 0 . 8 C m N 10 99 . 8
m 20 . 0
C 10 0 . 8 C m N 10 99 . 8
8 2 2 9 8 2 2 9
+ =
× ÷ · ×
+
× + · ×
=
÷ ÷
A
V
( )( ) ( )( )
V 0
m 40 . 0
C 10 0 . 8 C m N 10 99 . 8
m 40 . 0
C 10 0 . 8 C m N 10 99 . 8
8 2 2 9 8 2 2 9
=
× ÷ · ×
+
× + · ×
=
÷ ÷
B
V
•Example
•At locations A and B, find the total
electric potential.
•119
• Example
• The work done by the electric force as the
• test charge (+2.0x10
6
C) moves from A to
• B is +5.0x10
5
J.
(a)Find the difference in EPE between these
• points.
(b)Determine the potential difference between
• these points.
B A AB
W EPE EPE ÷ =
o
AB
o
A
o
B
A B
q
W
q q
V V
÷
= ÷ = ÷
EPE EPE
J 10 0 . 5 EPE EPE
5 ÷
× ÷ = ÷ = ÷
AB A B
W
V 25
C 10 2.0
J 10 0 . 5
6 
5
÷ =
×
× ÷
=
÷
= ÷
÷
o
AB
A B
q
W
V V
•120
19.2 The Electric Potential Difference
B A AB
W EPE EPE ÷ =
•(a)
J 10 0 . 5 EPE EPE
5 ÷
× ÷ = ÷ = ÷
AB A B
W
•(b)
V 25
C 10 2.0
J 10 0 . 5
6 
5
÷ =
×
× ÷
=
÷
= ÷
÷
o
AB
A B
q
W
V V
•121
•What is the potential difference between points A and B?
•ΔV
AB
= V
B
 V
A
•a) ΔV
AB
> 0 b) ΔV
AB
= 0 c) ΔV
AB
< 0
•E
•A
•B
•C
•Example 4
•Points A, B, and C lie in a
uniform electric field.
•Since points A and B are in the same relative
horizontal location in the electric field there is on
potential difference between them
•The electric field, E, points in the direction of
decreasing potential
•122
•E
•A
•B
•C
•Point C is at a higher potential than
point A.
•True
False
•Example 5
•Points A, B, and C lie in a
uniform electric field.
•As stated previously the electric field points in the
direction of decreasing potential
•Since point C is further to the right in the electric
field and the electric field is pointing to the right,
point C is at a lower potential
•The statement is therefore false
•123
•If a negative charge is moved from point A to point B,
its electric potential energy
•a) Increases. b) decreases. c) doesn’t change.
•E
•A
•B
•C
•Example 6
•Points A, B, and C lie in a
uniform electric field.
•The potential energy of a charge at a location in an electric field is
given by the product of the charge and the potential at the location
•As shown in Example 4, the potential at points A and B
are the same
•Therefore the electric potential energy also doesn’t change
•124
Units for Energy
•There is an additional unit that is used for energy in addition to
that of joules
•A particle having the charge of e (1.6 x 10
19
C) that is moved
through a potential difference of 1 Volt has an increase in energy
that is given by
eV
joules qV W
1
10 6 . 1
19
=
× = =
÷
•125
Problem
•Show that the amount of work required to assemble four
identical point charges of magnitude Q at the corners of a
square of side s is 5.41k
e
Q
2
/s.
( ) ( )
1 2 3 4
12 13 23 14 24 34
2 2 2
2 2
0
1 1
0 1 1 1
2 2
2
4 5.41
2
e e e
e e
U U U U U
U U U U U U U
kQ kQ kQ
U
s s s
kQ kQ
U
s s
= + + +
= + + + + + +
   
= + + + + + +
 
\ . \ .
 
= + =

\ .
•126
19.4 Equipotential Surfaces and Their Relation to the
Electric Field
•Example
•The plates of the capacitor are separated by
•a distance of 0.032 m, and the potential difference
•between them is V
B
V
A
=64V. Between the
•two equipotential surfaces shown in color, there
•is a potential difference of 3.0V. Find the spacing
•between the two colored surfaces.
m V 10 0 . 2
m 0.032
V 64
3
× =
÷
=
A
A
÷ =
s
V
E
m 10 5 . 1
m V 10 0 . 2
V 0 . 3
3
3
÷
× =
×
÷
÷ =
A
÷ = A
E
V
s
•127
Electrical Potential Energy in a Uniform Electric
Field
• If a charge is released in a uniform electric
field at a constant velocity there is a change in
the electrical potential energy associated with
the charge’s new position in the field.
• A PEe = qEA d The unit: Joules
• The negative sign indicates that the electrical
potential energy will increase if the charge is
negative and decrease if the charge is positive.
•128
•129
Potential Energy in 3 charges
¿
=
r
Q
V
0
4
1
tc
•Q2
•Q1
•Q3
12
1
0
2 2 12
4
1
r
Q
Q V Q U
tc
= =
12
2 1
0
12
4
1
r
Q Q
U
tc
=
3 3 12
V Q U U + =
23 13 12
U U U U + + =
(
¸
(
¸
+ + =
23
3 2
13
3 1
12
2 1
0
4
1
r
Q Q
r
Q Q
r
Q Q
U
tc
•Energy
when we
bring in Q2
•Now bring
in Q3
(
¸
(
¸
+ + =
23
2
13
1
0
3 12
4
1
r
Q
r
Q
Q U
tc
•So finally we find
Potential energy
•Calculate the work done bringing a 250 mC charge
and a 450 mC from infinity to a distance of 60 cm
apart.
Equation:
PE = kq
1
q
2
• r
•Answer:
= 9x10
9
(250x10
6
)(
450x10
6
)
• 60x10
2
•PE = 1.7x10
3
J
How much energy (work) is necessary to bring three point
charges from infinity to the vertices of the right triangle shown
below.
•2.0 µ C
•3.0 µ C
4.0µC
•5.0 cm
•3.0 cm
•4.0 cm
Equation:
•PE = kq
1
q
2
r
Answer:
•PE = 2.16J
•PE = 1.8 J
•PE = 1.8 J
•PE = 2.16J
An o particle, mass = 6.7x10
27
kg, initially at rest travels
25 cm through a uniform electric field of 250 N/C.
•Calculate the potential difference across the 25 cm path.
•Equation:
•V =Ed
•Answer: •62.5 V
•What is the aparticle’s speed after 25 cm of travel?
•Equation:
•qEd = ½ mv
2
•Answer:
•7.7x10
4
m/s
POTENTIAL ENERGY IN A
UNIFORM FIELD
•The Electric Field points in the
direction of a positive test charge.
+ Charge  Charge
Along E Loses PEe Gains PEe
Opposite E Gains PEe Loses PEe
•133
Clicker Question
• In the figure, a proton
moves from point i to
point f in a uniform
electric field directed as
shown. Does the electric
field do positive, negative
or no work on the proton?
A: positive
B: negative
C: no work is done on the proton
•134
Example:
Finding the Electric Potential at Point P (apply V=k
e
q/r).
•5.0 µC
•2.0 µC
V 10 60 . 3
) m 0 . 4 ( ) m 0 . 3 (
) C 10 0 . 2 (
) C / Nm 10 99 . 8 (
, V 10 12 . 1
m 0 . 4
C 10 0 . 5
) C / Nm 10 99 . 8 (
3
2 2
6
2 2 9
2
4
6
2 2 9
1
× ÷ =
+
× ÷
× =
× =
×
× =
÷
÷
V
V
•Superposition: V
p
=V
1
+V
2
•V
p
=1.12×10
4
V+(3.60×10
3
V)=7.6×10
3
V
•135 •T . Norah Ali Almoneef
•136
PROBLEMS
• As a particle moves 10 m along an electric field of strength 75 N/C, its
electrical potential energy decreases by 4.8 x10
– 16
J. What is the
particle’s charge?
• What is the potential difference between the initial and final locations
of the particle in the problem above?
• An electron moves 4.5 m in the direction of an electric field of strength
325 N/C/ Determine the change in electrical potential energy.
1) E = 75 N/C PEe =  4.8 x10
16
J d = 10 m
q = ? Must be a + q since PEe was lost
PEe =  qEd q = ( 4.8 x10
16
)/((75)(10)) =
Q = +6.4 E 19 C
2) AV = APEe/q (4.8 x10
16
J)/(6.4 E 19 C)
AV =  750 V
3) q =  1.6 x10
19
C d = 4.5 m E = 325 N/C
APEe = ? PEe =  qEd
(1.6 x10
19
C)(325 N/C)(4.5 m) = 2.3 x10
16
J
•Electric potential
•Example: An electron accelerates from rest through an electric
potential of 2 V. What is the final speed of the electron?
•Answer: The electron acquires 2 eV kinetic energy. We
have
•and since the mass of the electron is m
e
= 9.1 × 10
–31
kg, the speed is
, J 10 3.2
eV
J
10 1.6 eV] 2 [
2
1
19 19 2 ÷ ÷
× =
(
¸
(
¸
× = v m
e
. m/s 10 4 . 8
kg 10 9.1
J 10 3.2 2
5
31 –
19
× =
×
× ×
==
÷
v
•October 3, 2007
Summary
Electric Potential Energy: a point charge moves from i to f
in an electric field, the change in electric potential energy is
Electric Potential Difference between two points i and f in
an electric field:
Equipotential surface: the points on it all have the same
electric potential. No work is done while moving charge on
it. The electric field is always directed perpendicularly to
corresponding equipotential surfaces.
Finding V from E:
Potential due to point charges:
Potential due to a collection of point charges:
Potential due to a continuous charge distribution:
Potential of a charged conductor is constant everywhere
inside the conductor and equal to its value to its value at the
surface.
Calculating E from V:
Electric potential energy of system of point charges:
W U U U
i f
÷ = ÷ = A
q
U
q
U
q
U
V V V
i
f
i f
A
= ÷ = ÷ = A
r
q
r V
0
4
1
) (
tc
=
¿ ¿
= =
= =
n
i i
i
n
i
i
r
q
V V
1 0 1
4
1
tc
} }
= =
r
dq
dV V
0
4
1
tc
s
V
E
s
c
c
÷ =
z
V
E
z
c
c
÷ =
x
V
E
x
c
c
÷ =
y
V
E
y
c
c
÷ =
r
q q
V q U
2 1
0
2
4
1
tc
= =
}
· ÷ =
A
÷ A
f
i
s d E
q
U
V
0
•141
•T . Norah Ali Almoneef •142
142
•The Potential due to a Point Charge:
•144
•The three charges in Fig. , with q
1
= 8 nC,
q
2
= 2 nC, and q
3
=  4 nC, are separated by
distances r
2
= 3 cm and r
3
= 4 cm. How
much work is required to move q
1
to
infinity?
•145
Capacitance
A water tower holds water. A capacitor holds
charge.
(and hence the amount) of the water. The voltage
across a capacitor depends on the am The pressure
at the base of the water tower depends on the
height out of charge held by the capacitor.
Capacitance
The ability of a capacitor to store charge is called
capacitance (C).
Charg
e
(C)
Capacitance
(coulombs/vo
lt)
q = C V
Voltage
(volts)
Cameras use capacitors to supply quick bursts of
energy to flash bulbs.
Capacitance
We define capacitance as the amount of charge
stored per volt: C = Q
stored
/ AV.
UNITS: Farad = Coulomb / Volt
Just as the capacity of a water tower depends on the
size and shape, so the capacitance of a capacitor
depends on its size and shape. Just as a big
water tower can contain more water per foot (or per
unit pressure), so a big capacitor can store more
charge per volt.
Capacitance
Capacitance is measured in farads (F).
A onefarad capacitor can store one coulomb of charge
when the voltage across its plates is one volt.
One farad is a large
amount of capacitance,
so the microfarad (μF)
is frequently used in
place of the farad.
Parallel Plate Capacitor
How a capacitor works inside
The amount of charge a capacitor can store depends on
several factors:
1. The voltage applied to the capacitor.
2. The insulating ability of the material between
the positive and negative plates.
3. The area of the two plates (larger areas can hold
more charge).
4. The separation distance between the plates.
Potential difference and electric
fields in a uniform electric field
•+Q
•Q
•a
•b
•d
o
A
E A
o
=
c
o
E
o
=
c
Potential difference and electric
fields in a uniform electric field
•+Q
•Q
•a
•b
•d
ba
o o
Qd
V d
A
o
= =
c c
ba
Q V ·
ba
Q CV =
•The constant of proportionality is called “capacitance.”
•For a parallel plate capacitor, the capacitance is:
0
A
C
d
c
=
•Note, this is independent of the
charge and the potential
difference
Factors affecting capacitance
Size of the capacitor (A, d)
Geometric arrangement
Plates
Cylinders
Material between conductors
Air
Paper
Wax
Units of capacitance
Coulomb C
Farad F
Volt V
(
= = =
(
¸ ¸
ba
Q
C
V
=
•A Farad is a lot of capacitance. Typical capacitors are
•“micro, nano, picoFarad
Capacitance
What happens when a water tower is overfilled? It
can break due to the pressure of the water pushing
on the walls.
What happens when an electric capacitor is “over
filled” or equivalently a higher voltage is placed
across the capacitor than the listed maximum
voltage? It will “break” by having the charge
“escape”. This escaping charge is like lightning  a
spark that usually destroys the capacitor.
Parallel Plate Capacitor
For a parallel plate capacitor, we can pull charge from
one plate (leaving a ÷Q on that plate) and deposit
it on the other plate (leaving a +Q on that plate).
Because of the charge separation, we have a voltage
difference between the plates, AV. The harder we
pull (the more voltage across the two plates), the
more charge we pull: C = Q /AV. Note that C is
NOT CHANGED by either Q or AV; C relates Q
and AV!
V or AV ?
When we deal with height, h, we usually refer to the
change in height, Ah, between the base and the
top. Sometimes we do refer to the height as
measured from some reference point. It is usually
clear from the context whether h refers to an actual
h or a Ah.
With voltage, the same thing applies. We often just
use V to really mean AV. You should be able to
determine whether we really mean V or AV when
we say V.
A parallelplate capacitor has an area of 5.00 cm
2
and the plates are separated
by a distance of 2.50 mm.
•Calculate the capacitance.
•Equation:
pF C
C
d
A
C
8 . 1
10 5 . 2
10 5
10 85 . 8
3
4
12
0
=
×
× ×
× =
=
÷
÷
÷
c
The two plates of a capacitor hold +5000µC and 5000µC, respectively, when
the potential difference is 200V. What is the capacitance?
•Equation:
•How much charge flows from a 12 V battery when
connected to a
• 20 µF capacitor?
•Equation:
•q = CV
•Answer:
•240 µC
F C
V V
q
C
µ 25
200
10 5000
6
=
×
= =
÷
•q =20µF x12V =
•161
Capacitors
Storing a charge between
the plates
• Electrons on the left
plate are attracted
toward the positive
terminal of the voltage
source
• This leaves an excess of
positively charged holes
• The electrons are
pushed toward the right
plate
• Excess electrons leave a
negative charge
•+
•
•+
•_
•+
•_
Capacitance of parallel plates
•+Q •Q
•Intutively
•The bigger the plates
the more surface area
over which the
capacitor can store
charge C · A
•E
•Moving plates
togeth`er Initially E is
constant (no charges
moving) thus AV=Ed
decreases charges flows
from battery to
increase AV¬ C · 1/d
•Never Ready •
+
•AV
•162
•163
•Example
•The plates of the capacitor are separated by
•a distance of 0.032 m, and the potential difference
•between them is V
B
V
A
=64V. Between the
•two equipotential surfaces shown in color, there
•is a potential difference of 3.0V. Find the spacing
•between the two colored surfaces.
m V 10 0 . 2
m 0.032
V 64
3
× =
÷
=
A
÷ =
d
V
E
m 10 5 . 1
m V 10 0 . 2
V 0 . 3
3
3
÷
× =
×
÷
÷ =
A
÷ =
E
V
d
Example
How strong is the electric field between the plates of a
0.80 µF air gap capacitor if they are 2.0 mm apart and
each has a charge of 72 µC?
Example:
Parallel Plate Capacitor
Consider a parallel plate capacitor made from two plates
each 5 cm x 5 cm separated by 2 mm with vacuum in
between. What is the capacitance of this capacitor?
Further, if a power supply puts 20 volts across this
capacitor, what is the amount of charged stored by this
capacitor?
Capacitance
•The constant of proportionality C is the capacitance which is a property of
the conductor
V Q A · V C Q A =
V
Q
C
A
=
•Experiments show that the charge in a capacitor is proportional to the electric
potential difference (voltage) between the plates.
•166 d
A
V
Q
C
d
A
Q
Ed V
c
c
0
0
= =
= =
Capacitance
Note that if we doubled the voltage, we would not
do anything to the capacitance. Instead, we would
double the charge stored on the capacitor.
However, if we try to overfill the capacitor by placing
too much voltage across it, the positive and
negative plates will attract each other so strongly
that they will spark across the gap and destroy the
capacitor. Thus capacitors have a maximum
voltage!
•168
Example: Thundercloud
• Suppose a thundercloud with horizontal dimensions of 2.0 km by 3.0 km
hovers over a flat area, at an altitude of 500 m and carries a charge of 160
C.
• Question 1:
– What is the potential difference between
the cloud and the ground?
• Question 2:
– Knowing that lightning strikes require
electric field strengths of approximately
2.5 MV/m, are these conditions sufficient
for a lightning strike?
•169
Example:
• Question 1
• We can approximate the cloudground system as a parallel plate capacitor
whose capacitance is
• The charge carried by the cloud is 160 C, which means that the “plate surface”
facing the earth has a charge of 80 C
• 720 million volts
C =
c
0
A
d
=
(8.85·10
12
F/m)(2000 m)(3000 m)
500 m
= 0.11 µF
V =
q
C
=
80 C
0.11 µF
= 7.2 ·10
8
V
•++++++++++++
•++++++++++++
•170
• Question 2
• We know the potential difference between the cloud and ground so we can
calculate the electric field
• E is lower than 2.5 MV/m, so no lightning cloud to ground
– May have lightning to radio tower or tree….
E =
V
d
=
7.2 ·10
8
V
500 m
= 1.5 MV/m
•171
A parallelplate capacitor has an area of 5.00 cm
2
and
the plates are separated by a distance of 2.50 mm.
•Calculate the capacitance.
•Equation:
•Answer: C = 1.8 pF
d
A
C
O
c =
•T . Norah Ali Almoneef
•172
The two plates of a capacitor hold +5000µC and 5000µC,
respectively, when the potential difference is 200V. What is the
capacitance?
•Equation:
•Answer
•25 mF
•How much charge flows from a 12 V battery when connected to a
• 20 mF capacitor?
•Equation:
q = CV
•Answer:
240 µC
V
q
C =
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