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# Homework 1

Universidad Nacional Aut´ onoma de M´exico
Classical Electrodynamics
David D´ avalos Gonz´ales
Lorena Marisol Garc´ıa Iglesias
Alvaro Patricio D´ıaz Ruelas
February 6, 2013
Problem 1.2
The Dirac delta function in three dimensions can be taken as the improper limit as α → 0 of the
Gaussian function
D(α; x, y, z) = (2π)
−3/2
α
−3
exp
_

1

2
(x
2
+ y
2
+ z
2
)
_
Consider a general orthogonal coordinate system speciﬁed by the surfaces u = constant, v =
constant, w = constant, with length elements du/U, dv/V , dw/W in the three perpendicular directions.
Show that
δ(x −x

) = δ(u −u

)δ(v −v

)δ(w −w

) · UV W
by considering the limit of the Gaussian above. Note that as α →0 only the inﬁnitesimal length element
need be used for the distance between the points in the exponent.
Answer: Deﬁning
δ(x −x

, y −y

, z −z

) = lim
α→0
(2π)
−3/2
α
−3
exp
_

1

2
((x −x

)
2
+ (y −y

)
2
+ (z −z

)
2
)
_
Then, at the limit: ∆x
2
+ ∆y
2
+ ∆z
2
≈ dx
2
+ dy
2
+ dz
2
= du
2
/U
2
+ dv
2
/V
2
+ dw
2
W
2
where U, V
and W are the inverse of the scaling factors of the orthogonal coordinates, so:
du
2
/U
2
+ dv
2
/V
2
+ dw
2
W
2
≈ ∆u
2
/U
2
+ ∆v
2
/V
2
+ ∆w
2
/W
2
Now putting the expression from above in the deﬁnition of the Dirac delta and using its scaling
property we have
1
lim
α→0
(2π)
−3/2
α
−3
exp
_

1

2
(
_
u −u

U
_
2
+
_
v −v

V
_
2
+
_
w −w

W
_
2
)
_
= δ(
u −u

U
,
v −v

U
,
w −w

W
)
= δ(u −u

)δ(v −v

)δ(w −w

) · UV W
Problem 1.4
Each of three charged spheres of radius a, one conducting, one having a uniform charge density within
its volume, and one having a spherically symmetric charge density which varies radially as r
n
(n > −3),
has a total charge Q. Use Gauss’s theorem to obtain the electric ﬁelds both inside and outside each
sphere. Sketch the behavior of the ﬁelds as a function of radius for the ﬁrst two spheres, and for the
third with n = −2, +2.
Answer: For the three spheres the ﬁeld outside is the same and easy to calculate from Gauss’s law:
_
S

E · da = 4πQ
tot
E
r
4πr
2
= 4πQ
tot
=⇒ E
r
=
Q
tot
r
2
for r > a
Fields inside of spheres:
• For the conducting sphere, the ﬁeld inside is zero from the Gauss’s law because the charges are
located at the surface, thus, the net charge inside of any gaussian surface is zero.
• For the sphere with uniform charge density we can ﬁrst calculate the partial charge inside the
gaussian sphere:
Q
p
=
_
r
0
ρ
0
dV = ρ
0
4π/3r
3
Also we now that Q
tot
= ρ
0
4π/3a
3
Q
tot
, then Q
p
= r
3
/a
3
, putting this in the Gauss’s law we found
E
r
4πr
2
= 4πr
3
/a
3
Q
tot
=⇒ E
r
=
r
a
2
Q
tot
• For the sphere with density charge ρ ∝ r
n
we develop a similar process of the problem above where
the partial charge is:
Q
p
=
_
r
0
Ar
n
dV =
A4π
n + 1
r
n+1
2
where I’ve elected ρ = Ar
n
. Now, in terms of Q
tot
we have:
Q
p
=
_
r
a
_
n+1
Q
tot
And using Gauss’s law
E
r
4πr
2
= 4π
_
r
a
_
n+1
Q
tot
=⇒ E
r
=
r
n−1
a
n+1
Q
tot
Graphs:
Problem 1.6
A simple capacitor is a device formed by two insulated conductors adjacent to each other. If equal and
oposite charges are placed on the conductors, there will be a certain diﬀerence of potential between
them. The ratio of the magnitude of the charge on one conductor to the magnitude of the potential
diﬀerence is called the capacitance (in electrostatic units it is measured in centimeters). Using Gauss’s
law, calculate the capacitance of
(a) two large, ﬂat, conducting sheets of area A, separated by a small distance d;
Answer: Using a gaussian box in each sheet with faces of area A we can get the ﬁeld inside of the
capacitor:
_
S

E · da = 4πQ
E
x
2A = 4πQ
=⇒ E
x
=
2πQ
A
where we have supposed that the sheet areas are perpendicular to axis x
(b) two concentric conducting spheres with radii a, b (b > a);
(c) two concentric conducting cylinders of length L, large compared to their radii a, b (b > a).
(d) What is the inner diameter of the outer conductor in an air-ﬁlled coaxial cable whose center con-
ductor is a cylindrical wire of diameter 1 mm and whose capacitance is 0.5 µµf/cm? 0.05 µµf/cm?
Problem 1.8
(a) For the three capacitor geometries in problem 1.6 calculate the total electrostatic energy and express
it alternativelly in terms of the equal and opposite charges Q and −Q placed on the conductors and
the potential diﬀerence between them.
(b) Sketch the energy density of the electrostatic ﬁeld in each case as a function of the appropriate
linear coordinate.
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Problem 1.10
Prove the mean value theorem: For charge-free space the value of the electrostatic potential at any point
is equal to the average of the potential over the surface of any sphere centered on that point.
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