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**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

2α

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

2α

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

2α

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.

3

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.

4

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