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Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

Collaborative ASSIGNMENT
Assignment 1: Charges and Fields
Solution
1. A charge q is positioned at the tip of a hollow cone. If the top half of the cone is
removed and thrown away (see Fig. 1), what is the force on the charge q due to
remaining part of the cone? For what angle is this force maximum?
q

L/2

L/2

Fig. (1)

The force on the charge q due to a segment dx of larger cone can be found as
dFz =

Fz

1 qdq
cos ,
40 x2

F
dx

dx

L/2

L/2

Fig. (a)

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

where dq = rddx is the charge stored on a small horizontal ring as shown in Figure
(a). From the geometry of the figure, sin = r/x.
1 qx sin cos ddx
40
x2

L
q sin cos 2
dx
Fz =
dFz =
d
40
0
L/2 x
(
q sin cos
L ) q sin 2
=
(2) ln L ln =
ln 2.
40
2
40

dFz =

Fz will be maximum when sin 2 is maximum. Therefore, must be 45 to maximize

the force.
2. An half-infinite line has linear charge density . Find the electric field at a point that
is even with the end, a distance l from it, as shown in Fig. 2. You should find that
the field always points up at a 450 angle, independent of l.

Fig. (2)
Refer to Fig (b) the electric field due to a segment ds of a half-infinite line having
linear charge density , at a distance l from the end of line, is given by
= dExi + dEy j.
dE
Now
dEx = dE sin
ds
=
sin
40 r2
and dEy = dE cos
ds
=
cos
40 r2

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

x
r

ds

s
Fig. (b)
From the geometry of figure;
r = l/ cos ,

s = l tan

ds =

l
d.
cos2

Therefore,
dEx =
Likewise, dEy =

40 l

l sin

cos2 =
sin .
2
2
cos 40 l
40 l

cos

/2

Ex =
dEx =
sin d
40 l 0
/2

cos 0 =
=
40 l
40 l

Ey =

40 l
Hence
=
E

(i + j)
40 l

representing the field at 45 angle from the axis. This direction is independent of the
value of l.
3. A point charge q is located at the origin. Find the flux through the circular disk shown.
You are allowed to use only Gausss law. HINT: Consider drawing a suitable Gaussian
surface conforming to the geometry and seeing how the circular disk is related to this
surface.
Due Date: September. 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

Fig. (3)

Draw a spherical Gaussian surface that encloses the circular disk. By construction
(point charge and spherical symmetry), the flux through the curved section of the
sphere (shown in bold) will be the same as through the flat conical cap of section AB.

B
The total flux through the sphere is q/0 . We need to find the flux through the segment
of the sphere bounded by A and B. Suppose the area of this segment is A.

Then
A
flux through the segment
=
flux through the sphere
4l2
Aq
Flux through the segment =

40 l2
Due Date: September. 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

We need to find A. A small area segment on the surface of the sphere is l2 sin dd,
where is the angle from the z-axis and is the azimuthal angle. Hence
2
A =
l2 sin dd
=0

=0

= l (2)( cos ) 0 = 2l2 (1 cos ).
2

Hence
2l2 (1 cos )q
40 l2
q(1 cos )
=

20

flux through the disk = flux through the segment =

4. Four positively charged bodies, two with charge Q and two with charge q, are connected
by four unstretchable strings of equal length. In the absence of external forces they
assume the equilibrium configuration shown in Fig. 4. Show that tan3 = q 2 /Q2 . You
could show that this relation must hold if the total force on each body, the vector sum
of string tension and electrical repulsion, is zero. Hint: Draw free body diagram for
each charge.

q
1

Q 3

Q
q
4
Fig. (4)
Due Date: September. 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

We have to draw the free body diagram for each charge to find the vector sum of forces
acting on it along the x-axis and y-axis.
Lets find the vector sum of forces acts on charge 1 (leftmost in the figure) along the
x-axis and y-axes. Here T s represent string tensions and F s represent electric forces.
the charges are labeled clockwise as shown.

F4
F3

Q
1

F2

F2 = F4

F1x = T cos T cos F3 + F4 cos + F2 cos

Q2
1
+ 2F2 cos
40 (2r cos )2
1
Q2
1 qQ
= 2T cos +
+2
cos = 0
2
40 (2r cos )
40 r2
)
(
1
1
Q2
1 qQ
+2
cos .
T =
2 cos 40 (2r cos )2
40 r2
= 2T cos +

(1)

Similarly, the vector sum of forces acts on charge 2 along the x-axis and y-axis can
also be found as

F1 = F3

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

F4
F3

F1

2
T

1
q2
+ 2F1 sin 2T sin
40 (2r sin )2
1
q2
1 qQ
=
+2
sin 2T sin = 0
2
40 (2r sin )
40 r2
(
)
1
1
q2
1 qQ
T =
+2
sin .
2 sin 40 (2r sin )2
40 r2
=

(2)

By comparing Eq (1) and Eq (2),

(
)
(
)
1
1
1
Q2
1 qQ
1
q2
1 qQ
+2
cos =
+2
sin
2 cos 40 (2r cos )2
40 r2
2 sin 40 (2r sin )2
40 r2
Q2
q2
=
cos3
sin3
q2
tan3 = 2 ,
Q
which is the required result.
5. Consider a high-voltage direct current power line that consists of two parallel conductors suspended 3 meters apart. The lines are oppositely charged. If the electric
field strength halfway between them is 15,000 N/C, how much excess positive charge
resides on a 1km length of the positive conductor?
The magnitude of electric field at a distance x from an infinite line of charge is
E=

20 x

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Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

3m
The electric field strength halfway between two oppositely charged conductors becomes
Eat mid point = E+ + E

=
+
(since fields are in the same direction)
20 x1 20 x2
(2)
15000 =
x1 = x2 = 1.5
20 (1.5)
= 1.5(15000)(0 ) = 1.5(15000)(3.14 8.85 1012 )
= 6 107 Cm1 ,
is the linear charge density for each conductor. Therefore, the positive charge residing
on 1 km length of positively charged conductor is
Q = l = (6 107 )(1 103 ) = 6 104 C.
6. The neutral hydrogen atom in its normal state behaves, in some respects, like an
electric charge distribution that consists of a point charge of magnitude e surrounded
by a distribution of negative charge whose density is given by (r) = Ce2r/a0 . Here
a0 is the Bohr radius, 0.53 1010 m, and C is a constant with the value required to
make the total amount of negative charge exactly e. What is the net electric charge
inside a sphere of radius a0 ? What is the electric field strength at this distance from
the nucleus? You will get full credit even if you write the integral without solving it.
Electronic charge inside a volume of radius a0 is
a0
a0 2
dV =
Ce2r/a0 (r2 sin drdd),

r=0

=0

=0

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

where (r2 sin drdd) is the volume element. hence the electronic charge inside a0 is
(
) a0
a0
2 2r/a0
C(2)
sin d
r e
dr = C(4)
r2 e2r/a0 dr.
=0

Now

r=0

r=0

r2 e2r/a0 dr = I (say)

r2 e2r/a0
2
I =
+
re2r/a0 dr
integration by parts
(2/a0 )
2/a0
[ 2r/a0
]

a0 2 2r/a0
re
1
2r/a0
=
r e
+ a0
+
e
dr
2
(2/a0 ) (2/a0 )
a0 2 2r/a0 a20 2r/a0 a20 e2r/a0
r e
re

2
2
2 (2/a0 )
2
a0 2 2r/a0 a0 2r/a0 a30 2r/a0
=
r e
re
e
.
2
2
4
=

Putting in the limits. (Dont confuse e with the charge in this integral).
a0
a3
a3
a3
a3
r2 e2r/a0 dr = 0 e2 0 e2 0 e2 + 0
2
2
4
4
0
)
(
1
1
1
1
+ 2+ 2
= a30
2
2e
2e
4e
4
(
)
5 1
= a30
= 0.08 a30 .
4e2 4
Hence the total charge inside the sphere of radius a0 is

+e
|{z}
due to proton

C(4)(0.08)a30
|
{z
}

= Qenc .

The field at this distance Ea is such that

Qenc
0
+e C(4)(0.08)a30

Ea =
4a20 0

Ea (4a20 ) =

One can also find C by the condition that the total electronic charge is e.

C(4)
r2 e2r/a0 dr = e
0
a30
2 2r/a0
Now
r e
dr =
4
0
3
a
C(4) 0 = e
4
e
C =

a30
Due Date: September. 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

Electricity and Magnetism: PHY-204.

17 September, 2014

7. A long, straight wire is surrounded by a hollow metal cylinder whose axis coincides
with that of the wire. The wire has a charge per unit length of , and the cylinder
has a net charge per unit length of 2. From this information, use Gausss law to find
(a) the charge per unit length on the inner and outer surfaces of the cylinder
(b) the electric field outside the cylinder, a distance r from the axis.

Cross sectional view

cylinder
wire

Gaussian surface S1

This results in a charge on the inner surface and +3 on the outer surface.
(b) The field is
=
E

3
r.
20 r

Since the cylindrical symmetry dictates that the field is (i) radially outward and
field is (ii) identical to a field from a single wire of charge density 3.

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