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Electrostatics

Electrostatics is a branch of physics that deals with the phenomena and properties of stationary or slow-moving electric charges.

Since classical physics, it has been known that some materials such as amber attract lightweight particles after rubbing. The Greek word for

amber, , or electron, was the source of the word 'electricity'. Electrostatic phenomena arise from the forces that electric charges exert on

each other. Such forces are described by Coulomb's law. Even though electrostatically induced forces seem to be rather weak, some electrostatic

forces such as the one between an electron and a proton, that together make up a hydrogen atom, is about 36 orders of magnitude stronger than

the gravitational force acting between them.

There are many examples of electrostatic phenomena, from those as simple as the attraction of the plastic wrap to your hand after you remove it

from a package, and the attraction of paper to a charged scale, to the apparently spontaneous explosion of grain silos, the damage of electronic

components during manufacturing, and photocopier & laser printer operation. Electrostatics involves the buildup of charge on the surface of

objects due to contact with other surfaces. Although charge exchange happens whenever any two surfaces contact and separate, the effects of

charge exchange are usually only noticed when at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electrical flow. This is because the charges that

transfer are trapped there for a time long enough for their effects to be observed. These charges then remain on the object until they either bleed

off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge: e.g., the familiar phenomenon of a static 'shock' is caused by the neutralization of charge

built up in the body from contact with insulated surfaces.

Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. There are two

types of electric charges: positive and negative. Like charges repel and unlike attract. An object is negatively charged if it has an excess of

electrons, and is otherwise positively charged or uncharged. The SI derived unit of electric charge is the coulomb (C). In electrical engineering, it

is also common to use the ampere-hour (Ah), and, in chemistry, it is common to use the elementary charge (e) as a unit. The symbol Q often

denotes charge. Early knowledge of how charged substances interact is now called classical electrodynamics, and is still accurate for problems

that don't require consideration of quantum effects.

The electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction.

Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and produces, electromagnetic fields. The interaction between a moving charge and an

electromagnetic field is the source of the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four fundamental forces (See also: magnetic field).

Twentieth-century experiments demonstrated that electric charge is quantized; that is, it comes in integer multiples of individual small units called

the elementary charge, e, approximately equal to 1.6021019 coulombs (except for particles called quarks, which have charges that are integer

multiples of 13e). The proton has a charge of +e, and the electron has a charge of e. The study of charged particles, and how their interactions are

mediated by photons, is called quantum electrodynamics.

Coulomb's law

Coulomb's law or Coulomb's inverse-square law, is a law of physics that describes force interacting between static electrically charged particles.

In its scalar form the law is:

where ke is Coulomb's constant (ke = 8.99109 N m2 C2), q1 and q2 are the signed magnitudes of the charges, and the scalar r is the distance

between the charges. The force of interaction between the charges is attractive if the charges have opposite signs (i.e. F is negative) and repulsive

if like-signed (i.e. F is positive).

The law was first published in 1784 by French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb and was essential to the development of the theory of

electromagnetism. It is analogous to Isaac Newton's inverse-square law of universal gravitation. Coulomb's law can be used to derive Gauss's

law, and vice versa. The law has been tested extensively, and all observations have upheld the law's principle.

Superposition principle

This article is about the superposition principle in linear systems. For other uses, see

Superposition of almost plane waves (diagonal lines) from a distant source and waves from the wake of the ducks. Linearity holds only

approximately in water and only for waves with small amplitudes relative to their wavelengths.

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In physics and systems theory, the superposition principle,[1] also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net

response at a given place and time caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses which would have been caused by each stimulus

individually. So that if input A produces response X and input B produces response Y then input (A + B) produces response (X + Y).

The homogeneity and additivity properties together are called the superposition principle. A linear function is one that satisfies the properties of

superposition. It is defined as

Additivity

Homogeneity

for scalar a.

This principle has many applications in physics and engineering because many physical systems can be modeled as linear systems. For example,

a beam can be modeled as a linear system where the input stimulus is the load on the beam and the output response is the deflection of the beam.

The importance of linear systems is that they are easier to analyze mathematically; there is a large body of mathematical techniques, frequency

domain linear transform methods such as Fourier, Laplace transforms, and linear operator theory, that are applicable. Because physical systems

are generally only approximately linear, the superposition principle is only an approximation of the true physical behaviour.

The superposition principle applies to any linear system, including algebraic equations, linear differential equations, and systems of equations of

those forms. The stimuli and responses could be numbers, functions, vectors, vector fields, time-varying signals, or any other object which

satisfies certain axioms. Note that when vectors or vector fields are involved, a superposition is interpreted as a vector sum.

Electric field intensity is the strength of an electric field at any point. It is equal to the electric force per unit

charge experienced by a test charge placed at that point. The unit of measurement is volts per meter or newtons

per coulomb. This physical quantity has dimensions MLT3A1. It is a vector quantity, and its direction is along the

direction of force.

Potential energy is closely linked with forces. If the work done by a force on a body that moves from A to B does not depend on the path between

these points, then the work of this force measured from A assigns a scalar value to every other point in space and defines a scalar potential field.

In this case, the force can be defined as the negative of the vector gradient of the potential field.

If the work for an applied force is independent of the path, then the work done by the force is evaluated at the start and end of the trajectory of the

point of application. This means that there is a function U (x), called a "potential," that can be evaluated at the two points xA and xB to obtain the

work over any trajectory between these two points. It is tradition to define this function with a negative sign so that positive work is a reduction in

the potential, that is

where C is the trajectory taken from A to B. Because the work done is independent of the path taken, then this expression is true for any

trajectory, C, from A to B.

The function U(x) is called the potential energy associated with the applied force. Examples of forces that have potential energies are gravity and

spring forces.

A capacitor is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores electrical energy in an electric field.[1] The effect of a capacitor is known as

capacitance. While capacitance exists between any two electrical conductors of a circuit in sufficiently close proximity, a capacitor is specifically

designed to provide and enhance this effect for a variety of practical applications by consideration of size, shape, and positioning of closely

spaced conductors, and the intervening dielectric material. A capacitor was therefore historically first known as an electric condenser.[2]

The physical form and construction of practical capacitors vary widely and many capacitor types are in common use. Most capacitors contain at

least two electrical conductors often in the form of metallic plates or surfaces separated by a dielectric medium. The conductors may be foils, thin

films, or sintered beads of metal or conductive electrolyte. The nonconducting dielectric acts to increase the capacitor's charge capacity. Materials

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commonly used as dielectrics include glass, ceramic, plastic film, paper, mica, and oxide layers. Capacitors are widely used as parts of electrical

circuits in many common electrical devices. Unlike a resistor, an ideal capacitor does not dissipate energy.

When two conductors experience a potential difference, for example, when a capacitor is attached across a battery, an electric field develops

across the dielectric, causing a net positive charge to collect on one plate and net negative charge to collect on the other plate. No current actually

flows through the dielectric, instead, the effect is a displacement of charges through the source circuit. If the condition is maintained sufficiently

long, this displacement current through the battery ceases. However, if a time-varying voltage is applied across the leads of the capacitor, the

source experiences an ongoing current due to the charging and discharging cycles of the capacitor.

Capacitance is defined as the ratio of the electric charge Q on each conductor to the potential difference V between them. The unit of capacitance

in the International System of Units (SI) is the farad (F), which is equal to one coulomb per volt (1 C/V). Capacitance values of typical capacitors

for use in general electronics range from about 1 pF (1012 F) to about 1 mF (103 F).

The capacitance of a capacitor is proportional to the surface area of the plates (conductors) and inversely related to the gap between them. In

practice, the dielectric between the plates passes a small amount of leakage current and also has an electric field strength limit, known as the

breakdown voltage. The conductors and leads introduce an undesired inductance and resistance.

Capacitors are widely used in electronic circuits for blocking direct current while allowing alternating current to pass. In analog filter networks,

they smooth the output of power supplies. In resonant circuits they tune radios to particular frequencies. In electric power transmission systems,

they stabilize voltage and power flow.[3] The property of energy storage in capacitors was exploited as dynamic memory in early digital

computers.[4]

A dielectric material (dielectric for short) is an electrical insulator that can be polarized by an applied

electric field. When a dielectric is placed in an electric field, electric charges do not flow through the

material as they do in a conductor, but only slightly shift from their average equilibrium positions

causing dielectric polarization. Because of dielectric polarization, positive charges are displaced toward

the field and negative charges shift in the opposite direction. This creates an internal electric field

that reduces the overall field within the dielectric itself.[1] If a dielectric is composed of weakly bonded

molecules, those molecules not only become polarized, but also reorient so that their symmetry axes

align to the field.[1]

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