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Electrostatics Worksheet
1 a. Describe the basic unit for measuring charge in terms of electron charge.
1 Coulomb = amount of charge on 6.25 x 1018 electrons

b. The charge on one electron or proton is 1.6 x 10-19 coulombs.

2. Two electrons are separated by a distance of 1 mm.

a. Calculate the force of gravitational attraction between the electrons. 5.5 x 10-65 N
b. Calculate the electrical force acting between them. Is this attractive or repulsive? 2.3 x 10-22 N repulsive
c. What is the ratio of electrical force to gravitational force? 4.2 x 1042 times larger than gravitation
3. A 1 μC is placed in a uniform electric field. This charge experiences an 8.0 x 10-6 N force to the south.
a. What is the magnitude and direction of the electric field? 8 N/C South
b. If this charge is moved 10 cm north, does it gain or lose potential energy? How much? Gains; 8 x 10-7 J
c. What is the potential difference between the two points in the field? 0.8 V
4. Define the following from memory – then check your notes for accuracy and completeness.
a. Gravitational potential energy: nrg gained (or lost) as objects move closer together (or further
apart) PE = mgh [J]
b. Electrical potential energy: nrg per unit charge [V or J/C]
c. Equipotential surface: surfaces with equal potential energy [V]
d. Potential difference: nrg gained (or lost) per unit charge as it moves in a field [V or J/C]
e. List units to measure each of the above. [in green above]
5. Consider a parallel plate capacitor with plates A and B connected to opposite terminals of a 12-V battery. The plates are
separated by a distance of 2 cm. See diagram below.
-12 V -9V -6V -3V 0V
a. Sketch in electric field lines. Indicate direction. How does the orientation of these
- + lines related to the equipotentials?
- + In red
- X + b. If plate B is assigned a potential of 0 V, assign appropriate values to each equipotential
surface shown and to plate A. Label these on the diagram.
- +
- + c. How much potential energy is lost in moving a +2 C charge from plate B to plate A?
- + -24 J
- + d. Is energy lost or gained as an electron moves from point X to point Z in the field?
- Y + -19
How much? Answer in J and in eV. Lost; 9.6 x 10 J; 6 eV
- +
e. The electric field is defined as the force per unit charge (E = F/Q) or, in a uniform field, as the potential gradient (E = V/x). What is the electric
- Y?…at point X?
field strength at point +
600 V/m; 600 V/m
f. What is the magnitude and direction of the force exerted on a –5 μC charge at point Y?…at point X?…at point Z?
-0.003 N right (against field); all pts exert the same force b/c field is uniform
6. a. An electroscope can be charged by induction or conduction. Describe the difference between these two methods of charging
an electroscope:
Induction – Charge induced across material (NOT touching) – overall material remains
Conduction – Charge transferred through direct contact
b. How can one give an electroscope a residual negative charge?
By conduction w/ a negatively charged object (such as amber rubbed with fur).
7. Four objects A, B, C, and D react as follows:
A is repelled by C
D is attracted to both A and C
B is attracted to both A and C but not affected by D
A is attracted to an amber rod which has been rubbed with fur (amber rubbed w/ fur = negative)
B and D are also attracted to the charged amber rod
What is the residual charge on each of the four objects?
Positive Negative
A D*
C B* *
charged by induction  positive & negative side (polar)
8. Two points in an electric field are located along a field line. A +1 C charge is moved 0.5 m west (from point A to B) along the
field line. A force of 10 N is required to move this charge.

10 N required to move + charge
a. What is the potential difference between the two points in the field? 5V
b. What is the direction of the field? East [force was required to move positive charge  against
field direction]
c. Which point, A or B, should be assigned the higher potential? B [field goes from high potential to low]
9. Two points in an electric field are assigned potentials as follows:
Point X = 5.0 V and Point Y = 7.0 V
a. If an electron is moved from point X to point Y, is electric potential gained or lost by the electron?

X Y PE is lost by the electron

5V Field direction 7V (converted to KE)
b. How much energy is gained or lost? Give your answer in both Joules and electron-volts.
3.2 x 10-19 J; 2 eV
c. If the points are 10 cm apart, what is the potential gradient (electric field value) of the field between these points?
20 V/m
10. A proton experiences 8 x 10-20 N of force to the north when placed in a uniform electric field.
a. What is the magnitude and direction of the field? 0.5 N/C North
b. What force would an electron experience? -8 x 10-20 N South
c. What is the potential gradient of the field? 0.5 V/m North
d. How much energy will the proton lose as it moves 10 cm in the field? 8 x 10-21 J (only if moving North)