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ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
Dr. Thomas Afullo,
UKZN, Durban
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 2
ENEL2FT FIELD THEORY
• REFERENCES
• 1. M.N. Sadiku: Elements of Electromagnetics, Oxford
University Press, 1995, ISBN 0195103688.
• 2. N.N. Rao: Elements of Engineering Electromagnetics,
PrecticeHall, 1991, ISBN:0132516047.
• 3. P. Lorrain, D. Corson: Electromagnetic Fields and Waves,
W.H. Freeman & Co, 1970, ISBN: 0716703300.
• 4. David T. Thomas: Engineering Electromagnetics,
Pergamon Press, ISBN: 080167780.
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 3
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• The study of electrostatics begins by investigating two
fundamental laws: Coulomb’s law and Gauss’s law.
• Although Coulomb’s law is applicable in finding the electric
field due to any charge configuration, it is easier to use
Gauss’s law when charge distribution is symmetrical.
• Coulomb’s law is an experimental law formulated in 1785 by
the French colonel, Charles Coulomb.
• It deals with the force a point charge exerts on another point
charge.
• By a point charge is meant a charge that is located on a body
whose dimensions are much smaller than other relevant
dimensions.
• For example, the collection of electric charges on a pinhead
may be regarded as a point charge.
• Charges are generally measured in Coulombs (C).
• One Coulomb is approximately equal to 6x10
18
electrons; it is a
very large unit of charge because the charge of an electron is
1.6019x10
19
C.
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 4
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• Coulomb’s law states that the force F between two point
charges Q
1
and Q
2
is:
– a) Along the line joining the charges
– b) Directly proportional to the product Q
1
Q
2
of the charges
– c) Inversely proportional to the square of the distance R
between them.
• Mathematically, Coulomb’s law is expressed as:
• Here, k is the proportionality constant.
• In SI units, charges Q1 and Q2 are in coulombs (C), the
distance R is in metres, and the force F is in newtons (N).
• A constant ε
o
is defined as the permittivity of free space (in
farads/metre).
2
2 1
R
Q kQ
F ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 5
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• The constant k is defined as:
• Then the equation of force becomes:
• If point charges Q
1
and Q
2
are located at points having
position vectors r
1
and r
2
, respectively, then the force F
12
on
Q
2
due to Q
1
is given by:
m F x
F m k
o
o
/ 10 854 . 8
36
10
/
4
1
12
9
−
−
≈ ·
·
π
ε
πε
2
2 1
4 R
Q Q
F
o
πε
·
12
2
2 1
12
ˆ
4
a
R
Q Q
F
o
πε
·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 6
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• Where:
R
12
Q
1
Q
2
F
21
F
12
origin
12
12
12
12 1 2 12
ˆ
;
R
R
a
R R r r R
·
· − ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 7
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• We may rewrite Coulomb’s equation as:
• Also note that:
• It noted that like charges (charges of the same sign) repel
each other, while unlike charges attract.
• The distance R between the two charged bodies Q
1
and Q
2
must be large compared with the linear dimensions of the
bodies.
• Q
1
and Q
2
must be static (at rest).
• The signs of Q
1
and Q
2
must be taken into account.
( )
3
1 2
1 2 2 1
12
3
2 1
12
4
4
r r
r r Q Q
R
R
Q Q
F
o
o
−
−
· ·
πε
πε
12 21
F F
− ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 8
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW
• If there are more than two point charges, we can use the
principle of superposition to determine the force on a
particular charge.
• The principle states that if there are N charges Q
1
, Q
2
, ..,Q
N
located respectively at points with position vectors r
1
,r
2
,..,r,
the resultant force F on a charge Q located at point r is the
vector sum of the forces exerted on Q by each of the
charges Q
1
, Q
2
, ..,Q
N
. Hence:
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
∑
·
−
−
·
−
−
+ +
−
−
+
−
−
·
N
k
k
k k
o
N
N N
r r
r r Q Q
F
r r
r r QQ
r r
r r QQ
r r
r r QQ
F
1
3
3 3
2
2 2
3
1
1 1
4
4
..
4 4
πε
πε πε πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 9
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW: ELECTRIC FIELD INTENSITY
• We define the electric field intensity or electric field strength as
the force per unit charge when placed in the electric field.
• That is:
• Thus the electric field intensity is in the direction of the
force F and is measured in Volts/metre.
• The electric field intensity at point r due to a point charge
located at r
1
is obtained as:
F
Q
E
1
·
( )
3
1
1
3
4
4
r r
r r Q
R
R
Q
E
o
o
−
−
· ·
πε
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 10
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• COULOMB’S LAW: ELECTRIC FIELD INTENSITY
• For N point charges Q
1
,Q
2
,..,Q
N
located at positions r
1
,r
2
,..,r
N
,
the electric field intensity at point r is obtained as:
• Example:
• Point charges of 2mC and 4mC are located at (3,2,1) and
(1,2,3), respectively. Calculate the electric force on a 10
nC charge located at (0,2,4). Also calculate the electric field
intensity at that point.
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
∑
−
−
·
−
−
+ +
−
−
+
−
−
·
·
N
k
k
k k
o
N
N N
r r
r r Q
E
r r
r r Q
r r
r r Q
r r
r r Q
E
1
3
3 3
2
2 2
3
1
1 1
4
1
4
..
4 4
πε
πε πε πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 11
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CONTINUOUS CHARGE DISTRIBUTIONS
• So far, we have only considered forces and electric fields due to
point charges, which are essentially charges occupying very
small physical space.
• At a macroscopic scale, we can disregard the discrete nature of
the charge distribution and treat the net charge contained in an
elemental volume ∆v as if it were uniformly distributed within it.
• Accordingly, we define the volume charge density as:
• Where ∆q is the charge contained in ∆v. The variation of ρ
v
with
spatial location is called its spatial distribution. The total charge
contained in volume v is given by:
) / ( lim
3
0
m C
dv
dq
v
q
v
v
·
∆
∆
·
→ ∆
ρ
∫
·
v
v
Coulombs dv Q ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 12
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CONTINUOUS CHARGE DISTRIBUTIONS
• In some cases, particularly when dealing with conductors,
electric charge may be distributed across the surface of a
material, in which case the relevant quantity of interest is the
surface charge density, ρ
s
, defined as:
• Where ∆q is the charge present across an elemental surface
area ∆s. Similarly, if the charge is distributed along a line, we
characterize the distribution in terms of the line charge density
ρ
l
, defined as:
ds
dq
s
q
s
s
·
∆
∆
·
→ ∆ 0
lim ρ
( ) m C
dl
dq
l
q
l
l
/ lim
0
·
∆
∆
·
→ ∆
ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 13
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CONTINUOUS CHARGE DISTRIBUTIONS
• The electric field intensity due to each of the charge
distributions ρ
l
,ρ
s
,and ρ
v
may be regarded as the summation of
the field distributed by the numerous point charges making up
the charge distribution.
• Thus we replace Q in the equations for E, and integrating, we
get:
• We shall now apply these formulas to specific charge
distributions.
∫
·
∫
·
∫
·
r
R
dv
E
r
R
ds
E
r
R
dl
E
o
v
o
s
o
l
ˆ
4
ˆ
4
ˆ
4
2
2
2
πε
ρ
πε
ρ
πε
ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 14
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CONTINUOUS CHARGE
DISTRIBUTIONS – AN INFINITE LINE CHARGE
• Consider a line charge with a uniform charge density ρ
L
extending from ∞ to +∞ along the zaxis, as shown below.
z
r
R
E d
α
dz
rˆ
α
rˆ
zˆ −
R
aˆ
Infinite
line charge
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 15
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE LINE CHARGE
• The charge element dQ associated with element dz of the
line is:
• The electric field intensity at point P a distance r from the
line, due to the elemental charge ρ
L
dz is given by:
• From geometry, we obtain:
dz dQ
L
ρ ·
R R
R
R
a
R
R
dz
a
R
dz
E d
R
o
L
R
o
L
· · ⇒
· ·
; ˆ
4
ˆ
4
3 2
πε
ρ
πε
ρ
α α α
α
α
α
α
α α
α α α
d r dz r
d
d
r
d
d
r
d
dz
r r r R r z z r R
2 2
2 2 2 2 2
sec sec
cos
sin
tan
sec tan tan ;
· ⇒ ·
]
]
]
· ·
· + · ⇒ · + ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 16
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE LINE CHARGE
• Also, for the unit vector we have:
• If we now integrate over the entire line, then α varies from –
π/2 to +π/2 as z varies from ∞ to +∞; thus:
• In normal cylindrical coordinates, the expression becomes:
( )
( ) [ ] α α α
πε
ρ
α
α α α α
πε
ρ
α α
d z r
r r
d r z r
E d
z r a
o
L
o
L
R
sin ˆ cos ˆ
4 sec
sec sin ˆ cos ˆ
4
sin ˆ cos ˆ ˆ
2 2
2
− ·
]
]
]
−
· ∴
− ·
( ) [ ] [ ] { ¦
r
r
E
z r
r
d z r
r
E
o
L
o
L
o
L
ˆ
2
cos ˆ sin ˆ
4
sin ˆ cos ˆ
4
2 /
2 /
2 /
2 /
2 /
2 /
πε
ρ
α α
πε
ρ
α α α
πε
ρ
π
π
π
π
π
π
· ∴
+ ·
∫
− ·
− −
−
ρ
ρ πε
ρ
ˆ
2
o
L
E ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 17
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE LINE CHARGE
• Alternatively, one can see from the expression for dE that:
• One observes that at the observation point P, the
contribution to E
z
due to the element dz at point +z on the
line charge is cancelled by the contribution due to the
element dz at position –z along the line charge. Therefore,
we could just conclude that:
• We shall use a similar argument for surface charge.
( )
( ) [ ]
z r
o
L
o
L
dE z dE r d z r
r r
d r z r
E d ˆ ˆ sin ˆ cos ˆ
4 sec
sec sin ˆ cos ˆ
4
2 2
2
+ · − ·
]
]
]
−
· α α α
πε
ρ
α
α α α α
πε
ρ
r z r z
E r E z E r E E ˆ ˆ ˆ ; 0 · + · ⇒ ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 18
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CIRCULAR RING OF CHARGE
• Consider a circular ring of charge of radius ρ, having
uniform charge density ρ
l
C/m. The ring is placed on the xy
plane.
x
y
z
R
ϕ
ρ
dl
E d
Circular ring
of charge
α
zˆ
ρˆ −
R
aˆ
α
h
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 19
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CIRCULAR RING OF CHARGE
• We are required to determine the total electric field at the
point P along the zaxis, located a height h above the xy
plane.
• Consider an elemental length dl on the ring. The electric
field arising from this elemental charge is given by:
( )
( )
( )
( )
z
o
L
R
L L
R
o
dE z dE E d
z
h
d
E d
z a h R
d dl dQ
a
R
dQ
E d
ˆ ˆ
cos ˆ sin ˆ
4
cos ˆ sin ˆ ˆ ;
ˆ
4
2 2
2 2
2
+ · ⇒
+ −
+
· ∴
+ − · + ·
· ·
·
ρ
ρ
α α ρ
ρ πε
ϕ ρ ρ
α α ρ ρ
ϕ ρ ρ ρ
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 20
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO CIRCULAR RING OF CHARGE
• Thus dE has both a zcomponent and a ρ−component.
• However, from symmetry considerations, for every element
dl in the direction ρ giving rise to an elemental field strength
dE
ρ
, there is a corresponding opposite element –dl giving
rise to an opposite elemental electric field strength –dE
ρ
.
Therefore the ρ components of dE cancel; this implies that
dE has only a zcomponent. Thus:
• Simplifying, we obtain:
( )
( )
( )
( ) ( )
( )
( )
( )
2 2
2
0
2 2
2 2
2
cos ˆ
4
cos ˆ
cos ˆ
4
ˆ , 0 ˆ
h
z
h
d z
E
z
h
d
dE z E d dE
o
L
o
L
o
L
z
+
·
∫
+
·
+
· · ⇒ ·
ρ ε
α ρ ρ
ρ πε
ϕ ρ α ρ
α
ρ πε
ϕ ρ ρ
ρ
π
ρ
( )
( )
( )
( )
( ) ( )
2 / 3
2 2
2 / 3
2 2
2 / 3
2 2
2 2
4
ˆ
4
2 ˆ
2
ˆ
2
cos ˆ
h
Qh z
h
h z
h
h z
h
z
E
o o
L
o
L
o
L
+
·
+
·
+
·
+
·
ρ πε ρ πε
πρρ
ρ ε
ρ ρ
ρ ε
α ρ ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 21
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE SURFACE CHARGE
• Let us consider an infinite plane sheet of charge in the xy
plane with uniform surface charge density ρ
s
C/m
2
. We are
required to find the electric field intensity due to it
everywhere above the sheet.
x
y
z
ϕ
ρ
dϕ
dρ
dA
R
h
α
ρˆ −
R
aˆ
zˆ
α
E d
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 22
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE SURFACE CHARGE
• Consider the point P(0,0,h) on the zaxis. The sheet of
surface charge is thus placed a distance h below P. The
charge contribution due to an elemental area dA is given
by:
• We also derive the following relationships from the sketch:
• Then the electric field intensity arising from this elemental
charge is:
( ) ( ) ρ ϕ ρ ρ ρ ϕ ρ ρ d d dQ d d dA dA dQ
s s
· ⇒ · · ;
α ρ α
α α ρ α
α
α
α α
ρ
α α α ρ ρ
sin ˆ cos ˆ ˆ
sec ; sec
cos
sin
sec tan 1 ; tan ;
2 2
2 2 2
− ·
· ⇒ ·
]
]
]
·
· + · ⇒ · + · ·
z a
d h d h
d
d
h
d
d
h h R h h R R
R
( ) [ ]
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
−
· · ·
α
α ρ α α α ϕ α
πε
ρ
πε
ρ ϕ ρ ρ
πε
2 2
2
2 2
sec
sin ˆ cos ˆ ) sec )( tan (
4
ˆ
4 4
ˆ
h
z d h d h
a
R
d d
R
a dQ
E d
o
s
R
o
s
o
R
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 23
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE SURFACE CHARGE
• The total electric field is obtained from the integration of dE
over the entire surface. Here, ϕ varies from (0,2π), while α
varied from (0,π/2).
• Note that dE has two components: one, dE
z
in the z
direction, and the other is dE
ρ
in the ρ direction.
• For the ρ component of dE, for each value of dE
ρ
, there is a
canceling value, dE
ρ
, from the opposite element. Thus the ρ
components cancel each other out, and we have left only
the zcomponent:
[ ] { ¦
ρ
ρ ϕ α
α
α
ρ α
πε
ρ
ϕ α α α ρ α α
πε
ρ
dE dE z d d z E d
d d z E d
z
o
s
o
s
ˆ ˆ
cos
sin
ˆ sin ˆ
4
sin tan ˆ cos tan ˆ
4
2
+ ·
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
]
]
]
− · ∴
− ·
( ) ( )
z
o
s
o
s
o
s
E z z d z d d z E ˆ ˆ
2
sin ˆ
2
sin ˆ
4
2 /
0
2
0
2 /
0
· ·
]
]
]
∫
·
∫
]
]
]
∫
·
ε
ρ
α α
ε
ρ
ϕ α α
πε
ρ
π π π
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 24
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELDS DUE TO AN INFINITE SURFACE CHARGE
• For a point located below the charge sheet, the electric field
intensity is:
• If we consider two infinite parallel, oppositelycharged charge
sheets, one with charge density ρ
s
, and the other with
opposite charge density –ρ
s
C/m
2
, the total electric field
between the two plates is given by:
• This would therefore be the total electric field between two
plates of a parallelplate capacitor with (approximately)
infinite dimensions.
( )
o
s
o
s
o
s
z E
z z E
ε
ρ
ε
ρ
ε
ρ
ˆ
2
ˆ
2
ˆ
· ∴
]
]
]
−
− + ·
o
s
z E
ε
ρ
2
ˆ − ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 25
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC FLUX DENSITY
• Let us define a vector field, D, as:
• Where ε is the electrical permittivity of the medium. Thus D
is independent of the medium. Define the electric flux, Ψ,
as:
• The electric flux is measured in Coulombs, and therefore
the vector D is called the electric flux density, measured in
C/m
2
.
• Thus all formulas derived for E from Coulomb’s law can be
used in calculating D, except we have to multiply those
results by ε
o
. Thus for a volume charge distribution,
E D
ε ·
∫
· Ψ S d D
.
R
v
a
R
dv
D ˆ
4
2
∫
·
π
ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 26
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• GAUSS’S LAW
• Gauss’s law states that the total electric flux, Ψ, flowing out
of a closed surface S equals to the total charge enclosed by
the surface.
• That is:
• Where Q
enc
=total charge enclosed.
• Gauss’s law is thus an alternative statement of Coulomb’s
law.
• Gauss’s law provides an easy means of finding E or D for
symmetrical charge distributions such as a point Charge,
an infinite line charge, an infinite surface charge, and a
spherical charge distribution.
∫
· · Ψ ⇒ · Ψ
S
enc enc
Q S d D Q
.
∫ ∫ ∫
· ⇒ ·
v
v
v s
v
dv S d D dv Q ρ ρ
.
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 27
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A POINT CHARGE
• Suppose that a point charge Q is located at the origin.
• To determine the flux density D at a point P, it is seen that
choosing a spherical surface containing P will satisfy
symmetry conditions.
• Thus a spherical surface centered at the origin is the
Gaussian surface in this case, as shown below.
x
y
z
Q
D
r
P
Gaussian Surface
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 28
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A POINT CHARGE
• Applying Gauss’s law, with a spherical surface as the
Gaussian surface, we have:
• From this, we can determine E to be:
( ) ( )
2
2
0
2
0
2
4
ˆ
4 sin
sin ˆ
. ˆ .
r
Q
r D
r D d d r D Q
d r rd r S d
S d r D S d D Q
r r
V
r
V
π
π θ θ ϕ
ϕ θ θ
π π
· ∴
·
∫
,
`
.

∫
· ∴
·
∫
·
∫
·
2
4
ˆ
r
Q
r E E D
o
o
π ε
ε · ⇒ ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 29
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A LINE CHARGE
• Suppose the infinite line of uniform charge ρ
L
C/m lies
along the zaxis.
• To determine D at a point P a distance ρ from the line, we
choose a cylindrical surface containing P to satisfy
symmetry conditions as shown in the figure below.
ρ
P
D
z
x
y
L
Gaussian
surface
Line charge
ρ
L
C/m
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 30
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A LINE CHARGE
• D is constant on and normal to the cylindrical Gaussian
surface. Thus,
• If we apply Gauss’s law to an arbitrary length L of the line,
we have:
• Note that the evaluation of D.dS on the top and bottom
surfaces of the cylinder is zero since D has no z
component.
ρ
ρD D ˆ ·
( )
ρπ ε
ρ
ρ
ρπ
ρ
ρ
ρπ ρ
ϕ ρ ρ
ρ
ρ
o
L L
L enc
L enc
E D
L D L Q
dz d S d
S d D L Q
2
ˆ
2
ˆ
2
ˆ
.
⇒ · ∴
· · ∴
·
∫
· ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 31
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A UNIFORMLY
CHARGED SPHERE
• Consider a sphere of radius a with a uniform charge ρ
v
C/m
3
.
a
r
r
a
Gaussian surface
a r ≥
a r ≤
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 32
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A UNIFORMLY
CHARGED SPHERE
• To determine D everywhere, we construct Gaussian
surfaces for cases r≤a, and r≥a, separately.
• Since the charge has spherical symmetry, it is obvious that
a spherical surface is an appropriate Gaussian surface.
• For r≤a, the total charge enclosed by the spherical surface
of radius r is:
• The total flux is given by:
v enc
r
r
v enc
r
Q
d drd r dv Q
ρ
π
ϕ θ θ ρ
π
ϕ
π
θ
3
4
sin
3
2
0 0 0
2
·
∫ ∫ ∫
·
∫
·
· · ·
( )
∫ ∫ ∫
· · · Ψ
· ·
π
ϕ
π
θ
π ϕ θ θ
2
0 0
2 2
4 sin . r D d d r D S d D
r r
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 33
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A UNIFORMLY
CHARGED SPHERE
• Thus we have:
• For r≥a, the charge enclosed by the Gaussian surface is
the entire charge in this case, that is:
• Similarly, the flux is given by:
a r
r
r D
r
D r Q
v r enc
≤ ≤ · ∴
· ⇒ · Ψ
0 ,
3
ˆ
3
4
4
3
2
ρ
π
π
∫ ∫ ∫ ∫
· · ·
· · ·
π
ϕ
π
θ
ρ
π
ϕ θ θ ρ ρ
2
0 0 0
3
2
3
4
sin
a
r
v v v enc
a
d drd r dv Q
( )
r
D r S d D
∫
· · Ψ
2
4 . π
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 34
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A UNIFORMLY
CHARGED SPHERE
• Hence we obtain,
• Thus from the foregoing, D is everywhere given by:
( )
a r
r
a
r D
a
D r
v
v r
≥ · ⇒
·
,
3
ˆ
3
4
4
2
3
3
2
ρ
ρ
π
π
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
≥
≤
·
a r
r
a
r
a r
r
r
D
v
v
,
3
ˆ
,
3
ˆ
2
3
ρ
ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 35
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A AN INFINITE SHEET
OF CHARGE
• Consider the infinite sheet of uniform charge with charge
density ρ
s
C/m
2
lying on the z0 plane (xyplane).
x
y
z
D
P
Gaussian surface
Area A
Infinite sheet of
charge, ρ
s
C/m
2
D
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 36
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• APPLICATION OF GAUSS’S LAW TO A AN INFINITE SHEET
OF CHARGE
• To determine D at point P, we choose a rectangular box
that is cut symmetrically by the sheet of charge and has
two of its sides parallel to the sheet as shown in the figure.
• As D is normal to the sheet, we have, when applying
Gauss’s law:
• Note that D has no x and y components, hence D
x
=0, D
y
=0.
• If the top and bottom of the pillbox each has area A, then
we get:
∫
]
]
]
∫ ∫
+ · ·
·
top bottom
z
z
dS dS D Q S d D
D z D
.
ˆ
o
s
o
s
z z s
z
D
E z D
AD A A D A Q
ε
ρ
ε
ρ
ρ
2
ˆ
2
ˆ
2 ) (
· · ⇒ · ∴
· + · Ψ · ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 37
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
•
In electric circuits, we work with voltages and currents.
•
The voltage V between two points in the circuit
represents the amount of work, or potential energy, required
to move a unit charge between the two points.
•
In fact, the term “voltage” is a shortened version of the
term “voltage potential” and is the same as electric
potential.
•
Even though when we solve a circuit problem we usually
do not consider the electric fields present in the circuit,
in fact it is the existence of an electric field between two
points that gives rise to the voltage difference between
them, such as across a resistor or capacitor.
•
The relationship between the electric field, E, and the
electric potential, V, is the subject of this section.
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 38
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
• Consider the case of a positive charge q in a uniform
electric field
• Which is parallel to –y direction, as shown in the figure.
• The presence of the field E exerts a force F on the charge,
given by:
y
x
q
dy
E
E
E y E ˆ − ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 39
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
• The force exerted is in the negative ydirection.
• If we attempt to move the charge along the positive y
direction, against the force F
e
, we will need to provide an
external force F
ext
to counteract F
e
, which requires an
expenditure of energy.
• To move q without any acceleration (at a constant speed), it
is necessary that the net force acting on the charge be
zero. This means that:
• The work done, or energy expended, in moving any object a
vector differential distance dl under the influence of force
F
ext
is:
qE y E q F
e
ˆ − · ·
E q F F
e ext
− · − ·
l d E q l d F dW
ext
. . − · ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 40
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
• If the charge is moved a distance dy along y, then:
• The differential electric potential energy dW per unit charge
is called the differential electric potential, or differential
voltage, dV.
• That is,
• The unit of V is the volt (V), and therefore the electric field
is expressed in volts per metre (V/m).
( ) qEdy dy y E y q dW · − − · ˆ . ˆ
) / ( . V or C J l d E
q
dW
dV
− · ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 41
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
• Thus the potential difference between any two points P
2
and P
1
is obtained by integrating dV along the path between
P
1
and P
2
. That is:
• Where V
1
and V
2
are the electric potentials at points P
1
and
P
2
, respectively.
• The result of the line integral above should be independent
of the specific path of integration between points P
1
and P
2
.
• It is also readily seen that the integral of the electrostatic field E
around any closed contour is zero:
∫
·
∫
· − ·
∫
·
2
1
2
1
1 2 21
.
P
P
P
P
l d E dV V V V
dV V
0 . .
0 . .
2
2
2
2
2 2 22
· ∇
∫
⇒ ∇ ·
∫
·
∫
·
∫
·
∫
· − ·
E x S d E x l d E But
l d E l d E dV V V V
S C
C
P
P
P
P
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 42
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL
• We now define what is meant by the electric potential V at a
point in space.
• Whenever we talk of a voltage V in a circuit, we do so in
reference to a voltage of some conveniently chosen point
to which we have assigned a reference voltage of zero, which
we call ground.
• The same principle applies to electric potential V. Usually,
the reference potential point is chosen to be at infinity. That
is, if we assume V
1
=0 when P
1
is at infinity, the electric
potential at any point P is given by:
∫
− ·
∞
P
l d E V
.
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 43
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL DUE TO POINT CHARGES
• For a charge q located at the origin of a spherical
coordinate system, the electric field at a distance R is given
by:
• As indicated before, the choice of the integration path
between two points in determining the potential V is quite
arbitrary. Hence we conveniently choose the path to be
along the radial direction R, in which case we have:
• If the charge q is at a location other than the origin,
specified by a source position vector R
1
, then the potential
V at observation position vector R becomes:
( ) m V
R
q
a E
o
R
/
4
ˆ
2
πε
·
( ) ) (
4
ˆ .
4
ˆ .
2
V
R
q
dR a
R
q
a l d E V
o
R
R
o
R
R
πε πε
·
∫
,
`
.

− ·
∫
− ·
∞ ∞
) (
4
1
V
R R
q
V
o
−
·
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 44
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL DUE TO POINT CHARGES
•
The principle of superposition that has been applied
previously to the electric field E also applies to the
electric potential V.
• For N discrete point charges q
1
, q
2
, ..,q
N
having
position vectors R
1
, R
2
, .., R
N
, the electric potential is:
) (
4
1
1
V
R R
q
V
N
i
i
i
o
∑
−
·
·
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 45
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL DUE TO CONTINUOUS
CHARGE DISTRIBUTIONS
• For a continuous charge distribution specified over a given
volume V, across a surface S, or along a line l, we replace
the q
i
with:
• Then, converting the summation into integration, we
obtain:
dl ds dv
l s v
ρ ρ ρ ; ;
) (
4
1
) (
) (
4
1
) (
) (
4
1
) (
on distributi line dl
R
R V
on distributi surface dS
R
R V
on distributi volume dv
R
R V
L
l
o
S
s
o
V
v
o
∫
·
∫
·
∫
·
ρ
πε
ρ
πε
ρ
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 46
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ELECTRIC FIELD AS A FUNCTION OF ELECTRIC
POTENTIAL
• We have seen that:
• If we resolve E and dl into rectangular coordinates, we
have:
• Thus
l d E dV
. − ·
( ) ( )
; ; ;
ˆ ˆ ˆ . ˆ ˆ ˆ .
ˆ ˆ ˆ ; ˆ ˆ ˆ
z
V
E
y
V
E
x
V
E
dz
z
V
dy
y
V
dx
x
V
dV
dz E dy E dx E dz z dy y dx x E z E y E x l d E
dz z dy y dx x l d E z E y E x E
z y x
z y x z y x
z y x
∂
∂
− ·
∂
∂
− ·
∂
∂
− · ∴
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
·
+ + · + + + + · ∴
+ + · + + ·
V E ∇ − ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 47
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
EXAMPLE:
•
Given the potential function:
•
Determine:
•
A) The electric field strength and the electric flux
density at (2,π/2, 0)
•
The work done in moving a 10µC charge from
point A (1,30
o
, 120
o
) to B(4,90
o
,60
o
)
φ θ cos sin
10
2
r
V ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 48
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• SOLUTION:
( )
( )
( ) ( )
J W
x
r r
Q
V V Q l d E Q QV W
m C x r E D
m V r m V r r E
r r
r
r
V
r
V
r
r
r
V
V E
o o o o
B
A
A B AB
o
o o o o
5 
5 6
) 120 , 30 , 1 (
2
) 60 , 90 , 4 (
2
2 11
9
0 , 2 / , 2
3 3 3
2.8125x10
4
10
32
10
10 120 cos 30 sin
1
10
60 cos 90 sin
16
10
10 10
cos sin
10
cos sin
10
.
/ 10 21 . 2 ˆ
8
20
36
10
/ ˆ 5 . 2 / ˆ
8
20
ˆ
0
ˆ
0 ˆ
8
20
ˆ
sin
10
ˆ
cos cos
10
ˆ cos sin
20
ˆ
sin
1
ˆ
1
ˆ
· ∴
]
]
]
−
− ·
]
]
]
− ·
]
]
]
]
− ·
∫
− · − · ·
·
,
`
.

· ·
· ·
,
`
.

+ − ·
+ − ·
]
]
]
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
− · ∇ − ·
− −
−
−
φ θ φ θ
π
ε
φ θ
φ φ θ φ θ φ θ
φ
φ θ
θ
θ
π
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 49
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE
• An electric dipole is formed when two point charges of
equal but opposite sign are separated by a small distance,
as shown below.
P
x
y
z
+Q
Q
d
r
1
r
2
r
θ
An Eectric Dipole
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 50
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE
• The potential at point P(r,θ, φ) is given by:
• Where r
1
and r
2
are the distances between P and +Q and –Q,
respectively.
• If r>>d, then:
]
]
]
−
·
]
]
]
− ·
2 1
1 2
2 1
4
1 1
4 r r
r r Q
r r
Q
V
o o
πε πε
( )( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
[ ]
2
2 1
1 2
2 2 2
2
2 1
1 2
2
2
2
2
2 2
2
2
1
2
2
2 2
1
4
cos
4
cos ) / ( 1
cos ) / ( 1 cos ) / ( 1 cos ) / ( 1 cos ) / ( 1
cos
cos ) 2 / ( cos ) / ( 1 cos ) 2 / ( 2
cos ) 2 / ( 2 cos ) 2 / ( 2
2
cos ) 2 / ( cos ) / ( 1 cos ) 2 / ( 2
cos ) 2 / ( 2 cos ) 2 / ( 2
2
r
Qd
r r
r r Q
V
r r d r
r d r d r r d r r d r r r
d r r
d r r d r d r r r
d r r d r
d
r r
d r r d r d r r r
d r r d r
d
r r
o
o
πε
θ
πε
θ
θ θ θ θ
θ
θ θ θ
θ θ
θ θ θ
θ θ
·
]
]
]
−
· ∴
≈
,
`
.

− ·
+ − · + − ·
≈ − ∴
+ ≈ + · + · ∴
+ ≈ +
,
`
.

+ ·
− ≈ − · − · ∴
− ≈ −
,
`
.

+ ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 51
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE
• Define the dipole moment p as:
• The electric field due to the dipole with centre at the
origin, is:
2 2
4
ˆ .
4
cos
r
r p
r
Qd
V
d Q p
o o
πε πε
θ
· ·
·
[ ] θ θ θ
πε
θ
πε
θ
πε
θ
θ
θ
ˆ
sin ˆ cos 2
4
ˆ
4
sin
ˆ
2
cos
ˆ
1
ˆ
3
3 3
+ · ∴
+ ·
]
]
]
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
− · ∇ − ·
r
r
p
E
r
Qd
r
r
Qd
V
r
r
r
V
V E
o
o o
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 52
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE
• Notice that a point charge is a monopole, and its electric
filed varies inversely as r
2
, while its potential varies
inversely as r.
• For the dipole, we notice that the electric field varies
inversely as r
3
, while its potential varies inversely as r
2
.
• The electric fields due to the presence of a quadrupole
(consisting of two dipoles) vary inversely as r
4
, while the
corresponding potential varies inversely as r
3
.
• EXAMPLE:
• Two dipoles have dipole moments p
1
and p
2
are located at
points (0,0,2) and (0,0,3), respectively. Find the potential at
the origin if:
Cm z x p Cm z x p ˆ 10 9 ; ˆ 10 5
9
2
9
1
− −
· − ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 53
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE
• SOLUTION:
• The potential is given by:
20.25V 1
8
10
9
27
10 27
8
10 10
36
10
4
1
3 ; ˆ 3 ) 3 , 0 , 0 ( ) 0 , 0 , 0 ( ; ˆ 10 9
2 ; ˆ 2 ) 2 , 0 , 0 ( ) 0 , 0 , 0 ( ; ˆ 10 5
. .
4
1
4
.
9 9
9
2 2 2
9
2
1 1 1
9
1
3
2
2 2
3
1
1 1
2
1
3
− ·
]
]
]
− − ·
]
]
]
]
−
−
· ∴
· · − · − · ·
· · · − − · − ·
]
]
]
]
+ ·
∑
·
− −
−
−
−
·
x x
V
r r z r z x p
r r z r z x p
r
r p
r
r p
r
r p
V
o
k
k o
k k
π
π
πε
πε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 54
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• EXAMPLE:
• An electric dipole of dipole moment p is located at the
origin, where:
• Find the electric filed intensity E and potential V at the
following points:
• A) (0,0,10).
• B) (1, π/3, π/2)
• ANS:
Cm x p
12
10 100
−
·
( ) V V m V x r E B
V x V m V r x E A
45 . 0 ; / 10
ˆ
78 . 0 ˆ 9 . 0 )
10 9 ; / ˆ 10 8 . 1 )
3
3 3
· + ·
· ·
−
− −
θ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 55
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ENERGY DENSITY IN ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• To determine the energy present in an assembly of
charges, we must first determine the amount of work
necessary to assemble them.
• Suppose we wish to position three point charges Q
1
, Q
2
,
and Q
3
in an initial empty space shown below.
P
1
P
2
P
3
∞
Q
1
Q
2
Q
3
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 56
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ENERGY DENSITY IN ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• No work is required to transfer Q
1
from infinity to P
1
because the space is initially charge free and there is no
electric field.
• The work done in transferring Q
2
from infinity to P
2
is equal
to the product of Q
2
and the potential V
21
at P
2
due to Q
1
.
• Similarly, the work done in positioning Q
3
at P
3
is equal to
Q
3
(V
32
+V
31
), where V
32
and V
31
are the potentials at P
3
due
to Q
2
and Q
1
, respectively.
• Hence the total work done in positioning the three charges
is:
• If the charges were positioned in reverse order, then:
( )
32 31 3 21 2
3 2 1
0 V V Q V Q
W W W W
E
+ + + ·
+ + ·
( )
13 12 1 23 2
1 2 3
0 V V Q V Q
W W W W
E
+ + + ·
+ + ·
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 57
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
•
ENERGY DENSITY IN ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• Here, V
23
is the potential at P
2
due to Q
3
, V
12
and V
13
are
respectively the potentials at P
1
due to Q
2
and Q
3
. Thus the
two equations give:
• Where V
1
, V
2
, and V
3
are the potentials at P
1
, P
2
, and P
3
,
respectively.
• In general, if there are n point charges, the above equation
becomes:
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
3 3 2 2 1 1
3 3 2 2 1 1
32 31 3 23 21 2 13 12 1
2
1
2
V Q V Q V Q W
V Q V Q V Q
V V Q V V Q V V Q W
E
E
+ + · ∴
+ + ·
+ + + + + ·
∑
·
·
n
k
k k E
V Q W
1
2
1
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 58
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ENERGY DENSITY IN ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• If, instead of point charges, the region has a continuous
charge distribution, the above summation becomes as
integration:
• We can further refine the expression using volume charge
density by using the vector identities:
( )
( )
( ) e ch volume Vdv W
e ch surface VdS W
e ch line Vdl W
V E
S E
L E
arg
2
1
arg
2
1
arg
2
1
∫
∫
∫
·
·
·
ρ
ρ
ρ
( )
( ) V A A V A V
A V V A A V
D
v
∇ − ∇ · ∇ ∴
∇ + ∇ · ∇
∇ ·
. . .
. . .
. ρ
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 59
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• ENERGY DENSITY IN ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• Therefore we obtain:
• By applying the divergence theorem to the first term on the
righthand side of the equation, we have:
• For point charges, V varies as 1/r, and D varies as 1/r
2
; for
dipoles, V varies as 1/r
2
and D varies as 1/r
3
; and so on.
( )
( ) ( ) ( )
∫ ∫ ∫
∫ ∫
∇ − ∇ · ∇ ·
∇ · ·
dv V D dv D V Vdv D
Vdv D Vdv W
V E
.
2
1
.
2
1
.
2
1
.
2
1
2
1
ρ
( ) ( )
∫ ∫
∇ − ·
V S
E
dv V D S d D V W
.
2
1
.
2
1
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 60
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• Hence VD in the first term on the rhs must vary at least as 1/r
3
while
dS varies as r
2
.
• Consequently the first integral must tend to zero as the surface dS
becomes large.
• Therefore W
E
reduces to:
( ) ( )
∫
∫ ∫
· ∴
· ∇ − ·
V
o E
V V
E
dv E W
dv E D dv V D W
2
2
1
.
2
1
.
2
1
ε
ENEL2FT Field Theory Electrostatic Fields 61
ELECTROSTATIC FIELDS
• EXAMPLE:
• Three point charges, 1nC, 4nC, and 3nC, are located at (0,0,0),
(0,0,1), and (1,0,0), respectively. Find the energy in the system.
• SOLUTION:
[ ]
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
[ ] ( ) ( ) ( ) [ ]
J W
x x x V Q V Q V Q W
V
x x Q Q
V V V
V
x x Q Q
V V V
V
x x Q Q
V V V
V Q V Q V Q V Q W
E
E
o
o
o
o
o o
n
k
k k E
9 
9 9 9
3 3 2 2 1 1
9
9
9
9
2 1
32 31 3
9
9
9
9
3 1
23 21 2
9
9
9
9
3 2
13 12 1
3 3 2 2 1 1
1
13.36x10
16.46 10 3 10.09 10 4 63 10 1
2
1
2
1
16.46
2
36
10
4
10 4
1
36
10
4
10 1
2 4
1 4
10.09
2
36
10
4
10 3
1
36
10
4
10 1
2 4
1 4
63
1
36
10
4
10 3
1
36
10
4
10 4
1 4 1 4
2
1
2
1
·
+ + − · + + · ∴
· +
−
· + · + ·
· +
−
· + · + ·
· + · + · + ·
+ + · ∑ ·
− − −
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
−
·
π
π
π
π
πε
πε
π
π
π
π
πε
πε
π
π
π
π
πε πε
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