Electrostatics


Objective

As a result of this lesson you will be able to

  • Define the nature of electric charge and its conservation
  • Use Coulomb's law to calculate the electric force between charges
  • Identify the difference between electric force and electric field
  • The steps required to calculate the electrif field due to a collection of charges
  • Create field lines and interpret electric fields
  • Calculate electric dipoles

Prerequisites

This topic expects you to have an understanding of the following in order to successfully learn all the material.

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Question

Guiding question

Introduction

Electrostatics is the beginning of learning about forces that involve electromagnetism. Electromagnetic interactions require an understanding of electric charges, which is just as fundamental as mass is. Much of modern physics will spawn from understanding charges and how they behave in electric and magnetic fields. This section is our first step toward understaning what happens between molecules at the subatomic level.
 

Connection

We have looked at forces such as gravity and those that we applied through mechanical or other means. Now we exam forces that are created by electromagnetim. This is a combination of electric and magnetic forces. We will first look at electric forces and then move on to understand magnetic forces and how they are both related to each other. We will treat this new electric force the same way we treat other forces in terms of superposition and many of the other concepts we have developed so far. Much of electrostatics will require a bit more rigor when it comes to mathematics but we will examine many of the simple geometries in order to take advantage of the symmetry it provies. Once we have a good grasp of electromagnetism we will also have a better understanding of light itself.
 

Role

Electrostatics help us to to understand chemistry, biology, and many other technological applications. The reason electrostatics is useful is because atoms are made of charged components themselves. They have protons, neutrons, and electrons inside of them.
 




Electric Charge, Conductors, Insulators

 
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Coulomb's Law

 
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Electric Field and Electric Forces

 
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Gauss's Law

 
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Electric Dipole

 
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Review Questions

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