Physics 2 (1)

Topics: Electric charge, Electromagnetism, Electrostatics Pages: 4 (1098 words) Published: February 18, 2014
The Electric Field inside a Conductor

The nuclei of the atoms of a conducting solid remain almost in their places in the crystal lattice, while the electrons relatively move a lot. In an insulator, the electrons are constrained to stay with their atoms (or molecules), and at most, the charge distribution is displaced slightly. The motion of the electrons due to the external electric field constitutes an electric current. Since the negatively charged electrons are moving to the left, the current, which is defined as the "flow" of positive charge, moves to the right.

Given that the positively charged nuclei do not move, why does the right end of the rod become positively charged? The reason is that some electrons have moved to the left end, leaving an excess of stationary nuclei at the right end.

An electric field that exists in an isolated conductor will cause a current flow. This flow sets up an electric field that opposes the original electric field, halting the motion of the charges on a nanosecond time scale for meter-sized conductors. For this reason, an isolated conductor will have no static electric field inside it, and will have a reduced electric field near it. This conclusion does not apply to a conductor whose ends are connected to an external circuit. In a circuit, a rod (or wire) can conduct current indefinitely. Charges and Electric Fields 

Another positive charge, if placed near the original charge, would experience a force directed radially away from the original charge.

The strength of the electric field due to one point charge depends solely on the distance away from the charge. Mathematically, we say the electric field is spherically symmetric.

The magnitude of the field decreases more quickly than the inverse of the distance from the charge. The magnitude of the electric field is proportional to the inverse of the distance squared (E∝1/r2, where r is the distance from the charge). You should verify this by looking at the field...
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