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PHYS 154: Chapter 16 Homework Problems

13, 25, 36
13) Three positive particles of equal charge, +11.0 C, are located at the corners of an equilateral triangle of
side 15.0 cm (see below). Calculate the magnitude and direction of the net force on each particle.
Using symmetry we realize that the magnitude of the force on each charge is going to be the same. The
only thing that is going to change is the direction of the force. I am going to look at the forces acting on
the top charge as shown above. The positive x-direction is to the right and the positive y-direction is
upwards. Since this is an equilateral triangle, each angle is 60

.
Magnitude of

F
13
: Broken into components:
F
13
=
1
4
0
Q
1
Q
3
d
2
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
F
13x
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
cos 60

, F
13y
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

Magnitude of

F
12
: Broken into components:
F
12
=
1
4
0
Q
1
Q
2
d
2
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
F
12x
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
cos 60

, F
12y
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

Components of

F
1
:
F
1x
= F
13x
+ F
12x
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
cos 60

+
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
cos 60

= 0
F
1y
= F
13y
+ F
12y
=
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

+
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

= 2
_
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

_
Magnitude of

F
1
:
F
1
=
_
F
2
1x
+ F
2
1y
=

(0)
2
+
_
2
_
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

__
2
= 2
_
1
4
0
Q
2
d
2
sin 60

_
F
1
= 2
_
_
9 10
9
Nm
2
C
2
_
_
11.0 10
6
C
_
2
(15.0 10
2
m)
2
_
= 83.8313 N = 83.8 N
The forces on each of the three charges will all have the same magnitude, but dierent directions:

F
1
= 83.8 N, along +y-axis

F
2
= 83.8 N, 30

below x-axis

F
3
= 83.8 N, 30

below +x-axis
1
25) A downward force of 8.4 N is exerted on a 8.8 C charge. What are the magnitude and direction of the
electric eld?
I chose up to be the positive y-direction, which means that the downward force is negative.

E =

F
q
=
8.4 N
8.8 C
= 9.54545 10
5
N/C, upward = 9.5 10
5
N/C, upward
36) Two point charges, Q
1
= 25 C and Q
2
= +50 C, are separated by a distance of 12 cm. The electric
eld at the point P (see below) is zero. How far from Q
1
is P?
The electric eld at point P due to Q
1
is pointing to the right (positive direction) and the electric
eld due to Q
2
is pointing to the left (negative direction).

E
P
=

E
1
+

E
2
= 0 E
P
= E
1
E
2
=
1
4
0
Q
1
x
2

1
4
0
Q
2
(x + 0.12 m)
2
= 0
1
4
0
Q
1
x
2
=
1
4
0
Q
2
(x + 0.12 m)
2

Q
1
x
2
=
Q
2
(x + 0.12 m)
2
Q
1
(x + 0.12 m)
2
= Q
2
x
2

Q
1
_
x
2
+ (0.24 m) x + 0.0144 m
2

= Q
2
x
2

_
25 10
6
C
_ _
x
2
+ (0.24 m) x + 0.0144 m
2

=
_
50 10
6
C
_
x
2
_
25 10
6
C
_ _
x
2
+ (0.24 m) x + 0.0144 m
2

25 10
6
C
=
_
50 10
6
C
_
x
2
25 10
6
C
x
2
+ (0.24 m) x + 0.0144 m
2
= 2x
2

x
2
(0.24 m) x 0.0144 m
2
= 0
Now we need to use the quadratic formula: Ax
2
+ Bx + c = 0 x =
B

B
2
4AC
2A
x
2
(0.24 m) x 0.0144 m
2
= 0 x =
(0.24 m)
_
(0.24 m)
2
4 (1) (0.0144 m
2
)
2 (1)
x = 0.289706 m = 0.29 m or x = 0.049706 m = 0.050 m
The answer cannot be negative, so x = 0.29 m .
2