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AP Physics 2 Learning Objectives: Electrostatics

Part 1 Basic Concepts & Coulombs Law (Essentials 5.01-5.28)

Answer conceptual questions concerning the two fundamental origins for electric charge,
and the discrete nature of electric charge (e=1.6x10 -19C)
Compare and contrast electric charge conductors and insulators on the basis of (1)
behavior and (2) underlying molecular structure. Be able to identify common materials as
likely conductors or insulators.
Use the rules of attraction / repulsion to predict the behavior of charged objects and
neutral objects in the presence of charged objects (induction, polarization, etc.).

Answer conceptual questions concerning conduction by friction, conduction and induction.

Apply the Conservation of Charge to answer conceptual questions and justify your
Discuss contact forces ( tension, friction, normal, buoyant, surface) as arising from
intermolecular electric forces.
Explain the cause of shielding of electric forces as a justification for macro-scale
interactions (or lack thereof).
Compare and contrast Coulombs Law (F = kq 1q2/r2) with Newtons Law of Universal
Gravitation.
Use Coulombs law to calculate electric force, charge magnitude or separation distance
Solve simple 2D problems involving Coulombs Law.

Part 2 Electric Fields & Potentials (Essentials 5.29-5.61)

Understand that an electric (or electric force) field is a 1D, 2D or 3D mapping of the
electric force felt by any charged object at each point in that space.
Calculate the strength of an electric field due to a point charge (E = kq/r 2)
Be able to explain why both N/C and V/m are acceptable units for reporting electric field
strength.
Draw 2D electric field lines around a single charged object or system of charged objects
(using the field-line rules).
Use F = qE (in vector form) to calculate electric force, charge magnitude or electric field
Describe the behavior of a charged particle within a uniform electric field.
Explain the effect of an electric field on free charges in a conductor.
Explain why no electric field may exist inside a conductor.
Describe (compare and contrast) electric force, electric field, electric potential, and electric
potential energy.
Contrast the defining equations for electric force, electric field, electric potential, and
electric potential energy.
Apply the Law of Conservation of Energy to situations involving electric potential energy.
Compare an electron volt (eV) to a joule and explain where the unit gets its name.
Contrast equipotential lines, electric field lines and paths taken by charged particles
through an electric field.
Be able to sketch diagrams and read diagrams with (1) contrast equipotential lines, (2)
electric field lines and (3) paths taken by charged particles through an electric field.
Calculate electric potential, electric potential energy, charge or separation distance. (V =
kq/r, U = kq1q2/r)
Calculate electric field strength, electric potential difference, or distance. (E = V/r)
Calculate and justify the electric potential and electric field strength inside of a conductor.

Part 3 Parallel Plate Capacitors (Essentials 5.62-5.76)

Describe the operation of a capacitor and define capacitance.
Explain parallel plate capacitors and calculate their capacitances (C = koA/d).
Discuss the process of increasing the capacitance of a capacitor with a dielectric.
Determine capacitance given charge and voltage (C = Q / V).
Derive expressions for total capacitance in series and in parallel (use the geometric
expression for capacitance).
Calculate stored energy, electric potential difference, or capacitance. (U = C(V)2 )