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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

Homework #03 (phy 112)


Due: 11:00pm on Friday, January 25, 2019
To understand how points are awarded, read the Grading Policy for this assignment.

Visualizing Electric Fields

Learning Goal:

To understand the nature of electric fields and how to draw field lines.

Electric field lines are a tool used to visualize electric fields. A field line is drawn beginning at a positive charge and ending at a
negative charge. Field lines may also appear from the edge of a picture or disappear at the edge of the picture. Such lines are
said to begin or end at infinity. The field lines are directed so that the electric field at any point is tangent to the field line at that
point.

shows two different ways to visualize an electric field. On the left,


vectors are drawn at various points to show the direction and
magnitude of the electric field. On the right, electric field lines depict
the same situation. Notice that, as stated above, the electric field lines
are drawn such that their tangents point in the same direction as the
electric field vectors on the left. Because of the nature of electric
fields, field lines never cross. Also, the vectors shrink as you move
away from the charge, and the electric field lines spread out as you
move away from the charge. The spacing between electric field lines
indicates the strength of the electric field, just as the length of vectors
indicates the strength of the electric field. The greater the spacing
between field lines, the weaker the electric field. Although the
advantage of field lines over field vectors may not be apparent in the
case of a single charge, electric field lines present a much less
cluttered and more intuitive picture of more complicated charge
arrangements.

Part A
Which of the following panels (labelled A, B, C, and D) in correctly
depicts the field lines from an infinite uniformly negatively charged
sheet? Note that the sheet is being viewed edge-on in all
pictures.

Hint 1. Description of the field


Recall that the field around an infinite charged sheet is always perpendicular to the sheet and that the field strength
does not change, regardless of distance from the sheet.

ANSWER:

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

Correct

Part B
In , what is wrong with panel B? (Pick only those statements that
apply to panel B.)
Check all that apply.

ANSWER:

Field lines cannot cross each other.

The field lines should be parallel because of the sheet's symmetry.

The field lines should spread apart as they leave the sheet to indicate the weakening of the field with distance.

The field lines should always end on negative charges or at infinity.

Correct

Part C
Which of the following panels (labelled A, B, C, and D) in shows the correct electric field lines for an electric dipole?

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

ANSWER:

Correct

Part D
In , what is wrong with panel D? (Pick only those statements that
apply to panel D.)
Check all that apply.

ANSWER:

Field lines cannot cross each other.

The field lines should turn sharply as you move from one charge to the other.

The field lines should be smooth curves.

The field lines should always end on negative charges or at infinity.

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

Correct

Even in relatively simple setups as in the figure shown,


electric field lines are quite helpful for understanding the field qualitatively (understanding the general direction in
which a certain charge will move from a specific position, identifying locations where the field is roughly zero or
where the field points a specific direction, etc.). A good figure with electric field lines can help you to organize your
thoughts as well as check your calculations to see whether they make sense.

Part E
In , the electric field lines are shown for a system of two point
charges, QA and QB . Which of the following could represent the
magnitudes and signs of QA and QB ?

In the following, take q to be a positive quantity.

ANSWER:

Q
A
= +q , QB = −q

Q
A
= +7q Q , B
= −3q

Q
A
= +3q Q , B
= −7q

Q
A
= −3q Q , B
= +7q

Q
A
= −7q Q , B
= +3q

Correct
Very far from the two charges, the system looks like a single charge with value QA + QB = +4q . At large
enough distances, the field lines will be indistinguishable from the field lines due to a single point charge +4q.

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

The Electric Field inside a Conductor

Learning Goal:
To understand how the charges within a conductor respond to an externally applied electric field.

To illustrate the behavior of charge inside conductors, consider a long conducting rod that is suspended by insulating strings (see
the figure). Assume that the rod is initially electrically neutral, and that it remains so for this discussion. The rod is positioned
along the x axis, and an external electric field that points in the positive x direction (to the right) can be applied to the rod and the
surrounding region. The atoms in the rod are composed of positive nuclei (indicated by plus signs) and negative electrons
(indicated by minus signs). Before application of the electric field, these atoms were distributed evenly throughout the rod.

Part A
What is the force felt by the electrons and the nuclei in the rod when the external field described in the problem introduction
is applied? (Ignore internal fields in the rod for the moment.)

Hint 1. Formula for the force on a charge in an electric field

The force F ⃗ on a charge q in an electric field E⃗ is given by

⃗  ⃗ 
F = qE .

ANSWER:

Both electrons and nuclei experience a force to the right.

The nuclei experience a force to the right and the electrons experience a force to the left.

The electrons experience a force to the left but the nuclei experience no force.

The electrons experience no force but the nuclei experience a force to the right.

Correct

Part B
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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)
What is the motion of the negative electrons and positive atomic nuclei caused by the external field?

Hint 1. How to approch this part

Newton's 2nd Law tells you that an object at rest will move in the direction of the force applied on it.

Hint 2. Masses and charges of nuclei and electrons


A nucleus contains as many protons as the atom does electrons. So if the atom has N electrons, the nucleus will
contain N protons. This means that the force on the nucleus will be N times as much as that on the electron. This N
is of the order of 10-100.
However, the mass of a nucleus is roughly 2N times the mass of a proton, since it contains both protons and
neutrons. Each proton itself weighs about 1836 times as much as an electron! So a typical nucleus really does weigh
a lot more than an electron.

Given this information, how would the distance moved by a nucleus compare with that moved by an electron?

ANSWER:

Both electrons and nuclei move to the right.

The nuclei move to the right and the electrons move to the left through equal distances.

The electrons move to the left and the nuclei are almost stationary.

The electrons are almost stationary and the nuclei move to the right.

Correct
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.

Part C
Imagine that the rightward current flows in the rod for a short time. As a result, what will the net charge on the right and left
ends of the rod become?

Hint 1. How to approach this part

Remember that the rod as a whole must remain electrically neutral even if the charges are redistributed. This is
because applying an electric field does not change the charge on the rod, only redistributes it.

ANSWER:

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

left end negative and right end positive

left end negative and right end negative

left end negative and right end nearly neutral

left end nearly neutral and right end positive

both ends nearly neutral

Correct
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.

Part D
The charge imbalance that results from this movement of charge will generate an additional electric field in the region within
the rod. In what direction will this field point?

Hint 1. Direction of the electric field


The electric field point away from positive charges and towards negative ones.

ANSWER:

It will point to the right and enhance the initial applied field.

It will point to the left and oppose the initial applied field.

Correct
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.

A message from your instructor...

Hint for part b: draw a picture with the three given charges (leave out the field lines that are shown in the provided figure) and
look at the electric field of each of the three given charges at three different locations: just to the right of the top charge, just to
the right of the middle charge, and just to the right of the bottom charge. At each location there are three different electric fields
(there are three sources charges). Having a diagram showing the individual electric fields should help you vizualize the result of
adding them together.

Problem 17.48

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

The figure shows some of the electric field lines due to three point charges arranged along the vertical
axis. All three charges have the same magnitude.

Part A
What are the signs of the three charges? Explain your reasoning.
Match the words in the left column to the appropriate blanks in the sentences on the right.

ANSWER:

Reset Help

negative Because field lines pass from positive charges and toward negative

positive charges, we can deduce that the top charge is positive , the middle

neutral charge is negative , and the bottom charge is positive .

Correct

Part B
At what point(s) is the magnitude of the electric field the smallest? Explain your reasoning.

Match the words in the left column to the appropriate blanks in the sentences on the right.
ANSWER:

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4/14/2019 Homework #03 (phy 112)

Reset Help

horizontal The electric field is the smallest on the horizontal line through the

vertical middle charge, at two positions on either side where the field lines are

diagonal least dense.

top

most

bottom

least

middle

Correct

Part C
Explain how the fields produced by each individual point charge combine to give a small net field at this point or points.

Match the words in the left column to the appropriate blanks in the sentences on the right.

ANSWER:

Reset Help

x
The y components of the field are cancelled between the positive charges
y
and the negative charge cancels the x component of the field from the two

positive charges.

Correct

Score Summary:
Your score on this assignment is 100%.
You received 14 out of a possible total of 14 points.

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