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Example 1

How much work will be done in bringing a charge of 5.0 millicoulombs from infinity to a point P at which the potential is 12 V? Solution. The work done is W=QV=(5 0x103C)x(12V)=60x103J=0 06J.

Example 2
A particle with a charge of 1.5 coulombs is taken from a point at a potential of 50 V to another point at a potential of 120 V. Calculate the work done. Solution. We have W=Q(VBVA) = (1.5 C) x (120 V - 50 V) = (1.5 x 70) J = 105 J.

Example 3
Calculate the current in a wire if 900 C of charge passes through it in 10 minutes. Solution. We have itQ=900C12


Example 4
How much current will flow through a resistor of resistance 12 Solution. From Ohm's law, i=RV=12 18V=1 5A if a battery of 18 V is connected across it?

Electrostatic force between 2 charges - solved problem in physics

A point charge Q1 = +5.0 x 10-7 C. What is the magnitude and direction of the electrostatic force on each of them? The charges are situated in dry air. Solution. This the simplest possible problem. We only need to substitute given values into theCoulomb law.

For dry air k = 8.99x109 Nm2/C2. After substituting numbers

F= -53940.0 x 10-4 N = -5.39 N. The magnitude of the force is the same on both charges. It is in accordance with Newtons third law of motion. The force between charges of different signs attracts these charges, therefore the force on Q1 is directed towards Q2 and vice versa. The minus sign - of the force means attracting force. Such is the convention adopted in some textbooks on physics. This will find justification after you have learned about work in an electric field, but this will be considered later in this physics tutorial.

Finding the distance from electrostatic force

What must be the distance r between two point charges Q1=7.0x10-6 C and Q2=5.0x105 C for the electrostatic force (in the air) between them to have magnitude3.0 N? Solution. From the Coulomb law

(1) Taking the k = 8.99x109 Nm2/C2, and substituting values given in the problem, we get F= 1.01 N.

Three electric charges in equilibrium

Three charged particles lie on a straight line as in Fig.1.The charges on the particles are Q1=5.0x10-6, Q2= 3.0x10-6 C, and they are of the same type (sign). The distancer13 between particle 1 and 3 is 20.0cm. The positions of particles 1 and 3 are kept fixed. What must be the distance r12 between particles 1 and 2 for the net electrostatic force on 2 to be zero?

Convention adopted for denoting forces is: Fab force exerted on charge (particle) a by charge b. To fulfill conditions required in the problem there must be F21 = F23 (1) From the upper part of Fig.1 we see that r12 + r23 = r13 (2) rd From the 3 Newton law F12 = F23 (3) F21 = F32 (4) To solve the problem we need only Equations (1) and (2). Applying the Coulomb law to equation (1) we have

(1a) After a little algebra equation (1a) becomes (1b) From (2)

r23 = r13 - r12 (2a) Substituting (2a) into (1b) and sorting with respect to r12, which is our unknown, we get (5) This is a standard quadratic equation of the type x2a + xb + c = 0 To simplify notation we substitute into (5) values given for charges and for the r13distance. This leads to the equation (5a) Solving this equation we get two values for r12 distance 0.1225 m and 0.5442 m. The solution correct from the physics point of view is the first one. The second would put the charge Q2 to the right of charge Q3. In such a situation the electrostatic forces resulting from interaction with Q1 and Q2 would be acting in one direction (to the right) and the net force could never be equal to zero, as are the conditions stated in the problem. We leave to the reader to check the dimensions of the solution (meters).

Problem 5 - electric charge and gravity

Two small charged balls of identical mass m and identical charge Q hang on nonconducting threads of length L. What is the distance d between the balls in equilibrium Fig. 1. Assume that is so small that for expressed in radians sin tan.

Solution. Forces acting on both charged balls are symmetrical. We analyze the forces on one of the balls. The gravity force of magnitude mg directed downwards can be decomposed into forces F3 and F2. The F3 force is compensated by the tension in the thread (third Newtons law). For balls to be in equilibrium the component F2 must be equal to the electrostatic force (Coulombs law) F1. From the figure we see that

(1) from this F2 = m g d / (2L) From Coulombs law (1a)

(2) In equilibrium F2 = F 1 that is

From this equation

so finally

If you would like to make any numerical calculations, remember that in Coulombs law k = 8.99x109 Nm2/C2. Notice. Solving this problem without the assumption sin tan requires more complicated algebra and trigonometry, but the philosophy is the same the electrostatic repulsive force must compensate the horizontal component of the force of gravity.

Problem 6 - Four charges in equilibrium

On the figure below two situations are depicted. All electrostatic charges have an absolute value of Q. The blue color denotes a negative charge, red positive. If the three outer charges are fixed, the one in the center is in equilibrium there is no net electrostatic force acting on it. This is true for the situations on the left and right hand side of the figure. But there is a significant difference between the types of equilibrium in both cases. Explain this difference.

Answer: In both cases, the left and right one, when the central charge is exactly at equal distance r from the outer charges, the electrostatic force exerted on the central charge by the lower charge is F1 = k Q2 / r2 (1) The vertical component of force exerted on the central charge by each of the upper charges is F2 = k (Q2 / r2) cos60o = F1/2 The horizontal components of force exerted on the central charge by the upper charges have equal magnitude and opposite direction, so the net horizontal force is zero. The net electrostatic force acting on the central charge is zero charge is in equilibrium in both the left and right case. Now we analyze what would happen if the central charge was displaced a little from this equilibrium position. Situation on the left hand side of the figure. All electrostatic forces between central charge and outer charges are repulsive. Any attempt to move the central charge closer to any of outer charges will increase the force exerted by this particular outer charge and decrease the force exerted by two other outer charges. The net electrostatic force will push the central charge back to the equilibrium position. This is a case of a stable equilibrium. Situation on the right hand side of the figure. All electrostatic forces between central charge and outer charges are attractive. Any attempt to move the central charge closer to any of outer charges will increase the force exerted by this particular outer charge and decrease the force exerted by two other outer charges. The net electrostatic force will now pull the central charge in the direction of this particular outer charge which is a little closes then other charges. This in turn will results in a further increase of this force and finally the central charge will collapse into the outer one. This is a case of an unstable equilibrium.

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Problem 7 - maximum electrostatic repulsion

A charge Q is divided into two parts Q1 and Q2 = Q - Q1. At which value of Q1 will the electrostatic repulsion force between these two charges be the greatest, at a constant distance between them? Solution. The electrostatic force between these charges will be repulsive (the same sign of charges) and will be F = k (Q1Q2) / r2 (1) Substituting Q2 = Q Q1 F = k [Q1(Q Q1)] / r2 or F = (kQ1Q kQ12) / r2 To find the maximum of these force as a function of Q1 we must find the derivative ofF with respect to Q1. Elementary calculus is required and we get dF/dQ1 = Q 2Q1 The maximum occurs when this derivative is equal to zero from which Q1 = Q/2. The maximum repulsion will occur if we divide the given charge into two equal parts.