[LECS/EM-02001] Coulomb's Law and Electric Field

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The Coulomb's law gives the force between two point charges. It can be reformulated as giving electric field of a point charge which in turn gives rise to force on a nearby point charge.The electric field of a point charge is generalized to system with continuous charge distributions. Expression for the electric field of  line surface and volume charge distiibutions are given. The examples of computation of electric field of (a) Line charge, (b) Uniformly charged loop,  (c) Thin Spherical Shell and (d)  Dipole are discussed.

Coulomb’s Law and Electric Field

Coulomb’s law is stated for electric field of a point particle. For several point charges the field is obtained as a vector sum of the fields of individual charges

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Line, Surface and Volume Charge Distributions

Continuous charge distributions spread over a line, or a surface, or volume, are introduced. The electric field due to a continuous charge distribution is obtained by dividing the charge distributions into infinitesimal elements, and summing over electric fields due to the small elements. The computation can often be simplified by making use of symmetries of the problem.

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Electric Field due to Continuous Charge Distributions

Examples of computation of electric field for

  • Line charge
  • Uniformly charged loop
  • Thin Spherical Shell
  • Dipole

are presented.

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