Electric Field and Charge

  • divergence charge density Maxwell's equations electric field
    • assignment Gravitational Field and Mass

      assignment Homework

      Gravitational Field and Mass
      Static Fields 2023 (5 years)

      The gravitational field due to a spherical shell of matter (or equivalently, the electric field due to a spherical shell of charge) is given by: \begin{equation} \vec g = \begin{cases} 0&\textrm{for } r<a\\ -G \,\frac{M}{b^3-a^3}\, \left( r-\frac{a^3}{r^2}\right)\, \hat r & \textrm{for } a<r<b\\ -G\,\frac{M}{r^2}\, \hat r & \textrm{for } r>b \\ \end{cases} \end{equation}

      This problem explores the consequences of the divergence theorem for this shell.

      1. Using the given description of the gravitational field, find the divergence of the gravitational field everywhere in space. You will need to divide this question up into three parts: \(r<a\), \(a<r<b\), and \(r>b\).
      2. Briefly discuss the physical meaning of the divergence in this particular example.
      3. For this gravitational field, verify the divergence theorem on a sphere, concentric with the shell, with radius \(Q\), where \(a<Q<b\). ("Verify" the divergence theorem means calculate the integrals from both sides of the divergence theorem and show that they give the same answer.)
      4. Briefly discuss how this example would change if you were discussing the electric field of a uniformly charged spherical shell.

    • group Total Charge

      group Small Group Activity

      30 min.

      Total Charge
      Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      charge charge density multiple integral scalar field coordinate systems differential elements curvilinear coordinates

      Integration Sequence

      In this small group activity, students integrate over non-uniform charge densities in cylindrical and spherical coordinates to calculate total charge.
    • keyboard Electrostatic potential of spherical shell

      keyboard Computational Activity

      120 min.

      Electrostatic potential of spherical shell
      Computational Physics Lab II 2022

      electrostatic potential spherical coordinates

      Students solve numerically for the potential due to a spherical shell of charge. Although this potential is straightforward to compute using Gauss's Law, it serves as a nice example for numerically integrating in spherical coordinates because the correct answer is easy to recognize.
    • assignment Spherical Shell Step Functions

      assignment Homework

      Spherical Shell Step Functions
      step function charge density Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      One way to write volume charge densities without using piecewise functions is to use step \((\Theta)\) or \(\delta\) functions. If you need to review this, see the following link in the math-physics book: https://paradigms.oregonstate.eduhttps://books.physics.oregonstate.edu/GMM/step.html

      Consider a spherical shell with charge density \(\rho (\vec{r})=\alpha3e^{(k r)^3}\) between the inner radius \(a\) and the outer radius \(b\). The charge density is zero everywhere else. Use step functions to write this charge density as a single function valid everywhere in space.

    • assignment Total Charge

      assignment Homework

      Total Charge
      charge density curvilinear coordinates

      Integration Sequence

      Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      For each case below, find the total charge.

      1. A positively charged (dielectric) spherical shell of inner radius \(a\) and outer radius \(b\) with a spherically symmetric internal charge density \begin{equation} \rho(\vec{r})=3\alpha\, e^{(kr)^3} \end{equation}
      2. A positively charged (dielectric) cylindrical shell of inner radius \(a\) and outer radius \(b\) with a cylindrically symmetric internal charge density \begin{equation} \rho(\vec{r})=\alpha\, \frac{1}{s}\, e^{ks} \end{equation}

    • assignment Differential Form of Gauss's Law

      assignment Homework

      Differential Form of Gauss's Law
      Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      For an infinitesimally thin cylindrical shell of radius \(b\) with uniform surface charge density \(\sigma\), the electric field is zero for \(s<b\) and \(\vec{E}= \frac{\sigma b}{\epsilon_0 s}\, \hat s\) for \(s > b\). Use the differential form of Gauss' Law to find the charge density everywhere in space.

    • group Equipotential Surfaces

      group Small Group Activity

      120 min.

      Equipotential Surfaces

      E&M Quadrupole Scalar Fields

      Students are prompted to consider the scalar superposition of the electric potential due to multiple point charges. First a single point charge is discussed, then four positive charges, then an electric quadrupole. Students draw the equipotential curves in the plane of the charges, while also considering the 3D nature of equipotentials.
    • group Visualization of Divergence

      group Small Group Activity

      30 min.

      Visualization of Divergence
      Vector Calculus II 23 (9 years) Students predict from graphs of simple 2-d vector fields whether the divergence is positive, negative, or zero in various regions of the domain using the definition of the divergence of a vector field at a point: The divergence of a vector field at a point is flux per unit volume through an infinitesimal box surrounding that point. Optionally, students can use a Mathematica notebook to verify their predictions.
    • assignment Divergence through a Prism

      assignment Homework

      Divergence through a Prism
      Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      Consider the vector field \(\vec F=(x+2)\hat{x} +(z+2)\hat{z}\).

      1. Calculate the divergence of \(\vec F\).
      2. In which direction does the vector field \(\vec F\) point on the plane \(z=x\)? What is the value of \(\vec F\cdot \hat n\) on this plane where \(\hat n\) is the unit normal to the plane?
      3. Verify the divergence theorem for this vector field where the volume involved is drawn below. (“Verify” means calculate both sides of the divergence theorem, separately, for this example and show that they are the same.)

    • assignment Divergence

      assignment Homework

      Static Fields 2023 (6 years)

      Shown above is a two-dimensional vector field.

      Determine whether the divergence at point A and at point C is positive, negative, or zero.

  • Static Fields 2023 (4 years) Consider the electric field \begin{equation} \vec E(r,\theta,\phi) = \begin{cases} 0&\textrm{for } r<a\\ \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0} \,\frac{Q}{b^3-a^3}\, \left( r-\frac{a^3}{r^2}\right)\, \hat r & \textrm{for } a<r<b\\ 0 & \textrm{for } r>b \\ \end{cases} \end{equation}
    1. Use step and/or delta functions to write this electric field as a single expression valid everywhere in space.
    2. Find a formula for the charge density that creates this electric field.
    3. Interpret your formula for the charge density, i.e. explain briefly in words where the charge is.