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Physics LibreTexts

1: Electrostatic Fields

  • Page ID
    • 1.1: Charges and Static Electric Forces
      The electric force is the fundamental force behind nearly every macroscopic force we studied in classical mechanics.
    • 1.2: Electric Field
      Originally intended as merely an "explanation" of action-at-a-distance, the idea of an electric field turns out to be a much more useful model than one might expect.
    • 1.3: Computing Electric Fields for Known Charge Distributions
      When we encounter electric charges in the real world, they appear in very great numbers. This allows us to treat them as approximately a continuous distribution, making integral calculus a powerful tool for field calculation.
    • 1.4: Dipoles
      Particles we encounter (such as atoms and molecules) rarely are electrically charged, as they tend to attract and bond with other particles that are oppositely-charged. But these neutrally-charged particles are still affected by electric fields, thanks to their component charges being ever-so-slightly separated.
    • 1.5: Conductors
      It is useful to model materials as one of two types: Those that allow charges to flow freely through them, and those that do not. Here we will examine properties of the former.
    • 1.6: Gauss's Law
      The only link we have seen between charge and electric field is Coulomb's law, coupled with the principle of superposition. It turns out that these two quantities have a much deeper relationship, which can be exploited to solve problems in a manner easier than what we have seen so far.
    • 1.7: Using Gauss's Law
      Gauss's law has a number of practical uses, such as computing electric fields for highly-symmetric situations, and dealing with conducting shells.
    • 1.8: Method of Images
      We develop a trick that allows us to discuss forces and fields that result from bringing free charges near flat plane conductors.

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