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Gausss Law

E ds
S

The total outward flux of the E-field over any closed surface
in free space is equal to the total charge enclosed in the surface
divided by 0.
Gausss law is useful in determining E-field of charge
Distributions with symmetry conditions, for the normal component
Of the electric field intensity is constant over an enclosed surface.
This closed surface is called a Gaussian surface.

Gausss law

Definition of Gausss law


The electric field from a straight charged wire
The electric field from a charged plate
The electric field from a charged sphere

Electric Potential

Electric potential from a distribution of charges


Sketching electric field lines
Conductors in an electrostatic field.

Electric field from a charged wire


z
r
L

Cylindrical
Gaussian
surface
x

Infinitely long wire, with a


charge density l C/m.

The upper and lower surfaces of the cylinder do not possess


an electric field component in the z direction.
The integration of the electric field, E, over the surface of the
cylinder:

E ds 2rLE

The total charge within the cylinder = lL


Therefore

l L
2LEr
0

Er

1
2r 0

Electric field from a charged plate


z
Surface area, A
y
az
-az
Charged plate of
surface charge
Density s C/m2

The Gaussian surface in this problem is a rectangular box with top


and bottom faces of area A m2.
For the upper surface of the box,

E ds az Ez az ds Ez ds

For the lower surface of the box,


, E ds a E a ds

Ez ds

There is no electric field contribution from the sides of the box:

E ds 2E ds 2E A
z

The charge contained within the box is Q=sA, therefore


2EzA=(sA/0)
Ez= s/20

The electric field from a charged sphere


z
Radius of sphere = b m

The volume charge density within


Sphere is -V C/m3

Calculate the electric field inside and outside a


charged sphere, of radius b m, and has a volume
charge density of -v C/m3.
Using basic formulas in order to calculate the surface area
and volume of a sphere:

a) In order to calculate the electric field within a sphere,we


can imagine that the sphere consists of a series of
concentric spheres of radius R, and R<b.

E aR ER
2
E

ds

E
4

R
R

The total charge within the sphere, Q=-V(4/3)R3


Therefore

E aR

0
R
3 0

b) Outside the sphere, R>b,


Q=-V(4/3)b3

0b 3
E aR
3 0 R 2

The electric field intensity outside the charged sphere is


inversely proportional to R 2, which is similar to the
relationship for a charged point.

Electric potential (V)


E

F=qE

q
F.dl

dl

E
b

Contour line c1
Contour line c2

The work required to move a charge q through an electric field


E, from point a to point b, through a contour line c1, is:
b

Wba F cos dl F dl q E dl
The negatives sign implies that work needs to be done in
order to move the charge agains the electric field, and this
force is provided by some charge distribution in the vicinity.
Consider a closed contour loop, from a to b via c1,
and then from b to a via c2, the total work done is zero:

Wba c1 Wab c 2 0
b

q E dl q E dl 0

E dl 0

Therefore c
, which is known as
The conservative property of the electrostatic field.
From Stokes theorem,

E dl E ds 0
c

Therefore E=0.
E= -V, where V is a scalar quantity, and is called the
electrostatic potential function.
Therefore, if we integrate the electric field along the contour
line,
b

E dl V dl V (b) V (a)
V(b) are V(a) are the potential values at b and a, i.e the
voltage values at b and a. We also obtain:
b
Wba
E dl V (b) V (a)
a
q

Therefore, the voltage difference between two points is the


work per unit charge required to move a charge from a to b.

Electric Potential
due to a line charge
The absolute potential at a point is:

Vb E dl

Consider the voltage between two points, at distances Ra


and Rb from a point charge. A point charge can be described
by a spherical coordinate system, in which case the
differential length, dl:
dl = dr ar + r d a + r sin d a
Therefore,

E dl
a

dl

dr
2 r
2
4

r
4

r
0
0

And

Q 1
1

Vab E dl
a
4 0 Rb Ra
b

Electric potential due to a surface charge

da

Vab E dl
db

da

xdb

s
a x a x dx
2 0

s
d b d a

2 0
Vba

Electric potential due to a point charge


V

q
4 0 r

Electric potential due to a group of point


charges
The potential at any point due to a group of point charges
is found by calculating the potential Vn as if the other
charges were not present, and then adding the
quantities obtained.:

V Vn
n

qn

4 0 n rn
1

Where qn is the value of the nth charge and rn is the


distance of this charge from the point in question.
The sum used to calculate V is an algebraic sum and
not a vector sum like the one used to calculate E for a
group of point charges.
If the charge distribution is continuous, rather than being
a discrete collection of points, the summation must be
replaced by an integral:

V dV

dq
4 0 r

Electric Potential due to a collection of


charges
q1

q2

q3

q3

What is the potential at P if a=1 m, q1=+1.0x10-8C,


q2=-2.0x10-8C, q3=+3.0x10-8C, q4=+2.0x10-8C.
V Vn
n

q1 q2 q3 q4
4 0
r
1

(9.0 109 Nm 2 / C 2 )(1.0 2.0 3.0 2.0) 10 8 C

0.71m
500V

The electric potential for a charged disk


(r2+y2)1/2
y

dy
Surface charge density, s C/m2

The total charge within the shaded element is


dq=s(2y)(dy)
The contribution from this element towards the electric potential at
P is given by

dV

dq
1 s 2ydy

4 0 r ' 4 0 y 2 r 2
1

The potential V is then obtained by integrating over all the circular


elements:
1

2
s
2
2
y r dy
V dV
2 0 0

a2 r 2 r
2 0
a

If r>>a, the quantity (r2+a2)1/2 can be approximated as

a2
2
2
a r r 1 2
r

1 a2

a2
r 1
... r
2
2r
2r

Therefore V becomes

sa 2
s a2
1 q
r r
V

2 0
2r
4 0 r 4 0 r

Electric potential due to a volume charge


The voltage between the inner and outer spheres of
a spherical capacitor is:
a

Vab E dl
b

r b

Q
4 0 r

ar ar dr

Q 1 1

4 0 a b

Electric potential due to an electric


dipole z
P

r1
+q

r
r2

a
-q

The potential at P is:

V Vn V1 V2
n

1 q q
q r2 r1

4 0 r1 r2 4 0 r1r2

If r>>2a,
r2-r12a cos and r1r2r2
And the potential reduces to

2a cos
1 p cos
V

2
4 0
r
4 0 r 2
q

Where p=2aq, and is called the dipole moment

Equipotential lines for an electric dipole

In order to obtain a sketch of equipotential lines for an


electric dipole, the value for V must be kept constant.
Hence the equation for an equipotential surface is
r=cv(cos)1/2
By plotting r against for different values of cv we can
drww the solid equipotential lines.