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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Calculate the total force (magnitude and direction) exerted on a test charge from more than one charge.
  • Describe an electric field diagram of a positive point charge and of a negative point charge with twice the magnitude of the positive charge.
  • Draw the electric field lines between two points of the same charge and between two points of opposite charge.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 2.C.1.2 The student is able to calculate any one of the variables – electric force, electric charge, and electric field – at a point given the values and sign or direction of the other two quantities.
  • 2.C.2.1 The student is able to qualitatively and semiquantitatively apply the vector relationship between the electric field and the net electric charge creating that field.
  • 2.C.4.1 The student is able to distinguish the characteristics that differ between monopole fields (gravitational field of spherical mass and electrical field due to single point charge) and dipole fields (electric dipole field and magnetic field) and make claims about the spatial behavior of the fields using qualitative or semiquantitative arguments based on vector addition of fields due to each point source, including identifying the locations and signs of sources from a vector diagram of the field. (S.P. 2.2, 6.4, 7.2)
  • 2.C.4.2 The student is able to apply mathematical routines to determine the magnitude and direction of the electric field at specified points in the vicinity of a small set (2-4) of point charges, and express the results in terms of magnitude and direction of the field in a visual representation by drawing field vectors of appropriate length and direction at the specified points. (S.P. 1.4, 2.2)
  • 3.C.2.3 The student is able to use mathematics to describe the electric force that results from the interaction of several separated point charges (generally 2-4 point charges, though more are permitted in situations of high symmetry). (S.P. 2.2)

Drawings using lines to represent electric fields around charged objects are very useful in visualizing field strength and direction. Since the electric field has both magnitude and direction, it is a vector. Like all vectors , the electric field can be represented by an arrow that has length proportional to its magnitude and that points in the correct direction. (We have used arrows extensively to represent force vectors, for example.)

[link] shows two pictorial representations of the same electric field created by a positive point charge Q size 12{Q} {} . [link] (b) shows the standard representation using continuous lines. [link] (b) shows numerous individual arrows with each arrow representing the force on a test charge q size 12{q} {} . Field lines are essentially a map of infinitesimal force vectors.

In part a, electric field lines emanating from the charge Q are shown by the vector arrows pointing outward in every direction of two dimensional space. In part b, electric field lines emanating from the charge Q are shown by the vector arrows pointing outward in every direction of two dimensional space.
Two equivalent representations of the electric field due to a positive charge Q size 12{Q} {} . (a) Arrows representing the electric field's magnitude and direction. (b) In the standard representation, the arrows are replaced by continuous field lines having the same direction at any point as the electric field. The closeness of the lines is directly related to the strength of the electric field. A test charge placed anywhere will feel a force in the direction of the field line; this force will have a strength proportional to the density of the lines (being greater near the charge, for example).

Questions & Answers

what is angular velocity
Obaapa Reply
Why does earth exert only a tiny downward pull?
Mya Reply
Why is light bright?
Abraham Reply
what is radioactive element
Attah Reply
an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
Aisha Reply
thanks so much. i undersooth well
Valdes Reply
what is physics
Nwafor Reply
is the study of matter in relation to energy
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
Obrian Reply
what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
what do we call velocity
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
what about the wind vane
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
What was the previous far point of a patient who had laser correction that reduced the power of her eye by 7.00 D, producing a normal distant vision power of 50.0 D for her?
Jaydie Reply
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
A young woman with normal distant vision has a 10.0% ability to accommodate (that is, increase) the power of her eyes. What is the closest object she can see clearly?
29/20 ? maybes
In what ways does physics affect the society both positively or negatively
Princewill Reply
how can I read physics...am finding it difficult to understand...pls help
rerry Reply
try to read several books on phy don't just rely one. some authors explain better than other.
And don't forget to check out YouTube videos on the subject. Videos offer a different visual way to learn easier.
hope that helps
Practice Key Terms 4

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