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Electric Field. Physics Mrs. Coyle. Analogy. The electric field is the space around an electrical charge just like a gravitational field is the space around a mass. Electric Field. Space around a charge. What is the difference?. Van de Graaff Generator.

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Electric field

Electric Field


Mrs. Coyle


The electric field is the space around an electrical charge

just like

a gravitational field is the space around a mass.

Electric field1
Electric Field

  • Space around a charge.

Van de graaff generator
Van de Graaff Generator

  • Builds up static electric charges.

Electric field vector e
Electric Field Vector, E

  • E = F/ qo

  • qo , positive test charge

  • E is a vector quantity

  • Unit: N/C

  • E is analogous to the gravitational field, g, where g=F/m

Example 1
Example 1

  • A charge of 3µC is used to test the electric field of a central charge of 6C that causes a force of 800N. What is the magnitude of the electric field?

  • Answer: 2.7 x108 N/C

Electric field2

Electric Field


Electric field lines1
Electric Field Lines

  • Lines that indicate the strength and direction of the electric field.

  • The more dense the lines, the stronger the field.

  • Electric field vectors are tangent to the curve.

  • Simulation


Conductors and electric fields under electrostatic conditions
Conductors and Electric Fields (under electrostatic conditions)

  • “The electric field is zero inside a charged conductor”.

  • “Excess charge on an isolated conductor resides on the surface”.

  • “Excess charge accumulates on sharp points”.

  • Electric field lines meet the conductor perpendicular to the surface of the conductor.


  • The electric field is zero inside a charged conductor.

Which field is stronger
Which field is stronger? steel bridge?

  • A B

Electric field for a point charge
Electric Field for a Point Charge steel bridge?

Using E=F/qo and Coulomb’s Law prove:

E = k Q



where Q is the central charge.

Example 2
Example 2 steel bridge?

  • A test charge of +3µC is located 5m to the east of a -4µC charge.

  • A) Find the electric force felt by the test charge.

  • B) Find the electric field at that location.

  • Answer: 4.32x10-3 N, 1.44 x 103 N/C along the –x axis.

Example 3
Example 3 steel bridge?

  • If a test charge is moved to a location three times as far as its original location, how does the electric field change?

Example 4
Example 4 steel bridge?

  • Calculate the electric field felt by a test charge located half way between a charge of +1C and a charge of -3C, that are 2m apart.

  • Answer: 1.8 x 1010 N/C