chp33EfieldsPotentials - The Electric Field Coulombs Law...

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The Electric Field Coulomb’s Law describes a force between two charged objects. There’s another way to view the situation: 1. A charge (call it the ” source charge ”) in space creates a force field called the Elec- tric Field . 2. A second charge (call it the ” test charge ”) will feel a force due to this field . Is this field real? Did the source charge change something about the space around it ? What is the test charge seeing? The source charge or the field? 1
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The Electric Field (continued) The source charge ( q s ) causes an Electric Field. The test charge ( q t ) feels the electric force ( F el ) due to this Electric Field: F el = k q s q t r 2 The strength of the Electric field is defined as: the Force felt by the test charge divided by the test charge: E = F el q t = k q s r 2 1. How does the strength of the Electric field depend on the source charge? 2. How does the strength of the Electric field depend on the test charge? 3. How does the strength of the Electric field depend on distance from the source charge? 4. Is the Electric Field a vector? 2
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Electric Field Lines The Electric Field is a vector: 1. Its direction at a point is the same as that of the electric force felt by a positive test charge at that point. 2. Its magnitude or strength varies directly with the source charge and inversely with the square of the distance from the source charge.
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