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Unformatted text preview: 1 PHYS809 Class 5 Notes Conductors In a conductor, there are free charges that move in the presence of an electric field. A consequence is that in a purely electrostatic situation, the electric field inside a conductor must be zero. Since the electric field is zero inside the conductor, the electric potential is uniform throughout the conductor. Any charge on the conductor must reside on the surface of the conductor. If there are charge free cavities inside the conductor, then these cavities also have uniform potential equal to that of the conductor. This follows from the uniqueness of the solution to the Laplace equation with Dirichlet boundary conditions. Since a cavity has uniform potential the electric field inside the cavity is zero as it is inside the conductor. Since the field is zero in a cavity and conductor there can be no charges on the walls of a cavity. Any charges must lie on the outside of the conductor. Since the surface of the conductor is an equipotential, the components of electric field in the plane tangent to the conductor are...
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- Fall '11