• What Exactly is the Electric Field at the Surface of a Charged Conducting Sphere?

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    • Keywords


      Electric field, charged conductors, Gauss’s law, half-factor, charged sphere, electrostatics.

    • Abstract


      In the presently available literature, one finds distinct resultsfor the electric field at the surface of a charged conductingsphere. In most textbooks, only a simple model is presentedin which the electric field leaps from zero (inside the sphere)to a maximum value (just outside the sphere), as follows fromGauss’s law. For points exactly at the surface, the charge surroundedby the Gaussian surface becomes ambiguous, andthis law is inconclusive. In this paper, by treating the sphericalsurface as a series of rings, it is shown that that field evaluatesto half the discontinuity mentioned above, a result whichagrees with more elaborate microscopic models.

    • Author Affiliations


      F M S Lima1

      1. Institute of Physics, University of Brasilia, P.O.Box 04455, Brasilia, DF, 70919-970, Brazil
    • Dates

  • Resonance – Journal of Science Education | News

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