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To see how and why this happens, consider the charged conductor in [link] . The electrostatic repulsion of like charges is most effective in moving them apart on the flattest surface, and so they become least concentrated there. This is because the forces between identical pairs of charges at either end of the conductor are identical, but the components of the forces parallel to the surfaces are different. The component parallel to the surface is greatest on the flattest surface and, hence, more effective in moving the charge.

The same effect is produced on a conductor by an externally applied electric field, as seen in [link] (c). Since the field lines must be perpendicular to the surface, more of them are concentrated on the most curved parts.

In part a, a conductor is shown with the unsymmetrical shape. The identical pair of charges at opposite ends on the conductor have similar components of forces represented by arrows. In part b, the unsymmetrical object has positive charge on its surface. The electric field lines are shown emerging perpendicular from the surface of the conductor represented by vector arrow. In part c, the field lines in and around the conductor running from left to right is shown. The left surface of the conductor has negative charge and the right surface has positive charge. The field lines enter and leave the conductor at right angles.
Excess charge on a nonuniform conductor becomes most concentrated at the location of greatest curvature. (a) The forces between identical pairs of charges at either end of the conductor are identical, but the components of the forces parallel to the surface are different. It is F size 12{F rSub { size 8{ \rdline } } } {} that moves the charges apart once they have reached the surface. (b) F size 12{F rSub { size 8{ \rdline } } } {} is smallest at the more pointed end, the charges are left closer together, producing the electric field shown. (c) An uncharged conductor in an originally uniform electric field is polarized, with the most concentrated charge at its most pointed end.

Applications of conductors

On a very sharply curved surface, such as shown in [link] , the charges are so concentrated at the point that the resulting electric field can be great enough to remove them from the surface. This can be useful.

Lightning rods work best when they are most pointed. The large charges created in storm clouds induce an opposite charge on a building that can result in a lightning bolt hitting the building. The induced charge is bled away continually by a lightning rod, preventing the more dramatic lightning strike.

Of course, we sometimes wish to prevent the transfer of charge rather than to facilitate it. In that case, the conductor should be very smooth and have as large a radius of curvature as possible. (See [link] .) Smooth surfaces are used on high-voltage transmission lines, for example, to avoid leakage of charge into the air.

Another device that makes use of some of these principles is a Faraday cage    . This is a metal shield that encloses a volume. All electrical charges will reside on the outside surface of this shield, and there will be no electrical field inside. A Faraday cage is used to prohibit stray electrical fields in the environment from interfering with sensitive measurements, such as the electrical signals inside a nerve cell.

During electrical storms if you are driving a car, it is best to stay inside the car as its metal body acts as a Faraday cage with zero electrical field inside. If in the vicinity of a lightning strike, its effect is felt on the outside of the car and the inside is unaffected, provided you remain totally inside. This is also true if an active (“hot”) electrical wire was broken (in a storm or an accident) and fell on your car.

Questions & Answers

what is wave
Mubarak Reply
the crust and trough form of something is called wave
If an object has no acceleration in an inertial reference frame, can you conclude that no forces are acting on it?
Von Reply
No unbalanced forces
Sorry, no unbalanced net force
the force acting on the object is 0N
someone should ask questions
what is the instrument used to measure earthquake
seismograph or seismometer
it is used to measure the magnitude of earthquake
another question
who invented the Faraday cage and in which year was it invented
What are the two major system units in the world
Jizel Reply
What is physical quantities
they are physical properties that can be measured or calculated
Do you mean the SI system and Imperial system? SI is used by scientists the world over (with notable exception being the USA)
Who is the father of physics
Gabriel Reply
Newton.Geliliyo and Einstein is called father of physics
Ancient - Archimedes Classical Physics - Newton Modern Physics - Einstein But each of these has built on the work of predecessors. No single personality defines physics.
Galileo Galilie must be. He was the creator of the scientific method
Galileo was no doubt inspirational, but the scientific method has existed for millennia. What Galileo did was prove the superiority of experimentation to just thinking (Aristotle's way). Again all noteworthy scientists
Newton galileo and Einstein
what is wave
Charity Reply
a wave is a distirbance that transmits energy from one place ro another within or without a medium
wave is the transfer of energy from one medium to another without the transfer of particles
wave is a disturbance which transfer energy from one medium to another without causing any permanent displacement by itself
wave is a disturbance or oscillation that travel through space and matter,accompanied by a transfer of energy
A wave is any disturbances in an elastic medium which carries energy from one point to another through a medium
what is harmonic motion
is a restoring force
a wave is a disturbance and there are trasfer energy from one medium to another and travel through any space without the trasfer of particles.
a wave is a disturbance that travels or carries energy from one point to another through a medium
A moving disturbance in the level of a body water, undulation
what is thermodynamics
Williams Reply
what is thermodynamics
thermodynamics is a heat and energy significant physics
Relating to the conversation of heat into other forms of energy
It's the science of conversion between heat and other forms of energy
Are the antimatters of Hadrons also Hadrons?!Does the same rule apply to Leptons?
Daniel Reply
yes. Hadrons are the elementary particles that take part in stong, electromagnetic and weak interactions. Infact only Hadrons are involved in Strong interactions and when an anti-particle of any hadron is produced, it would be a hadron-conservations laws. Leptons are involved in weak int and follow
what is physics
physic is a pure science that deal with behavior of matter,energy & how it related to other physical properties
Owk. But am are Art student.
Thanks a lot,Lalita
what are the differences between reflection and refraction ?
I agree what are the difference
the physical properties of matter and energy
What happens when an aeroplanes window is opened at cruise altitude?
Theophilus Reply
what is the minimum speed for any object to travel in time?
Pankaj Reply
as per theory of relativity, minimum speed will be the speed of light
what is physics
Lote Reply
it is just a branch of science which deals with the reasons behind the daily activities taking place everyday in our lives. it clearly states the reason in the form of laws.
like Newton's laws , Kepler's laws etc....
physics is the study of motion or moving things. Usually the moving things are normal items like vars or planets but sometimes it's electricity or heat that moves.
physics is one of the most significant diciplines of natural science which describe the nature and its matter
I would describe it as the science that is interested in the fundamental laws of nature. For example, what is light, what is sound, what is electricity/magentism, what forces are at work on a specific body. The knowledge of the world around us makes it possible to fly, have cell phones, GPS, etc.
what happens when an aeroplane takes off?
Kofi Reply
it flies
the lift generated by the wing overcome the weight of the plane(in Newton)and a net force of upward is created
it is a direct application of Magnus effect (which helps in throwing curve balls) the wings of plane are made in such a way that the net flow of air is more below them rather than on their upper side. So when the plane accelerates, the flaps produce the upward lift when enough velocity is obtained
then due to lower pressure on upper part of wings helps producing an additional lift because air flows from areaof lower to the area of higher pressure
The engines located under the wings generate thrust .. in relation thrust is a force ... which ovwrcomes or becomes greater than the weight of the plane.. remember weight is a force Weight = m x g-2 So therefore F(thrust) becomes greater than F(weight) Even if by 1Newton the plane starts lifting o
what happens when a ship moves
What is the sign of an acceleration that reduces the magnitude of a negative velocity? Of a positive velocity?
Conwil Reply
If it reduces the magnitude of the velocity, the acceleration sign is the opposite compared to the velocity.
what is accerelation
John Reply
an objects tendency to speed up over time
acceleration is the change in velocity over the change in time it would be written delta-v over delta-t.
the change in velocity V over a period of time T.
Delta means "change in"...not period of
just kidding. it all works mathematically
except doesn't time really only change if the instantaneous speeds vary...?
and I assume we are all talking average acceleration
Hey shiii 😀
the rate of change of velocity is callaed acceleration
a=delta v/delta t
the rate of change in velocity with respect to time is acceleration
nana you r right
what is meant by lost volt
Hardeyyemih Reply
Lost volt. Lol. It is the electrical energy lost due to the nature or the envirommental conditions (temperature and pressure) that affect the cable across which the potential difference is measured.
What is physics?
Bedabyas Reply
physics is brance science concerned with nature and properties of matter and energy
physics is study of the natural phenomenon on the basis of certain laws and principles. it's like watching a game of chess and trying to understand its rules how it's played.
physics is study of nature and it's law
physics is a branch of science that deals with the study of matter ,properties of matter and energy
Branch of science (study) of matter, motion and energy
Practice Key Terms 6

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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