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Conductors in large electric fields

by gralla55
Tags: conductors, electric, fields
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gralla55
#1
Mar13-13, 07:22 AM
P: 57
You place a conductor in an electric field. The charges inside the conductor will relocate, to form an opposing electric field which cancels the outside field, making the field inside the conductor zero.

However, surely there's a limit to how big an opposing field the charges in the conductor can create. My question is, what will happen if you place a conductor in an electric field larger than the conductors maximum opposing inside field?
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Drakkith
#2
Mar13-13, 04:09 PM
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Offhand I'd say you would ionize the conductor and rip it apart.
ModusPwnd
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Mar13-13, 04:25 PM
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Quote Quote by gralla55 View Post
My question is, what will happen if you place a conductor in an electric field larger than the conductors maximum opposing inside field?
I would guess it not longer behaves as a conductor. Being a conductor means you have free and mobile charges. If your external field has pinned down all your charges then you now have an insulator.

marcusl
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Mar13-13, 08:38 PM
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Conductors in large electric fields

Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
Offhand I'd say you would ionize the conductor and rip it apart.
Right, you get field emission, which is the emission of electrons from the conducting surface. Eventually you could get an arc (lightning bolt).

Quote Quote by ModusPwnd View Post
I would guess it not longer behaves as a conductor. Being a conductor means you have free and mobile charges. If your external field has pinned down all your charges then you now have an insulator.
No, the bulk metal is still a conductor.


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