A neutral conducting sphere and an insulating sphere...

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1. Apr 14, 2017

alexdr5398

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

2. Relevant equations
None

3. The attempt at a solution
My thinking was that the positively charged sphere would repel the electrons to the far side of the neutral sphere, creating a repulsive force between the two spheres until they touch and the charge is shared.

Since the one sphere is insulating, I'm guessing that means they wouldn't share the charge, but why do they attract each other?

2. Apr 14, 2017

TSny

OK. When electrons accumulate on the far side, can you describe the charge distribution of the neutral sphere?

3. Apr 14, 2017

alexdr5398

The side closest the +ve charge sphere will be positively charged, since the free electrons will be reppeled to the other side.

Is it because the free electrons in +ve sphere will also be attracted the now positive side of the neutral sphere? So they attract?

4. Apr 14, 2017

TSny

Sorry, I misread your first argument. If the insulating sphere is positively charged, do the free electrons in the neutral sphere move to the far side or to the near side?

5. Apr 14, 2017

alexdr5398

Oh, of course, they are attracted to the near side. :( What a dumb mistake.

I understand now thank you.

6. Apr 14, 2017

TSny

OK. But make sure you see the whole story. Electrons move to the near side. But that leaves the far side positively charged. So, although the insulating sphere will attract the negative charge that accumulates on the near side of the conducting sphere, it will repel the positive charge that accumulates on the far side. So, you still need to explain why the attraction is greater than the repulsion.

7. Apr 14, 2017

alexdr5398

Is it because the positive charges are less dense and farther away than the negative charges. The electrons all accumulate closest to the positive sphere and therefore create a larger attractive force than the +ve charges.

8. Apr 14, 2017

TSny

Yes. The force is stronger on the negative charge because the negative charge is closer to the positively charge insulating sphere. Good.

9. Apr 14, 2017

alexdr5398

Thanks a lot for your help.