# Are two charges always in electrostatic equilibrium?

• kay
In summary: No, electrostatic equilibrium wouldn't be reached in a conductor because there would still be a difference in the charges.
kay
What I studied was that the force on one charge due to another equal charge in the system of two charges was, (say) F; whereas the force on the other charge due to the first charge was found out to be -F. Hence they add up to be zero. So can I say that the two equal charges are in electrostatic equilibrium or to generalise any two equal charges are in electrostatic equilibrium?
(using coulomb's law)

Last edited:
F and -F are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction.

Does that mean an equilibrium has been obtained?
( ie do 2 free electrons separated by a distance d and having F and -F acting on them continue to be separated by distance d? )

256bits said:
F and -F are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction.

Does that mean an equilibrium has been obtained?
( ie do 2 free electrons separated by a distance d and having F and -F acting on them continue to be separated by distance d? )
I don't think so...

So the two charges would not be in static equilibrium if they are both free to move about.

What if the charges were in a conductor.
Could an electrostatic equilibrium be reached in a conductor? And where would the charges then be located?

You may want to re-visit the definition of electrostatic equilibrium, such as
Electrostatic equilibrium is the condition established by charged conductors in which the excess charge has optimally distanced itself so as to reduce the total amount of repulsive forces. Once a charged conductor has reached the state of electrostatic equilibrium, there is no further motion of charge about the surface.
from
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/estatics/u8l4d.cfm

( so, from you first post, the F and -F might not be enough to designate an electrostatic equilibrium situation for the charges )

kay

## 1. Are all charges in electrostatic equilibrium?

No, not all charges are in electrostatic equilibrium. Only charges that are at rest, or moving at a constant velocity, are considered to be in electrostatic equilibrium.

## 2. Can two charges be in electrostatic equilibrium if they are moving?

Yes, two charges can be in electrostatic equilibrium even if they are moving. As long as their velocity is constant, they are considered to be in electrostatic equilibrium.

## 3. How do you determine if two charges are in electrostatic equilibrium?

To determine if two charges are in electrostatic equilibrium, you can use Coulomb's law to calculate the force between the charges. If the forces acting on the charges are equal and opposite, and the charges are at rest or moving at a constant velocity, then they are in electrostatic equilibrium.

## 4. Are two charges always in electrostatic equilibrium if they are not moving?

No, two charges are not always in electrostatic equilibrium if they are not moving. If the forces acting on the charges are not equal and opposite, then they are not in electrostatic equilibrium.

## 5. Can two charges in electrostatic equilibrium have different magnitudes?

Yes, two charges in electrostatic equilibrium can have different magnitudes. As long as the forces acting on the charges are equal and opposite, they will remain in electrostatic equilibrium. The magnitude of the charges does not affect their equilibrium state.

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