# Cancellation of the electric field from opposite charges

#### Shohel chowdhury

Electric field of opposite charges, cancel out each other, is it right?

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#### anorlunda

Mentor
Yes, if the charges are close enough together.

#### lightarrow

Electric field of opposite charges, cancel out each other, is it right?
Don't know which level is really this question.
If you mean the electric field outside(*) the charges is approximately zero at large enough distance from them, it's ok.
(*) The electric field between the charges is not zero, not even approximately.

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lightarrow

#### berkeman

Mentor
Electric field of opposite charges, cancel out each other, is it right?
If you mean like with a non-ionized atom, then yes, the external E-field a ways away from the atom is zero, since the net charge of the electrons and protons cancels out.

But if you mean when the two charges are separated by some distance on the order of your measuring distance, then the E-fields are summed vectorially (magnitude and direction). The E-field exactly in the middle between two like charges is zero, but you can see that the E-field in general from two charged particles is pretty complicated around them...

https://i.stack.imgur.com/pNHut.jpg

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#### lightarrow

If you mean like with a non-ionized atom, then yes, the external E-field a ways away from the atom is zero, since the net charge of the electrons and protons cancels out.

But if you mean when the two charges are separated by some distance on the order of your measuring distance, then the E-fields are summed vectorially (magnitude and direction). The E-field exactly in the middle between two like charges is zero, but you can see that the E-field in general from two charged particles is pretty complicated around them...

https://i.stack.imgur.com/pNHut.jpg

View attachment 240659
Very nice picture. But the OP referred to opposite charges.

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lightarrow

#### berkeman

Mentor
Very nice picture. But the OP referred to opposite charges.

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lightarrow
Oops, thanks!

"Cancellation of the electric field from opposite charges"

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