# Changes in electrostatic potential energy of a moving object

## Homework Statement

"An object is moving in a straight line from a positively charged area (A) to a negatively charged area (B). Explain how the electrical force and electrostatic potential energy experienced by the object will vary when it is neutral (has no charge)."

## Homework Equations

N/A as question is descriptive.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I know that neutral objects are attracted to both positive and negative charges. I also know that electrostatic potential energy increases with the distance between two objects which are attracted to one another.

Hence, would I be correct in saying that the object's electrostatic potential energy would increase with distance from area A, until it is equidistant from both A and B, and then it would decrease as it moves closer to B?

I'm also not sure what the wording "electrical forces experienced" means. Does this mean "the positively charged area exerts attractive forces upon the object" and so on?

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haruspex
Homework Helper
Gold Member
As quoted, the question does not state whether the object is a conductor. Isn't that important?

As quoted, the question does not state whether the object is a conductor. Isn't that important?
I couldn't tell you. But unfortunately this is the entire question, I haven't omitted anything.

haruspex
Homework Helper
Gold Member
I couldn't tell you. But unfortunately this is the entire question, I haven't omitted anything.
As I understand it, a neutral insulator would experience no forces.
Assuming it is a conductor, I agree with your answer for potential. For the forces, just say which way the force would act at different stages.

• TalliThePrune
rude man
Homework Helper
Gold Member

## Homework Statement

"An object is moving in a straight line from a positively charged area (A) to a negatively charged area (B). Explain how the electrical force and electrostatic potential energy experienced by the object will vary when it is neutral (has no charge)."
Uncharged dielectric (non-conducting) matter can experience a force in an electric field. One classic example is a charged comb which will attract uncharged pieces of paper. The reason is polarization charges attracted to the part of the paper closest to the oppositely charged comb.

• TalliThePrune