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Changes in electrostatic potential energy of a moving object

  1. May 30, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    "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)."

    2. Relevant equations
    N/A as question is descriptive.


    3. 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?

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2015 #2

    haruspex

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    As quoted, the question does not state whether the object is a conductor. Isn't that important?
     
  4. May 30, 2015 #3
    I couldn't tell you. But unfortunately this is the entire question, I haven't omitted anything.
     
  5. May 30, 2015 #4

    haruspex

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    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.
     
  6. May 31, 2015 #5

    rude man

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    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.
     
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