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Homework Help: Charges of conducting spheres

  1. Jun 27, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Figure 21-36 shows four identical conducting spheres that are actually well separated from one another.

    Figure 21-36
    Sphere W (with an initial charge of zero) is touched to sphere A and then they are separated. Next, sphere W is touched to sphere B (with an initial charge of -29e) and then they are separated. Finally, sphere W is touched to sphere C (with an initial charge of +43e), and then they are separated. The final charge on sphere W is +13e. What was the initial charge on sphere A?

    2. Relevant equations

    don't know

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I tried working backwards from the known charge and using the formula Q=.5(q1-q2). I am sure I am missing something simple, but I can not figure this problem out.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Welcome to PF.

    Maybe try working forwards? After touching A you know W carries 1/2A.

    You know what B carries, so after touching B you have 1/2(1/2A + (-29))

    So develop the formula for after touching C and knowing the final value, solve for A.
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