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Continuous Charge Distribution?

  1. Apr 7, 2009 #1

    This is a quote from the mentioned website,

    " For example, a charged metal ball will have charge spread nearly uniformly all over its surface, and in for most purposes it will make sense to ignore the fact that this uniformity is broken at the atomic level"

    May I know how is that uniformity broken at the atomic level?
    Also, may I know,exactly, when/how does it make sense to ignore that fact for most cases?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2009 #2
    teh charge distribution is caused by the net charge, either positive or negative, comprised of either protons or electrons.

    The reason the net charge is not uniform at the atomic level is because the net charge is made up of a bunch of smaller charges (either protons or electrons) bunched up close together. If you viewed the surface at the atomic level, it would look like a bunch of small pieces really close together, eg:


    and not like:


    if it were the latter, then uniformity would not be broken at the atomic level, however we know that the latter is not possible as everything is comprised of atoms.

    Honestly it seems stupid that the site even mentioned that, unless it goes into atomic analysis of the charged structure...ive never even seen that mentioned anywhere, as teh spacing between atomic charges is negligible for almost all purposes.
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