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Describe Charge Distribution on Spheres After They Touch

  • #1
I am trying to correctly understand the following problem:

Here is the setup:
I have two conducting spherical shells. We will call them S-Left and S-Right. Both spherical shells are initially grounded, therefore, they have no net charge w.r.t. Earth. S-Right is hanging from a string. S-Left is brought near a strong negatively charged object for a few seconds and then moved away. The side of S-Left that was brought near the negatively charged object is then slowly brought near S-Right until they both touch.

1. Describe the motion of S-Right as S-Left approaches.

My summary: S-Left still has no net charge but it does have charge separation due to induction. S-Left will have more positive charge on the side that is approaching S-Right. Since S-Right has no net charge and no charge separation, it will be attracted towards S-Left since electrons will move toward the side facing the approaching S-Left. The electrons will move towards the side nearest S-Left because S-Right feels the effects from the positive charges on S-Left more than the negative charges on S-Left due to negative charges being farther away on the other side of S-Left sphere.

2. Describe the motion of S-Right after the two spheres touch and S-Left is held in place.

My summary: I'm not sure. Neither spheres have a net charge but S-Left has charge separation. Do the electrons in both spheres evenly distribute between both spheres and remove the induced charge on S-Left? If this happened then both spheres will simply stay in the position at which they touched. Correct?

Is my answer for 1. correct?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Dick
Science Advisor
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S-Left is brought near a strong negatively charged object for a few seconds and then moved away./QUOTE]

Given this sentence in the statement and that the spheres are conductors, can you explain to me why S-Left would have charge separation?
 
  • #3
Would S-Left not have any charge separation?

S-Left would have to have some separation of charge when it is near the large negative charge - correct? Am I incorrect in assuming that the charge separation stays on S-Left when it is moved away from the large negative charge?
 
  • #4
Dick
Science Advisor
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The charges in a conductor are mobile. They won't maintain any separation w/o an external field.
 

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