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Homework Help: Does electric fields affect a compass

  1. Jun 16, 2016 #1
    By electitc field, i do not mean the magnetic field produced by a current carrying wire, but rather between charged particles. If a compass is placed between the electric field, will the compass needle delfect or will it just continue pointing in the initial direction?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2016 #2
    If there doesn't exist magnetic field, then the needle will not be affected, will it? So just static charges I think won't move the needle, for they provide electric field only.
  4. Jun 16, 2016 #3


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    E field might induce surface charge on the needle. Don't know if you are meant to consider that possibility.
  5. Jun 16, 2016 #4
    Right...I really forgot this situation. However if he emphasize the "electric field" not the "charge," I think the answer is still the same?
  6. Jun 16, 2016 #5
    As far as motor action, magnetic force is much stronger than electrostatic force unless you are dealing with high voltages.
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