Does the electric field within a conductor depend on its location?

In summary, my doubt is as follows: I don't understand why the electric field inside the conducting material is not zero, even though it is only within the boundaries of the material where the field is zero.
  • #1
Krushnaraj Pandya
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Homework Statement


consider two concentric shells, the smaller one has inner and outer radius a and b, the larger one has IR and O.R. c and d. Inner shell has total charge -2q and outer shell has total charge +4q.
NOTE-This is a random situation I created to explain my doubt properly, so we aren't actually supposed to find anything, its just a conceptual doubt which I have elaborated upon in "attempt at a solution" since it is mandatory to fill the section on PF.

Homework Equations


All electrostatics related formulas

The Attempt at a Solution


I went ahead and found the field in the region between the shells (i.e b<n<c where n is the distance from common center) by taking a gaussian surface of radius n; ##q_{enclosed} = -2q## so the field is -2kq/r^2. My doubt is that since this region lies inside the larger shell which is a conductor; shouldn't the electric field at all points inside be zero? why is it non-zero here?
I'd be really grateful for some insight. Thank you.
 
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  • #2
Krushnaraj Pandya said:
My doubt is that since this region lies inside the larger shell which is a conductor; shouldn't the electric field at all points inside be zero? why is it non-zero here?
Within the hollow area there will certainly be a non-zero field and that's not an issue. It's only within the conducting material itself that the field must be zero.

Thus, in your example, only at points r where a<r<b & c<r<d must the field be zero. Everywhere else is fair game for a non-zero field.
 
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  • #3
Doc Al said:
Within the hollow area there will certainly be a non-zero field and that's not an issue. It's only within the conducting material itself that the field must be zero.

Thus, in your example, only at points r where a<r<b & c<r<d must the field be zero. Everywhere else is fair game for a non-zero field.
ohh...right, thank you very much :D
 

What is a conductor?

A conductor is a material that allows the flow of electric charge through it. Examples of conductors include metals like copper and aluminum.

Why is the electric field inside a conductor zero?

The electric field inside a conductor is zero because the free electrons within the conductor rearrange themselves in such a way that the net charge inside the conductor is distributed uniformly. This cancels out any external electric field that may have been present.

Can the electric field inside a conductor ever be non-zero?

Yes, the electric field inside a conductor can be non-zero if the conductor is not in electrostatic equilibrium. This can happen if an external electric field is applied to the conductor, causing the free charges to move and creating a non-uniform distribution of charge within the conductor.

Does the shape of a conductor affect the electric field inside it?

Yes, the shape of a conductor can affect the electric field inside it. In general, the electric field is stronger in areas where the conductor is curved or has sharp edges. This is because the charge density is higher in these areas, leading to a stronger electric field.

How does the presence of a charged object near a conductor affect the electric field inside the conductor?

The presence of a charged object near a conductor can cause a redistribution of charges within the conductor, resulting in a non-zero electric field inside. This can happen if the charged object is brought close enough to the conductor, causing the free charges to rearrange themselves to create a new electrostatic equilibrium.

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