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Homework Help: Electric Field and spherical cavities

  1. Oct 10, 2006 #1
    Two spherical cavities of radii a and b are hollowed out from the interior of a neutral conducting sphere of radius R. At the center of each cavity is a point charge place, callthem qa and qb

    a) Find teh surface charges sigma a, sigma b, and sigma R.

    ok say for qa

    [tex] \vec{E} = \frac{q_{a}}{4 \pi \epsilon_{0} a^2} \hat{a} = - \vec{\nabla} V \bullet \hat{n} [/tex]

    also [tex] \sigma = -\epsilon_{0} \vec{\nabla} V \bullet \hat{n} = \frac{q_{a}}{4 \pi a^2} [/tex]

    but i was told this answer should be negative.. where is my mistake?

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  3. Oct 10, 2006 #2


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    The total charge inside a guassian surface surrounding one inner sphere has to be zero, The surface charge must have the opposite sign of the central charge.
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