# Electric field inside a conductor not zero

• prismaticcore
In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of creating an electric field that would result in a net electric field inside a neutral conductor. It is mentioned that in a perfect conductor, the infinite amount of free charges would cancel out the electric field inside, but in a non-ideal conductor, there may not be enough free charges to completely cancel the field, leading to a net electric field and potential flow of charges inside the conductor. There is also a discussion about the direction of the electric field and potential force on the conductor.
prismaticcore

## Homework Statement

Is it possible to create an electric field such that a neutral conductor will experience a net electric field inside?

## The Attempt at a Solution

The definition of perfect conductor is that there are an infinite amount of charges free to move so that electric fields will cancel on the inside. How about the case for the not ideal conductor? Will there be a point where the electric field is so strong that the finite amount of free charge to distribute will not cancel it on the inside of the conductor? What are such examples in the physical world?

Griffiths says that charge will continue to flow to the surface of the conductor until the cancellation of the field is complete. However, if there are not enough charges (which may be the case in a real conductor), the total cancellation may not be complete, resulting in a net E field inside. If there's a net E-field, the charges inside the conductor will keep moving around, perhaps forever. Does this violate some sort of conservation law?

In that case, uncanceled electric field's direction is the same of external electric field.
Which means there's no eternal flow of charges inside the unideal conductor.
As a result, the conductor will experience the force which is attempting to destroy
the conductor because (-)charges on one side of conductor are heading opposite to
external EF and (+) charges on the other side of conductor are heading to the same direction
of external EF.

other people to explain this problem in the right way. :-)

Yes, it is possible to create an electric field inside a neutral conductor. This can occur in non-ideal conductors where there is a finite amount of free charge available to distribute. In this case, the electric field inside the conductor may not be zero since the charges may not be able to fully cancel out the electric field.

Such examples can be seen in real-world scenarios, such as in a lightning rod during a thunderstorm. The electric field inside the rod may not be zero due to the finite amount of free charges available to distribute and the strong electric field from the storm. Another example could be in a charged capacitor, where the electric field inside the capacitor plates may not be zero due to the finite amount of free charges on the plates.

In conclusion, it is possible to create an electric field inside a neutral conductor, especially in non-ideal conductors where there is a limited amount of free charge available to distribute.

## 1. How is it possible for an electric field to exist inside a conductor?

Contrary to popular belief, electric field can exist inside a conductor. This is because the charges inside a conductor are free to move, allowing the electric field to penetrate through the conductor.

## 2. Why is the electric field inside a conductor not zero?

The electric field inside a conductor is not zero because of the presence of free charges. These charges create an electric field that is equal and opposite to the external electric field, resulting in a net electric field of zero in the conductor's interior. However, the electric field can still exist near the surface of the conductor.

## 3. Does the electric field inside a conductor affect the charges inside it?

Yes, the electric field inside a conductor can affect the charges inside it. When an external electric field is applied to a conductor, the free charges inside the conductor will rearrange themselves in such a way that the resulting electric field inside the conductor is zero.

## 4. How does the shape and size of a conductor affect the electric field inside it?

The shape and size of a conductor can affect the electric field inside it. A larger conductor will have a lower electric field inside it compared to a smaller conductor, as there is more space for the charges to distribute and cancel out the external electric field. The shape of the conductor can also affect the distribution of charges and therefore the electric field inside.

## 5. Can the electric field inside a conductor change?

Yes, the electric field inside a conductor can change. When the external electric field applied to a conductor changes, the charges inside the conductor will rearrange themselves to cancel out the new external electric field, resulting in a change in the electric field inside the conductor. Additionally, if the shape or size of the conductor changes, the electric field inside may also change.

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