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Electric field lines

  1. Jul 12, 2006 #1
    I know that the electric field lines between two oppositely charged points are symmetric, but I cant seem tof ind any refrence as to when this symmetry breaks down.

    I want to say that electric field lines do not maintain symmetry if the two charges are not equal but opposite, e.g. a -4 and +4 charges produce symmetric field lines, but -2 and 4 will not. Is this the case?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Depends on what symmetry you are talking about. About the axis that connects the two charges, I believe you will always have symmetry with just the two charges. But if you mean left-right symmetry about a plane that is between the two charges and perpendicular to the axis between them, then if the charges are not equal, then the field will not be symmetrical on the two sides of the plane.
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