Electric field over a non uniform surface charge

1. Sep 8, 2010

dpaulson

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
A non-uniform surface charge lies in the xz-plane. At the origin, the surface charge density is (sigma)=3.01C/m^2; other charges are present in the vicinity as well. Just to the right of the origin the y-component of the electric field is 520,000N/C. What is the y-component of the electric field just to the left of the origin. Answer must take into account direction of field (left negative, right positive).

2. Relevant equations
Gauss' Law, Coulomb's law, etc. I have the list of all of these, the problem is I just have no idea where to start with this.

3. The attempt at a solution
No idea what to do.

2. Sep 8, 2010

Mindscrape

This is kind of similar to a capacitor, have you studied those yet?

3. Sep 8, 2010

Not yet, no.

4. Sep 9, 2010

Mindscrape

So you have an infinite sheet of charge. Draw a diagram that will show the electric field on both sides of that sheet. Next, determine the Gaussian surface you want to use. Finally, solve for E.

Before you start into it though, what do you expect your answer will be? What is the difference between to the right and to the left of the origin?

5. Sep 9, 2010

dpaulson

aren't the left and right sides equal in magnitude but going in opposite directions?

6. Sep 9, 2010

Mindscrape

Yep, that's exactly right.