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Electric field

  1. Apr 19, 2013 #1
    In an irregular shaped charged conductor will the electric field E at all points within the conductor be zero? If yes, then how?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2013 #2
    I assume you are talking about a purely static situation.
    Without external electric field, the net electric charge in each point of the conductor is zero (lets keep it simple: I assume there are no excess charges in the conductor).
    Under the action of an external field, the positive and negative charges in the conductor displaces, so that the net electric charge in each point of the conductor (local charge) is not zero. If you sum the charge of all these points over the whole volume (global charge), it will however remains equal to zero.
    The local charges are so smart that they arrange themselves so that the field is zero in the whole conductor. It is however a very difficult task to compute the local distribution for complex geometries.
  4. Apr 21, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the reply. But if a conductor is charged, the charges are spread on its surface. Will not those charges impose an electric field within the conductor? Will the local charges again arrange themselves to cancel the field produced?
  5. Apr 21, 2013 #4


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    The trick is that the charges are distributed over the surface precisely such that there is no electric field inside the conductor. This is only true for the static case!
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