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Homework Help: Electric potential Energy

  1. Jul 27, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Describe the motion of a test charge in a non-uniform electric field.

    By considering the electric forces acting and Newton’s second law, explain the type of motion occurring in a non-uniform electric field.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I wrote that the direction of the field is the opposite to the direction a test charge would move in.

    the second question i dont understand at all .... I think it would be circular motion? Fc?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2015 #2


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    It does not have to be. You can shoot electrons into a field with a velocity perpendicular to the field, for example.

    The motion will depend on the field, so it is hard to describe the motion in general. You can make a statement about the acceleration of the test charge, however.
  4. Jul 27, 2015 #3
    in a uniform e-field the acceleration would be constant but in a non-uniform field it would accelerate at an increasing rate? Is this correct?
  5. Jul 27, 2015 #4


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    Maybe at a decreasing rate ... maybe at a varying rate, up & down, changing direction, etc.
  6. Jul 28, 2015 #5


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    We don't know unless we get the geometry of the field and the initial position and velocity of the electron.
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