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Homework Help: Electric Potential V inside nonconducting sphere with cavity

  1. Feb 27, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A nonconducting sphere of radius r_2 contains a concentric spherical cavity of radius r_1. The material between r_1 and r_2 carries a uniform charge density rho_E(C/m^3). Determine the electric potential V, relative to V=0 at r= infinity, as a function of the distance r from the center for r_1 < r < r_2

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    The link is just a screenshot of the answer and steps given in the solution manual. I have similar work but I am confused about why the solution involves integrating from r_2 to r. How is that the potential relative to V=0 at r=infinity?

    And what happened to V_R_2? Since it disappears later on, I assume it's because it's equal to 0V but how come?

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2015 #2


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    Homework Helper

    You know that the negative gradient of the potential is equal to the electric field. Getting the potential function, find the electric field at the different domains. You get the potential at a point r if integrating between r and a point where you know the potential. Do you know the potential at r2, the radius of the outer surface of the shell? What is the electric field outside the shell?
  4. Feb 28, 2015 #3


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    Gold Member

    It isn't. The potential at r is that at r2 minus the integral from r to r2. The potential at infinity is the same as it would be at r if the body were uncharged, or if r1 = r = r2.
    It was evaluated as (something like) ##\frac{4\pi}3\left(r_2^2-\frac{r_1^3}{r_2}\right)\frac{\rho}{4\pi\epsilon_0}## and combined with the result of the integral. Write out the steps and you'll see the result is correct.
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