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Homework Help: Electromagnetic wave in a conductor

  1. Oct 29, 2012 #1
    When an electromagnetic wave hits a conductor the transmitted part of the wave is damped considerably. I want to know if anyone can explain physically why the field is attentuated inside the conductor - i.e. what happens.
    I know the basic properties of a conductor:
    - Electrons free to roam
    - E-field 0 inside it
    - Net charge resides on surface
    But can't really combine this to a clear understanding.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2012 #2
    The electrons are not completely free in most conductors (except super conductors ). If the electrons were completely free in metals incandescent electric lights would not work. A current that is passed through a conductor heats it.

    The electric field dies off rapidly inside a conductor but the change is not infinite, dE/dx ≠ ∞
     
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