# Electron & Proton within a capacitor

• Hannisch
In summary, the student is trying to solve a problem involving the release of a proton and electron from a capacitor, but is stuck. He remembers his kinematic equations for distance and time, but is unsure of how to calculate the acceleration of the electron. He eventually figures out that he needs to use time and proton acceleration to figure distance for the proton. However, he is unsure of what delta is and drops it.
Hannisch

## Homework Statement

"The plate separation of a charged capacitor is 0.0800 m. A proton and an electron are released from rest at the midpoint between the plates. Ignore the attraction between the two particles, and determine how far the proton has traveled by the time the electron strikes the positive plate."

Not 100% sure.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I've tried using energy conservation and Newton's Second Law and I've tried to have a look at every other equation I've been given and their derivations. I'm just stuck. I think there might be a conceptual part I'm missing?

If anyone could just give some hints, I'd be very grateful.

Hannisch said:

## Homework Statement

"The plate separation of a charged capacitor is 0.0800 m. A proton and an electron are released from rest at the midpoint between the plates. Ignore the attraction between the two particles, and determine how far the proton has traveled by the time the electron strikes the positive plate."

Not 100% sure.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I've tried using energy conservation and Newton's Second Law and I've tried to have a look at every other equation I've been given and their derivations. I'm just stuck. I think there might be a conceptual part I'm missing?

If anyone could just give some hints, I'd be very grateful.

Apparently the forces on each would be equal wouldn't they, even though in opposite directions?

But they have different mass. So ...

I get that mass of electron*acceleration of electron=mass of proton*acceleration of proton.

The thing is, I think I'm understanding what I should calculate wrong - somewhere in my mind I want to find the time it takes for the electron to hit the positive plate and from that find the acceleration of the electron (using x=at2/2) and using the relation between the electron's and the proton's accelerations and from there using previously mentioned equation to find the distance for the proton.

However I seem to have one too many variables constantly. I just don't know what I should do, it's driving me absolutely nuts.

And probably I'm making it more difficult than it is as well x|

You may just be making it more difficult than necessary.

The point is, figure the acceleration for each. You know the distance.

You remembered your kinematic equations for distance acceleration and time being:

x = 1/2*a*t2

Figure the time for the electron.
Then use that time with the proton acceleration to figure distance for the proton.

Subtract from the total distance and you have your Δ.

I get an answer that's something like .02 mm .. but I've recently learned that in electricity I'm perfectly useless in determining whether the answer is reasonable or not. But I found expressions for their accelerations (being Fc/m) and just .. used that expression. It works for me, at least.

The only thing I'm not sure about is what you mean by the delta - to me that seems to be figuring out how far it is left for the proton to hit the negative plate. However, I don't think I'm thinking clearly anymore, so I probably should drop it.

Thanks so much for your help! I really needed someone to hit me over the head and make me think about it the right way.

Never mind that about Δ. I mistakenly had it in mind they wanted to know how much further it had gone.
Sorry for any confusion my confusion may have caused.

## 1. What is a capacitor?

A capacitor is a passive electronic component that stores electrical energy in an electric field. It consists of two conductive plates separated by a dielectric material.

## 2. What is the difference between an electron and a proton within a capacitor?

Electrons are negatively charged particles that flow from the negative plate of a capacitor to the positive plate, while protons are positively charged particles that flow from the positive plate to the negative plate. This flow of charges creates an electric field within the capacitor.

## 3. How does a capacitor store and release electrical energy?

When a voltage is applied to a capacitor, electrons accumulate on one plate and protons on the other, creating an electric field. This field stores electrical energy. When the capacitor is connected to a circuit, the stored energy is released as the electrons and protons flow back to their original plates.

## 4. What is the role of the dielectric material in a capacitor?

The dielectric material, which is typically an insulator, serves to increase the capacitance of a capacitor by reducing the electric field between the plates. It also prevents the flow of current between the plates, allowing the capacitor to hold a charge for longer periods of time.

## 5. How does the capacitance of a capacitor affect its ability to store charge?

The capacitance of a capacitor is directly proportional to its ability to store charge. A capacitor with a higher capacitance can store more charge at a given voltage, while a capacitor with a lower capacitance can store less charge. This is because the capacitance determines the amount of electric field that can be created between the plates.

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