Electrostatic force between charged and neutral object?

  • Thread starter Dragynfyre
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  • #1
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Homework Statement



Well we just learned about Coulomb's Law today but there is something that is bothering me. According to Coulomb's Law the magnitude of the force of attraction between a charged and neutral object is 0. However, the Law of Electrostatics states that a charged and neutral object should attract each other. I'm wondering is there a special case for calculating the force of attraction when one object is neutral and the other is charged?

Homework Equations



Coulomb's Law

F=kq1q2/r2

The Attempt at a Solution



If 0 is substituted in for q1 in the equation the magnitude of the force becomes 0 no matter what the charge is on the second object.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
rl.bhat
Homework Helper
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Hi Dragynfyre, welcome to PF.

When you bring a charged particle near a neutral object, opposite charge is induces on the near surface of the neutral object and the same charge on the far side of the neutral object. Due to this a net force is acting on the charged particle. The magnitude of the net force depends on the dimension of the neutral object.
 
  • #3
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Ahh okay but say there was an object where the electrons could not move and a charge can't be induced. For example the electrostatic force between a proton and neutron (I know there are quarks and other stuff but let's leave those out of this discussion). Would the force be 0?
 

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