Electrostatic induction in a conductor should be immpossible

In summary: It always comes down to numbers.In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of electrostatic induction in a conductor. It is proposed that when a negatively charged strip is brought near a metal conductor, the electrons will be repelled to one end of the conductor, resulting in a positively charged end. This could potentially restrict the movement of delocalized electrons and decrease the melting point of the conductor. The conversation also explores the idea of equilibrium and the fraction of the free electron population that would need to move for it to be established. It is suggested that, based on Coulomb's law, this fraction would be on the order of 1 part in 10^15 or more, demonstrating the minuscule impact of polarized electrons on the
  • #1
hms.tech
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i can't grasp the idea that how is electrostatic induction possible in a conductor.

for example, if a negatively charged strip is brought near a metal conductor, the electrons will be repelled to the further end of the conductor thus making the end near the charged rod positively charged, wouldn't this mean that the flow of electrons would be restricted in the metal rod as most of them will remain at the further end of the conductor... and the delocalized electrons would no longer be free to move throughout the metallic lattice thus they would not be holding the metallic positive ions together.

As a result, i propose that the metallic conductor would collapse or atleast it melting point would decrease due to the restricted movement of delocalized electrons.

note that throughout this test, a negatively charged rod would remain near one particular end of the metal conductor.

Any help is welcome.
 
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  • #2
try to put some numbers to the situation. what fraction of the freely conducting electron population would need to move before equilibrium is established?

(hint: assume that the free electron population is on the order of 10^23 per cc. assume a capacitance on the order of a pF. use Coulomb's law to figure out how many extra electrons would account for the developed charge density. i'd wager without crunching the numbers that it's on the order of 1 part in 10^15 or more. i.e. - a miniscule fraction of all the electrons are actually polarized, there is no 'depletion' of bonding electrons)
 
  • #3
As with all of Physics, the actual numbers are what counts. Many of these questions can be easily sorted out when the relative values are considered.
That's the beauty ( and the snag) about Physics.
 

Related to Electrostatic induction in a conductor should be immpossible

1. Why is electrostatic induction in a conductor considered impossible?

Electrostatic induction in a conductor is considered impossible because according to the laws of electrostatics, a conductor cannot have an electric field inside of it. This is because the free electrons in a conductor will always rearrange themselves in response to an external electric field, effectively canceling out any electric field inside the conductor.

2. Can electrostatic induction occur in insulators?

Yes, electrostatic induction can occur in insulators, as they do not have free electrons that can move around and cancel out the electric field. Instead, the electric field will cause a separation of charges within the insulator, creating a polarized material.

3. What is the difference between electrostatic induction and conduction?

The main difference between electrostatic induction and conduction is that electrostatic induction involves the redistribution of charges within a material in response to an external electric field, while conduction involves the flow of charges (usually electrons) through a material.

4. Can electrostatic induction be used for practical applications?

Yes, electrostatic induction has many practical applications, such as in the operation of capacitors, photocopiers, and electrostatic precipitators. It is also used in electrostatic painting and electrostatic discharge protection in electronic devices.

5. How does the shape and size of a conductor affect electrostatic induction?

The shape and size of a conductor can affect electrostatic induction in several ways. A larger conductor will have a greater capacitance and therefore be able to store more charge through induction. Additionally, the shape of the conductor can affect the distribution of charges and the strength of the induced electric field. Sharp edges and points can result in higher electric field strengths and therefore stronger induction effects.

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