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Homework Help: Electrostatistics charges and electric potential problem

  1. Apr 21, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A +30uc charge is placed 60cm from an identical +30uc charge. how much work would be required to move a +0.2uc test charge from a point midway between them to a point 10 cm close to either of the charges

    2. Relevant equations

    E = F/Q = KQ / r^2
    E= V/D
    W = PE = V*Q = Kq1q2 / r

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know that work moving the test charge either way should be equal.
    First step should i be finding the electric potential on both +30uc charges?
    and the find the total electric field?
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2008 #2
    Think about what is happening here:

    All of the charges are repulsive. Assume the that two larger charges are not going to move and only worry about what is happening with the little charge.

    When the little charge is in the middle it is being pushed away from both of the larger charges by the same amount. When you move the little one, call the charge you move it towards charge A and the farther one charge B. When you move it towards A, A starts pushing on the little guy more, so it would require some energy (some work) to do this. But as you move the little charge away from B, you are gaining some energy. With the equations you've written you should be able to calculate these energies.

    Another way to think about this problem is to consider the potential energy of the little charge in its initial and final positions. You need to determine which position has a higher potential. If you can do this, you pretty much have your answer.

    Think about these things and hopefully you'll understand the situation enough that the relevant equations will be clear. Let us know if you still have questions.
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