Force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field

In summary, in a homogeneous electric field, the force on a particle is the same regardless of its location. This is similar to the force due to gravity on a ball placed on an incline, where the force remains the same but the potential changes. The key is to not think about how the field was created, but simply focus on the strength of the field and its uniformity.
  • #1
34
1
I understand that in a homogeneous electric field, the force on a particle, regardless of its location, is the same.

How can this be? Wouldn't a positively charged particle experience a greater force when near the positively charged side? What am I missing?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Arcthor said:
I understand that in a homogeneous electric field, the force on a particle, regardless of its location, is the same.

How can this be? Wouldn't a positively charged particle experience a greater force when near the positively charged side? What am I missing?

Don't think about how the field was created, just imagine the field being in some box that defines the region over which the field is uniform (i.e. there is nothing but the field there, and the particle). If the region is really, really big, there are no real landmarks (wiggliness of the field, etc.) the only thing that you can see is the strength of the field by the force on the charge. If the field strength is the same everywhere, should the force felt be any different?

Think of the analogy with the force due to gravity for a ball placed on an incline. Is the force on a ball bigger at the top of the incline or at the bottom of the incline?
The thing that is different is the gravitaional potential. When the ball is at the top of the incline, the gravitational potential is larger (there is the ability to extract more work from its falling). Same goes for a charge in a uniform electric field: force is the same, but the potential is different.
 
  • #3
Arcthor said:
I understand that in a homogeneous electric field, the force on a particle, regardless of its location, is the same.

How can this be?
Per definition.
 
  • #4
Quantum Defect said:
Don't think about how the field was created, just imagine the field being in some box that defines the region over which the field is uniform (i.e. there is nothing but the field there, and the particle). If the region is really, really big, there are no real landmarks (wiggliness of the field, etc.) the only thing that you can see is the strength of the field by the force on the charge. If the field strength is the same everywhere, should the force felt be any different?

Think of the analogy with the force due to gravity for a ball placed on an incline. Is the force on a ball bigger at the top of the incline or at the bottom of the incline?
The thing that is different is the gravitaional potential. When the ball is at the top of the incline, the gravitational potential is larger (there is the ability to extract more work from its falling). Same goes for a charge in a uniform electric field: force is the same, but the potential is different.

Thank you! I makes complete sense now :) Sorry for late reply, was busy studying for the test lol
 

1. What is a homogeneous electric field?

A homogeneous electric field is a type of electric field in which the strength and direction of the electric field are the same at all points in space. This means that the electric field lines are parallel to each other and evenly spaced.

2. How is the force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field calculated?

The force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field can be calculated using the equation F = qE, where F is the force, q is the charge of the particle, and E is the strength of the electric field.

3. What is the direction of the force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field?

The direction of the force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field is determined by the charge of the particle. If the particle has a positive charge, the force will be in the same direction as the electric field, and if the particle has a negative charge, the force will be in the opposite direction.

4. How does the strength of the electric field affect the force on a particle?

The force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field is directly proportional to the strength of the electric field. This means that the stronger the electric field, the greater the force on the particle.

5. Can the force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field be zero?

Yes, the force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field can be zero if the particle has a charge of zero or if it is placed at a point where the electric field strength is zero. In this case, the particle will not experience any force in the electric field.

Suggested for: Force on a particle in a homogeneous electric field

Replies
8
Views
606
Replies
11
Views
890
Replies
1
Views
783
Replies
23
Views
813
Replies
3
Views
850
Replies
13
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
706
Back
Top