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Homework Help: Free and bound charge in a dielectric

  1. May 20, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I'm just trying to understand better what happens at the interface between a conductor and a dielectric, particularly with regard to free and bound charge.
    I would like to know:

    - under what conditions can a dielectric acquire free charge, and how this free charge differs from bound charge.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know how to solve the free charge on a plate by taking the integral of the displacement field flux over the surface. If the dielectric contains no free charge density, I assume this means there will be no divergence in the displacement field.

    I know that bound charge is caused by electrons which are bound to the nuclei, and which just polarise in the presence of an electric field, but I'm unsure whether it is these same electrons which then become free charge at the interface with a conductor.
    Hope that question can be answered even though it's fairly vague.
    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
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