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Gauss' Law and SHM

  1. Mar 8, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    According to an old model due to JJ Thompson, an atom consists of a cloud of positive charge within which electrons sit like plums in a pudding. THe electrons are supposed to emit light when they vibrate about their equilibrium positions in this cloud. Assume that in the case of the hydrogen atom the positive cloud is a sphere of radius R = .050nm with a charge of e uniformly distributed over the volume of this sphere. The (point-like) electron is held at the center of this charge distribution by the electrostatic attraction.

    a) By deriving its equation of motion, show that when the electron is displaced from its equilibrium position by a distance r, it will execute S.H.M.

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    ∫∫ E ⋅ dA = e(r^3)/(R^3)ε by Gauss' Law (Not sure if enclosed charge is e or 2e)

    Solving for E we have ke^2/R^3 * (1/r)

    Fe = m(d^2x/dt^2) plug in E and point charge q and we have a second order differential equation that should allow to prove SHM. Unfortunately I'm in high school and we haven't learned how to solve second order differential equations and I'm assuming we're not expected to. I can use a = v dv/dx and solve for v in terms of but I'm not sure how that will help me prove SHM.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2015 #2
    This forum is so helpful! Every time I post a question there's always a response!
     
  4. Mar 8, 2015 #3

    TSny

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    Hi, Omar. You're looking for the E field due to the positively charged cloud. If you think about the total charge of the cloud, that should help you decide between e and 2e.

    You didn't quite solve for E correctly here. If you can't find your mistake, then please show your steps.

    You won't need to solve a differential equation, you just need to argue that the motion will be SHM. You can do this by looking at the mathematical form of the force on the electron in the cloud.
     
  5. Mar 8, 2015 #4

    Ok so it will be 2e since we need to add the point charge and total enclosed charge.

    And all SHM motions take the form of F= -(constant)r which is what I have minus the negative. But that's a critical component because it's supposed to be a restoring force, no?
     
  6. Mar 8, 2015 #5
  7. Mar 8, 2015 #6
    That's all my work so far not sure how to prove SHM.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2015 #7

    TSny

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    No, the E field of the positively charged cloud is due solely to the charge of the cloud. Then, when you put the electron into the cloud, it will feel a force due to the field of the cloud.

    In your first post, you had E = const*(1/r). That would produce a force inversely proportional to r rather than proportional to r.

    To see why you get a restoring force, you will need to consider the direction of the E field of the cloud and the sign of the charge of the electron embedded in the cloud.
     
  9. Mar 8, 2015 #8

    TSny

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    OK, in your hand written notes, your expression for E looks correct.

    If you have you studied SHM so that you know that a restoring force proportional to r will cause SHM, then that might be all that you need to state as an answer.
     
  10. Mar 8, 2015 #9
    Ok so the gaussian surface at an arbitrary distance r would have E-fields pointing inward which means the electrostatic force works opposite the motion of the electron? Is this a valid statement for why I can make the addition of a negative sign?
     
  11. Mar 8, 2015 #10

    TSny

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    Why do you say that the E field of the positively charged cloud points inward?
     
  12. Mar 8, 2015 #11
    I'm sorry they called the charge of the cloud e which made me think negatively charged. However the e-field is only constant at a certain distance r why would the force restore it to equilibrium?
     
  13. Mar 8, 2015 #12

    TSny

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    What is the direction of the E field due to the cloud at a point inside the cloud (not at the center)?
     
  14. Mar 8, 2015 #13
    It would be outwards if it is positively charged.
     
  15. Mar 8, 2015 #14

    TSny

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    Yes. So, what is the direction of the force on an electron inside the cloud?
     
  16. Mar 8, 2015 #15
    Also outwards?
     
  17. Mar 8, 2015 #16
    Sorry the convention confused me E field lines are in the direction where a positive test charge would move so it will move opposite or inwards
     
  18. Mar 8, 2015 #17

    TSny

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    Yes, that's right.
     
  19. Mar 8, 2015 #18
    For the second question I must solve for frequency is it correct to solve for it like this?

    [tex] f = \frac{1}{2\pi }\sqrt{\frac{Constant I found }{m_{e}}} [/tex]
     
  20. Mar 8, 2015 #19

    TSny

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    When you studied SHM, you probably saw how the frequency is related to the "spring constant" and the mass of the particle.
     
  21. Mar 8, 2015 #20
    Ok I worked out the constant and it has units N/m (which made me smile, finally the end to a problem that's been troubling me for hours!) Thank You!!!
     
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