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Homework Help: Gauss's law

  1. Sep 15, 2005 #1
    I'm having trouble with this problem:

    Consider a thin spherical shell of radius 14.5 cm with a total charge of +38.9 microCloumbs distributed uniformly on its surface. (Take radially outward as the positive direction.)

    So I need to find the field at 35.6cm from the center of the charge distribution.

    Since this r is bigger than the shell R

    E= k_e * Q/ r^2 ; right?

    E = 8.99*10^9 * (38.9 * 10^-6)/(0.356)^2; right?

    I get 2759365.9260194. My answer is MN/C so I put 2.76

    No dice. Did I miss something?

    I also tried 0.276, 27.6, 276, 2760, 27600, 276000, and 2760000 to be sure that the program wasn't just disregarding which units it wanted.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2005 #2
    according to Guass' Law, a spherical shell as a whole should be treated as a point charge. What is the distnace from the shell (as a whole) to the point where you want to evaluate the electric field?
  4. Sep 15, 2005 #3
    try 2759365.926 or 2 759 000 again as far as I can see you have calculated it correctly. Are you sure the numbers are right.

    might the question really say that the point is 35.6 beyond the shell?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2005
  5. Sep 16, 2005 #4

    I was under the impression that Gauss's Law said that the spherical shell is treated as a point charge at the center of the shell itself. But I tried all numbers of different radii, none of them would give the right answer (according to the homework website). I think I'll just address this with my professor directly.
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