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How to find the electric field coming from a sphere WITHOUT using Gauss' law?

  1. Jan 23, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    How do I find the electric field at a point above the center of a charged sphere? Assume the sphere is a shell.


    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution\

    I know there will only be a z component to the electric field, because x and y components will cancel by symmetry. I think the process will have to involve integrating over the surface of the sphere. Where do I start?

    More things I know (or think I know):
    dq = σdA
    The dA terms will point radially from the sphere.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    Staff: Mentor

    With a coordinate system, and with an expression for the radial component of the electric field as function of the distance to your charge.
    You can use symmetry to reduce the two-dimensional integral to a one-dimensional integral quickly.
     
  4. Jan 23, 2013 #3
    Can you use shell theorem to just treat it as a point charge, as long as the charge is symmetrically distributed?
     
  5. Jan 24, 2013 #4

    mfb

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    Staff: Mentor

    That would be the result of Gauß' law ;).
     
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