# Is the potential inside a charged hollow conductor zero?

• johne1618
In summary, charges on the surface of a hollow conductor create an electric field that does not penetrate the interior due to the conductor's ability to stop electric field lines. This results in a potential of zero inside the conductor. This is different from a charged hollow insulator, where electric field lines do penetrate the interior and the potential is a non-zero constant. This principle can be used in situations such as a Faraday cage to protect electronics from EMP and lightning strikes. Additionally, the potential inside a conductor is constant, while the electric field is zero.
johne1618
I presume so because the charges will reside on the surface of the hollow conductor and the conductor itself will stop any electric field lines from those charges penetrating into the interior of the conducting shell.

If there is no field getting inside then the potential inside is zero.

This is different from the case of a charged hollow insulator where electric field lines do penetrate the interior. The net electric field at every point in the interior is zero because there are opposing electric field lines at every point. This implies that the potential is a non-zero constant inside.

yes...works like gravity inside a spherical shell of matter...

on a conductor the charges all lie outside the shell due to repulsion...it's a type of Faraday cage which can be used to help protect electronics against EMP and lightning strikes.

and your question assumes a unform charge distribution on the insulator...

Since potential (voltage) is relative, it might be more accurate to state that all points inside a hollow conductor are at the same potential, as opposed to zero, since a point inside the hollow conductor could have a higher or lower potential than a point outside the hollow conductor. The electrical intensity inside would be zero.

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Potential inside a conductor is constant. The electric field is zero.

However, for a charged hollow conductor, the electric field lines are unable to penetrate the interior due to the presence of free charges on the surface. This results in a zero electric field and therefore a zero potential inside the conductor.

In summary, the potential inside a charged hollow conductor is indeed zero due to the presence of free charges on the surface that prevent electric field lines from penetrating the interior. This is a fundamental principle in electrostatics and is important to understand in applications such as shielding and grounding in electrical systems.

## 1. Is the potential inside a charged hollow conductor always zero?

Yes, the potential inside a charged hollow conductor is always zero. This is because the electric field inside a conductor is zero, and potential is directly related to electric field.

## 2. Why is the potential inside a charged hollow conductor zero?

The potential inside a charged hollow conductor is zero because of the principle of electrostatic shielding. The electric charges on the surface of the conductor redistribute themselves in such a way that the electric field inside the conductor is zero.

## 3. Does the shape of the hollow conductor affect the potential inside?

No, the shape of the hollow conductor does not affect the potential inside. As long as the conductor is hollow and has a charge on its surface, the potential inside will always be zero.

## 4. What happens to the potential inside a charged hollow conductor when an external electric field is applied?

If an external electric field is applied to a charged hollow conductor, the charges on the surface of the conductor will redistribute themselves in such a way that the electric field inside the conductor remains zero. Therefore, the potential inside will still be zero.

## 5. Can there be a non-zero potential inside a charged hollow conductor?

No, there cannot be a non-zero potential inside a charged hollow conductor. This is because the charges on the surface of the conductor will always redistribute themselves to create a zero electric field inside the conductor.

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