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http://C:\Users\Jerry\Documents\LaTeX\Force\Capacitor.png

(I hope the image embeds properly. The help screens were somewhat fuzzy on this)

Many references state that the force on the upper electrode will by given by ##F_u = -\frac{1}{2}\epsilon_0 E_1^2##. It is not clear if the permitivity is always to be the permitivity of free space or if this is the material assumed to be near the electrode. In a similar manner the force on the lower electrode will be ##F_l = \frac{1}{2}\epsilon_0 E_2^2##. A reference for the force on the bound charges at the dielectric interface (see below) shows that this force will be ##F_i = \frac{1}{2}\epsilon_0 (E_1^2-E_2^2)##. As expected the sum of these forces equals zero.

Now for the alternate method. First compute the total energy stored in the capacitor. Next compute the change in the energy with a change of the ##h_1## and ##h_2## dimensions. This gives ##F_u = -\frac{1}{2}\epsilon_1 E_1^2##, ##F_l = \frac{1}{2}\epsilon_2 E_2^2##, and ##F_i = \frac{1}{2}(\epsilon_1 E_1^2-\epsilon_2 E_2^2)##. Once again the sum of the forces is zero. However, the magnitudes are significantly different.

I would appreciate any guidance as to reconciling this difference or pointing to an error in my methods.

Referece = http://phys.columbia.edu/~nicolis/Surface_Force.pdf