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Optimization of sphere and cyliners (Electrical physics)

  1. Jul 18, 2014 #1
    I recently noticed that I have blindly used optimization in some problems that involve symmetrical insulating/conducting spheres and cylindrical shells.
    For example, when calculating outer electric field caused by a spherical insulator/conductor, I just treated these as a simple point charge located at their center, and those ways rendered correct answers. Also, in a question involving an infinite cylindrical shell, (given charge density), I treated it as a simple line charge located at its center, and it also gave me a right answer. However, I am still not convinced how this works mathematically. Is it just a way of simplifying problem for faster calculation, or is there any theorem / definiton that fully explain the validity of this simplification?
    I would appreciate some help
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Look up Gausses Law.

    You've noticed that the "optimization" only works for simple geometries, and only outside the objects in question.
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