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Homework Help: Oscillations in an electric field

  1. Jul 15, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Two positive point charges Q are held fixed on the x-axis at x=a and x=-a. A third positive point charge q, with mass m is them placed on the the x-axis away from the origin at a coordinate x such that lxl<<a. The charge q, which is free to move along the x-axis, is then released. Find the frequency of oscillation of the charge q.

    2. Relevant equations
    So I started with the force equation for charges where FE=1/(4∏ε0)*qqq2/r2
    I figured I need to get it into a form of Hooke's law where F=-kx. So I could then use the equation f=1/(2∏)*[itex]\sqrt{k/m}[/itex]

    3. The attempt at a solution
    So I wrote the force equations which each of the fixed charges would exert on the point charge and added them together resulting in F=Q*q/4∏ε0*-4ax/(a2-x2)2. From here I did not see how I could get it into a form of Hooke's law. At this point I am at a loss of what path to take. Help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2012 #2


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    Since |x| << a, approximate the denominator.
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