# Position of third charged particle

## Homework Statement

Two particles are separated by a distance d, Particle A has charge +Q and Particle B has charge +3Q. At what distance from particle A along the line connecting particles A and B would you place a third charged particle such that no net electrostatic force acts on it ?

F = kq1q2 / r^2

## The Attempt at a Solution

Since there is no net electrostatic force on the third particle, the force from Particle A to C, and force from Particle B to C must be equal.

So I set up the equation
k(Q) / x^2 = k(3Q) / (d-x)^2

and solved for x using the quadratic formula.

I got

x = .366d

However, the answer is d/9, which is x = .111d

Can anyone help me ? Thank you

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Mister T
Gold Member
I get the same answer as you. The value can't be a rational fraction of the separation distance.

Note that they don't define d in the statement of the problem, yet they state their answer in terms of d. That's a clue right there that there's something amiss. Perhaps a typo!

haruspex
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Note that they don't define d in the statement of the problem, yet they state their answer in terms of d. That's a clue right there that there's something amiss. Perhaps a typo!
I also agree with .366, but d is given.

The author seems to have made two errors:
Taken distance as inversely proportional to square of force, instead of the other way around;
Taken the ratio of the two distances instead of the ratio of the shorter distance to the total distance.
Very sloppy.

Mister T