Static Electricity and Triangles

In summary, the problem involves three positive particles of charges 9.0\muC located at the corners of an equilateral triangle with .15m sides. Using the equation F=Kq1q2/d^2, the magnitude and direction of the force on each particle must be calculated. To solve this problem, one can use either the method of adding x and y components of the forces or the method of placing the arrows end to end and using Law of Sines and Law of Cosines to find the total vector's length and direction.
  • #1
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Homework Statement



Three positive particles of charges 9.0[tex]\mu[/tex]C are located at the corners of an equilateral triangle with .15m sides. Calculate the magnitude and direction of the force on each particle.

Homework Equations



F=Kq1q2/d2

The Attempt at a Solution



In class we haven't tried any problems like this so, I am not sure how I should approach the problem. when I looked in my textbook it explains how to solve similar problems if the triangle is a right traingle but i don't know how I am suppose to solve it when its not. Could someone please help me work through this step by step?
 
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  • #2
Well the first step is certainly to pick one of the charges and use the formula to find the magnitude of the forces on it due to each of the other charges. Then you draw a diagram showing those two forces as arrows. The two forces (arrows) must be added to get a total and direction.

There are two approaches for adding vectors. One is to find the x and y components of each one, add the x components, add the y components and then the answer is the hypotenuse of the triangle formed by these.

The other approach is to place the second arrow so its beginning is at the end of the first arrow. Draw a new vector, the total, from beginning to end of this chain of two arrows. Use Law of Sines and Law of Cosines to solve the triangle and find the length of the total vector and its direction.
 
  • #3


As a scientist, it is important to be able to apply knowledge and problem-solving skills to new and unfamiliar situations. In this case, we can use the formula F=Kq1q2/d^2 to calculate the force on each particle. Since the triangle is equilateral, the distance between each particle is the same, which we can label as d.

To find the magnitude of the force, we can plug in the given values: q1=q2=q3=9.0\muC and d=0.15m. We also need to know the value of the constant K, which is the Coulomb's constant and has a value of 8.99x10^9 Nm^2/C^2.

So, the magnitude of the force on each particle can be calculated as F=8.99x10^9 x (9.0\muC)^2 / (0.15m)^2 = 3.60x10^-4 N. This means that each particle will experience a force of 3.60x10^-4 N, repelling each other due to their positive charges.

To determine the direction of the force, we can use the principle of superposition, which states that the total force on a particle is the vector sum of all individual forces acting on it. In this case, since all three particles have the same magnitude of force, the direction will be towards the center of the equilateral triangle, forming a balanced system.

In summary, the magnitude of the force on each particle is 3.60x10^-4 N, and the direction is towards the center of the equilateral triangle. As a scientist, it is important to be able to apply principles and formulas to solve problems, even in unfamiliar situations, in order to expand our knowledge and understanding of the world around us.
 

Related to Static Electricity and Triangles

What is static electricity?

Static electricity is a type of electrical charge that builds up on the surface of an object due to the transfer of electrons. It occurs when two objects with different electric charges come into contact or are rubbed together.

Why do some objects have static electricity while others don't?

Some materials, such as rubber or certain types of plastics, have a stronger attraction for electrons and are more likely to gain a static charge. Other materials, like metal, are better conductors and do not hold onto electrons as easily.

What is the significance of triangles in static electricity?

Triangles are often used in visual representations of static electricity because they represent the flow of electrons between objects. The three points of a triangle can represent the three stages of static electricity: separation, charge buildup, and discharge.

Can static electricity be dangerous?

In most cases, static electricity is harmless. However, in certain situations, such as around flammable gases or liquids, it can create sparks that can lead to fires or explosions. It is important to follow safety precautions, especially in industrial settings where static electricity can be a hazard.

How can static electricity be controlled or prevented?

Static electricity can be controlled or prevented by using materials that are good conductors, such as metal, or by using materials that are designed to dissipate static charges. In addition, keeping the humidity level high can also help reduce the buildup of static electricity.

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