Superposition and Electrostatic Force

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of superposition principle in relation to three charged particles arranged in a line. It explains that in order to find the net force on the third particle, the forces from the first and second particles must be summed. The book states that this is due to the superposition principle, which means that the net force on any particle is the vector sum of the forces caused by each of the other particles. However, the explanation of how this applies to the force between the first and third particle is not clear. The superposition principle also states that the electric field at any point is the sum of the fields caused by each particle, which helps to explain the force on a charged particle at rest.
  • #1
AirForceOne
49
0
Suppose we have three charged particles arranged in a line, the first one being negative, the second being positive, and the third being negative.

If we want to find the net force on the third particle, we sum the force from the second particle on the third and the force from the first particle on the third.

Apparently, there is a force between the first and third particle. According to the book, this is due to the superposition principle, in which the first particle acts on the third as if the second particle is not there.

Flipping to the part about superposition, the book simply states that, by superposition, the net force on anyone of them will be the vector sum of the forces due to each of the others.

This explanation doesn't really help me understand how it is possible for there to be a force between the first and third particle. Can anyone explain how the superposition shows this? Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Do you mean to say that the presence of the second charge in between the 1st & 3rd would prevent any interaction between them ?
 
  • #3
Superposition principle states that the electric field caused by two particles is the vector sum of the fields caused by each particle. Is that clear enough?

What generates force on a charged particle at rest is the electric field at that point. The electric field will be given by sum of the fields from first and second particles.

[tex]F_3 = q_3 E = q_3 (E_1 + E_2) = q_3 E_1 + q_3 E_2[/tex]

But that's just sum of the forces caused by q1 alone and q2 alone.
 

Related to Superposition and Electrostatic Force

1. What is superposition in physics?

Superposition is a principle in physics that states when two or more waves or forces interact, the resulting wave or force is the sum of the individual waves or forces.

2. How does superposition apply to electrostatic force?

In the context of electrostatic force, superposition means that the total force on a charged object is the sum of the individual forces exerted by all other charged objects. This is because electrostatic force follows the same principle as other forces, where the net force is the sum of all individual forces.

3. Can superposition be observed in everyday life?

Yes, superposition can be observed in everyday life, particularly in the field of optics. For example, when multiple light waves pass through the same medium, their amplitudes can add or cancel out, resulting in a different overall wave pattern.

4. How does superposition relate to the principle of linear superposition?

Linear superposition is a specific application of the concept of superposition. It states that when two or more waves or forces interact, the resulting wave or force can be calculated by adding the individual waves or forces together. This applies to electrostatic force as well, where the total force is the sum of the individual forces.

5. What are some practical applications of the superposition principle?

The superposition principle has various applications in fields such as optics, acoustics, and electromagnetism. It is used to explain phenomena such as interference patterns, diffraction, and standing waves. It also plays a crucial role in the development of technologies such as lasers, antennas, and speakers.

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