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Two conducting spheres connected by a wire

  1. Mar 16, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Two conduction spheres with radius R1 og R2 are connected with a conducting wire. The length difference between the spheres is large enough to neglect any effect their respective electric fields have on each other. The total charge of the system is Q.

    Find the charges Q1 and Q2 on each of the spheres, expressed by R1, R2 and Q.

    Find the size of the eletric field just outside each of the spheres. Show that the ratio between the sizes of the fields is reversed propotional to their respective radius.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    So what I did was to set their potentials equal to each other, and solve for Q1 and Q2 (see attachment). Nothing new here, but what confuses me is that they want me also to express Q1 and Q2 in terms of Q. I don't get why you would need Q (the total charge) to begin with when you have either Q1 or Q2...

    The second part I did correct I believe.

    Thanks for any input as usual!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2013 #2

    TSny

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    Gold Member

    You haven't actually found expressions for Q1 and Q2 separately. You found a relation between them which allowed you to answer the second part. The question assumes that R1, R2, and total charge Q are the "given" quantities. You are asked to find expressions for Q1 and Q2 in terms of the given quantities.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2013 #3
    Allright, but can't I just use the fact that Q2 = (Q - Q1), and substitute it into my equations like this? (attachment)

    Thanks again!
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Mar 16, 2013 #4

    TSny

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    Yes. Good. I think that's what they wanted.
     
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