Understanding Electric Field & Equipotential Surfaces

In summary, this conversation is about how far apart equipotential surfaces are with an electric field of 300 volts/meter. The first person says that they think the surfaces are 30 meters apart, but they're not sure because their professor skipped this part of the chapter. The second person provides a summary of what was discussed, and it seems that the first person's answer is correct.
  • #1
BunDa4Th
188
0

Homework Statement



If the electric field at a point in space has a magnitude of 300 volts/meter, about how far apart are the equipotential surfaces that differ by 10 volts?

well, i think that they are 30 meters apart. All I did was

300 volts/meter/10 volts since that will cancel the volts out i believe and leaving me with 300 meter/10 which give 30 meters.

I don't understand this question since my professor decided to skip this portion of the chapter and expect us to know it.

Any help on understanding would be great.
 
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  • #2
I think your answer and your intuition are correct. They certainly are for parallel plate capacitors. And I think they probably apply here for this spherical situation as well.
 
  • #3
I don't think your math is correct. Your answer is really saying 30/meter.
 
  • #4
300 volts/meter/10 volts since that will cancel the volts out i believe and leaving me with 300 meter/10 which give 30 meters.
Be careful with your units.

EDIT: hage567 beat me to it.
 
  • #5
I just realize that. Now i have a problem on doing conversion with this. Can any of you guys give me some pointer on how to understand this since I quiet don't understand it.

I know there is this formula E = Kq/r^2 but I am not sure if that is what i have to use to figure this out.

I have also seek my lab TA for help on this and I still haven't even gotten a response and its been like 2 days.
 
Last edited:
  • #6
Okay, i got some help but can anyone double check this to see if its the correct way,

10 volts/ 300vots/meter = .033 meter
 
  • #7
BunDa4Th said:
Okay, i got some help but can anyone double check this to see if its the correct way,

10 volts/ 300vots/meter = .033 meter

Yes, that is right (assuming a uniform E field...that assumption is needed to answer the question). It's clear that this is correct since if the potential changes by 300 volts over a distance of 1.00 meter, it must take only 1.00 meter/30 to get a change of 10 volts.
 
  • #8
Sweet, thanks for checking it.

thanks to everyone who posted here.
 

1. What is the definition of an electric field?

An electric field is a physical field that is created by electric charges. It is a force field that surrounds electrically charged particles and exerts a force on other charged particles placed within it.

2. How is the strength of an electric field measured?

The strength of an electric field is measured by the force exerted on a test charge placed in the field. The magnitude of the force is directly proportional to the strength of the electric field.

3. What are equipotential surfaces?

Equipotential surfaces are imaginary surfaces that represent points in an electric field that have the same electric potential. This means that the work required to move a charge from one point to another on an equipotential surface is zero.

4. How are electric field lines and equipotential surfaces related?

Electric field lines are perpendicular to equipotential surfaces. This means that the electric field lines always point in the direction of the steepest descent on an equipotential surface. In other words, electric field lines show the direction in which a positive charge would move on an equipotential surface.

5. How does the shape of equipotential surfaces indicate the strength of an electric field?

The closer together the equipotential surfaces are, the stronger the electric field is. This is because the electric field lines are closer together, indicating a stronger force acting on the charges. Conversely, when the equipotential surfaces are further apart, the electric field is weaker.

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