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What is the electric potential of a metal cylinder?

  1. Apr 7, 2014 #1
    As the title says, what is the electric potential of a metal cylinder? If I am missing any variables, which variables do I need? My little brother asked me this but I don't want to turn up short-handed. I'm not really a physics guy
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2014 #2


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    The electrical potential could be anything depending on what you put on it. The more positive charges or the more negative charges you put on the metal cylinder, the stronger it's electric potential. A usual metal cylinder will be neutral, and so would have electric potential of 0.
  4. Apr 7, 2014 #3
    What the potential is at the surface of a conductor is meaningless - only differences in potential have physical meaning. I believe the OP was asking what the potential of a charged conducting cylinder would be, in which case you can either approximate the cylinder as infinite and apply Gauss's law, or use Coulomb's law and integrate. Either way, the answer is easily available through google.
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