1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Why cant there be an electric field in a conductor?

  1. Sep 19, 2007 #1
    why cant there be an electric field in a conductor?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Because Maxwell said so!
    Short answer is that the fields from each side of a point inside the conductor cancel out - long answer involves a bit of maths.
  4. Sep 19, 2007 #3
    I guess you are talking about a conductor at equilibrium. In this case the electric field in the conductor is 0 because otherwise the charge (which is mobile in a conductor) would be moving and there wouldn't be equilibrium any more.
  5. Sep 19, 2007 #4
    what other cases are there and why would there be an electric field in the conductor?
  6. Sep 19, 2007 #5
    If there is a net force acting on the charge carriers, the conductor isn't at equilibrium any more. This force could come from a voltage/current source or from a change in the magnetic flux in that circuit.
    In this case the electric field in that conductor isn't 0 any more. It is given by Ohm's[/PLAIN] [Broken] law
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook