Saturday, December 4, 2010

Electric Field

An electric charge placed in vacuum, it will experience either an attractive or repulsive force depending on whether they are unlike charge or like charges.This force (experienced without the charges being in contact with each other) is known as an electric force.

An electric field is a region where an electric charge experiences an electric force.

Representing the electric field

A more useful means of visually representing the vector nature of an electric field is through the use of electric field lines of force. It is more useful to draw a pattern of several lines that extend between infinity and the source charge. These pattern of lines are referred to as electric field lines.

The lines are directed away from positively charged source charges and toward negatively charged source charges. To communicate information about the direction of the field, each line must include an arrowhead that points in the appropriate direction. An electric field line pattern could include an infinite number of lines. The presence of a few lines around a charge is typically sufficient to convey the nature of the electric field in the space surrounding the lines.

The strength of an electric field is indicated by how close the field lines are to each other.

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