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Semester II, 2015-16

Department of Physics, IIT Kanpur

PHY103A: Lecture # 6
(Text Book: Intro to Electrodynamics by Griffiths, 3rd Ed.)

Anand Kumar Jha

Summary of Lecture # 5:
Gausss Law from Coulombs Law: =
Curl of the electric field : = 0
Electric Potential: = V

V V() =

V =

Electric Potential due to a localized charge distribution


1
V =
40 r
Point charge

V() =

40 r
Charge distribution

Charge distribution in terms of electric potential:


Gausss Law =

But = 0 = V

Therefore, = V = V = 2 V =

2 V

=
0

Poissons Equation

In the region of space where there is no charge, =0

2 V = 0

Laplaces Equation

Summary:

= V

V =

Electrostatics

Work and Energy in Electrostatics


There is a charge in an electrostatic field . How
much work needs to be done in order to move the
charge from point to ?

= = = Q V V()

= is the force one has to exert in order to


counteract the electrostatic force = .

Work done to move a unit charge from point to


is the potential difference between points and
Work is independent of the path.
Take V()=V()=0
If Q = 1,

= QV

= V

and V = V
Work done to create a system of unit charge (to bring a unit
charge from to is the electric potential.
Thus, electric potential is the potential energy per unit charge
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Work required to assemble point charges:


The work required to create a system of a point
charge is:
= QV .

Work required to bring in the charge 1 from to


1 = 1 V0 = 1 0 = 0

Work required to bring in the charge 2 from to


1

2 = 2 V1 = 2
4

r12

Work required to bring in the charge 3 from to

3 = 3 V2 = 3 4

2
+
r13 r23

= 1 + 2 + 3 =

1
1 2
40 r12

Total work required to bring in the first three charges:


+ r1 3 + r2 3
13
23

Total work required to bring in the first four charges:


1

= 4

1 2

r12

+ r1 3 + r2 3 + r1 4 + r2 4 + r3 4
13
23
14
24
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Work required to assemble point charges:

Total work required to bring in the first four charges:


=

1
1 2
40 r12

+ r1 3 + r2 3 + r1 4 + r2 4 + r3 4
13
23
14
24
34

Total work required to bring in point charges, with charge 1 , 2 , 3 , respectively. :


1
=

r
40
=1 >


1
1
=

r
2 40
=1 =1

=1

=1

1
1
=

r
2 40

1
W = ( )
2
=1

This is the total worked required to assemble point charges


The potential ( ) is the potential at due to all charges,
except the charge at .
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The Work required to assemble (or the energy of ) a continuous charge Distribution:

1
W = ( )
2
=1

This is the total worked required to assemble point charges


The potential ( ) is the potential at due to all the
other charges, except the charge at .

What would be the required work if it is continuous distribution of charge ?


Well

1
W =
2
=1

Is this correct?
Not really !

The potential () inside the integral is the potential at point . However, the
potential inside the summation in the potential at due to all the charges
except the charge at . Because of this difference in the definition of the
potentials, the integral formula turns out to be different.
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The Work required to assemble (or the energy of ) a continuous charge Distribution:
0
1
=
( )
W =
2
2
W=

0
0
+
2
2

Using = 0 ( )

0
0
W = +
2
2
0
0
2
W = +
2
2
0
W=
2
2

Using the product rule


= + ()

Using the divergence theorem


=

Using - =

When the volume we are integrating over is very


large, the contribution due to the surface integral is
negligibly small.
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The Energy of a Continuous Charge Distribution:


W=

1

2

0
W=
2
2

So, what is the energy of a point charge using the above formula?
1
Electric field of a point charge is =
r
2
40 r

The energy of a point charge is therefore,


2
2
1
1
2 2
0

W=
sin =
2
2
80
r
2 40

= ?? due to incorrect conversion


1
1
W
=


of the sum into an integral

2
2

This is the total work done to


assemble a set of point
charges. This does not
include the self energy of
assembling a point charge.

=1

This is the total energy of a charge distribution


including the self energy of assembling the charge
distribution. Assembling a point charge requires
infinite energy. This is why this expression gives
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infinity for the energy of a point charge.

The Electrostatic Energy (Summary):


The work required to create a system of a point charge is: = QV
Total work required to put together point charges is: =

1
( )
2
=1

( ) is the potential at due to all


charges, except the charge at .

1
The Energy of a Continuous Charge Distribution: W =
2
0
=
2
2

Note # 1: The total work required to assemble a continuous charge distribution


= the total energy of a continuous charge distribution

Note # 2: The self energy of assembling a point charge is infinite. Therefore, the
total energy of a point charge is infinite.
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Where is the electrostatic energy stored ?


The Energy of a Continuous Charge Distribution:
1
W =
2
0
=
2
2
The first expression has a volume integral of over the localized charge
distributions whereas the second one has the volume integral of 2 over all
space.
So, where is the electrostatic energy stored? Within the charge
distribution or over all space?

Just as both the integrals are mathematically correct, both the interpretations
are also correct. The electrostatic energy can be interpreted as stored locally
within the charge distribution or globally over all space.
Again, at this point, as regarding fields, we know how to calculate different
physical quantities but we dont really know what exactly the field is.

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