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Electric Field Lines

Patrick Ford
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Hey, guys, with this video, I want to talk more about electric field lines, what they represent and how we actually construct them in arrangements of charges. There's not a whole lot of calculations that will do in this video, but it definitely is a conceptual point that you need to know. So let's go ahead and check it out. So just remember that electric field lines always point from whoops. They always point from positive charges and towards negative charges. Now, if you've seen our video on parallel plate capacitors, you saw what happened when we have a positive plate and a negative plates separated by some distance, we would just end up with a uniformed electric field that points from the positive plate towards the negative plate. If you haven't seen our video, that's perfectly fine, because you should remember that positive charges always produce electric field lines that point outwards, whereas negative electric negative charges always produce electric field lines that points inwards. All right, so another way to visualize these electric field lines is that they give us the direction that a positive charge would go now. Just remember that the force of any charge that we put in an electric field is just related to Q times the electric field. But just remember that these EFS and these are actually vectors. And what do we know about vectors? Vectors always have magnitudes, and they also have a direction. So how does something like a positive or negative sign of this Q affect that direction? Well, basically, if you have a Q and that's a positive number, then that means that all of these things over here end up being positive. So what I mean by that is that if you have this positive charge here with some Q, then it's gonna experience a force that goes in the same exact direction as the electric field. So that means that F points in the same direction as he and any positive charge. An electric field will just point towards the right. It'll go. It'll go with the flow, whereas if you have a negative sign that's out here. So if you have Q equals negative, then basically this negative sign serves to reverse the direction off F and E right. So if we ever have a negative sign, negatives and positives in physics usually associate with the direction. So that means if you have a negative charge, it's actually gonna wanna go against the flow. So that means the force is going to point in the opposite direction as e. So if you have an electron or a group of electrons or anything like that, they're always gonna wanna go against that flow. All right? Doesn't make sense. So in for the rest of this video, we're gonna go ahead and construct these electric field lines, Uh, and basically just doing one long example. But it's definitely something that you might run into on a test or homework or anything like that. So we're supposed to draw the electric field lines for an electric dipole. So that's gonna be part A. And I've got all these points of interest. All these black dots represent just points of interest that we're gonna look at the electric field lines. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna use Red to mark positive lines, and I'm gonna use blue for negative field lines. And then I'm gonna use green for the Nets electric field lines. Now the other thing we have to remember is that the electric fields due to any charge is just k Q divided by R squared. Which means that it gets weaker with distance very, very quickly. All right, so let's go ahead and just start. Start off with all the positives. So we know that the electric field from this positive charge is just gonna produce outward vectors in all of these cases right here. All of these points of interest, the electric field lines. You're just gonna point away from that positive test charge from that from that positive charge? Right? So we've got that's and then they start to get a little bit weaker over here and then here, and then it's gonna be strong over here. It's gonna be weak and then even weaker. And then over here points away, actually should be smaller, like that's and then here it's gonna be very, very, very small, then, yeah, cool. So that's it for the positive lines. Let's go ahead. Do the same thing for the negative lines. The negative lines actually have electric field lines that will point towards it. So that means that these guys will actually be very strong because remember this distance right here between this point of interest, and this charge is gonna be way bigger. Sorry, way smaller than this distance with this positive charge. So that means, essentially, that this blue line is gonna be overpowering the red one. So that's why these electric field lines were stronger over here. These really, really strong over here. Kind of like how these were strong. And then they start to get weaker over on the left side. Okay? And a couple more on these get really, really weak. Something like that's okay and done. Great. So now what we can go ahead and do is construct with net electric field is going to be the easiest place to start is gonna be in the mid in the middle because these two field lines basically just point in the same exact direction. So it means that the Net electric field is going to point towards the rights. And now we can see is that anywhere that we look along the midline right here we can use another property of electric fields and electric charge that we've used before, which is called symmetry. Remember that along this midline here, which is directly between these two positive charges anywhere you look, the electric fields are gonna have a co sign of the angle with the horizontal direction, we can always use the co signs and science to basically set up the components of that vector. And we know that the vertical components are always going to cancel out. So what that means is that the electric field, the net electric field anywhere along the midline is going to be pointing towards the rights and it gets weaker with distance. So it's gonna look something like this, and then this one is gonna be a little bit weaker. So this is the easiest one because we know there's always going to point towards the right. Now over here, anywhere off of them in line. You can't exploit that symmetry. So we're just gonna have to take a look at the vectors right here. We can just group up these vectors like that. We could group these vectors like this. They're gonna look something like that. And then over here it's gonna look something like this and then this, and that's basically it. Great. So now we've constructed all the net electric field lines. We can start to see a pattern between some of these some of these points of interest. So basically, we have this electric field going up. Then it goes to the right, and then it goes down towards the negative charge. So basically, what happens is that you can sort of trace the swooping lines, these arcs that travel through those points from the positive charge towards the negative charge. Now, you could do this basically with any points. So basically curves outwards like this and then goes down towards the negative charge similar to over here and then basically this whole process or this whole sweeping arc thing is symmetrical. So the same thing is gonna happen over here. You're gonna have a narc like this. It's gonna go towards all the charges and go towards the negative. And you basically could just draw all of these arcs over here. So basically, we see how these how these swooping arcs go from the positive towards the negative. But on either side, what happens is that the electric field lines basically dominate from the charge that it's closest to. So basically, these lines start to look like how they normally would for electric fields. Except there's a little bit of a curvature to these lines. So it's basically like that and like this and like this. So all these lines go in words like that because of the negative charge. And then the same thing happens on the left side, but to the opposite. Now, these electric field lines, we're gonna go outwards like this, and it's gonna be like that just like that. And these electric field lines will point outwards. So this is basically what the electric field often electric dipole looks like. It's very interesting. So we figured out what part a is and now in part B, what we're supposed to do is figure out where an electric where an electron would be accelerated inside directly between this electric dipole. So, in other words, if I were to drop a little electron over here, which the queues equal to negative e, which way would it go? Remember that negative charges always want to go against the flow of the electric field. In this case between the electric dipole, it always goes from the positive to the negative points in this direction. So that means this charge right here will experience a force that points in the opposite direction, so it's going to point to the left, and that's the answer. Another way to think about this is we do know that negative charges will repel each other. So if this is an electron, a negatively charged particle, it's gonna want to repel from the negative and go towards the positive. So everything makes sense. Alright, guys, that's it for this video. We're gonna go ahead and do another example. Let me know if you guys have any questions.